Please Stand By

The motions through the house had a finality to them, something creepy to be sure. We made sure lights were out, turned up the temperature, wiped down counters, took out the trash, emptied the last of the milk, fresh fruits, vegetables that would spoil. We put bleach in the toilets and made a reminder to get a couple of those cakes that turn the water blue and sanitize. We drew the curtains closed.
It felt like a death.
It's still very much a life.
On hold.
And it's up to him, really, if the house gets opened back up, milk gets purchased, the furnace comes on.
He's got rehab in front of him, but an attitude of despair. He's earned it, one supposes, but still.
You tell him that he needs to do his exercises to build up strength and spring him from an unfamiliar, slightly sterile room.
"I haven't decided if I want to live or die," he says.
"When you decide, give me a call," you respond, because that's how you always respond. A hint of sarcasm, brutal truth.
Then there's a drive back to your own life, it's problems, it's own set of circumstances.

(And people keep wondering why you're so distracted.)

2 comments:

Cathryn said...

Strong stuff. Very moving.

Daily Panic said...

Tough love brings out the jerk in all of us. This piece expressed the care of the situation and the reality of what had to happen before things could go back to normal.