Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Storm aftermath

Calm and silent and white though it is outside, there is no calm here inside.

It snowed yesterday, heavy wet flakes that plumped down over everything. It snowed for hours, weighing down branches sparsely covered with yellow and brown leaves. Naked limbs sag with the weight barely able to move in the winds howling past the windows. Inside it's warm, too warm, and dry, sucking the moisture from everything. I have to leave my shoes off so I don't shock myself or short out the laptop or computer. Warm oatmeal flavored with organic raw maple syrup lays like a plug in my stomach, slowly, ever so slowly making its way down. Even the cars rushing by on the slick streets are hushed in the cold snow-heavy air. The mountains are layered with it. Everything is covered and silent, heavy and slowed. For the first time in weeks I slept for a solid seven hours, waking with the heaviness, my mind numbed.

I talked to Beanie and my mother yesterday during the storm. My father has given up. He was ill but went to work anyway. He got off work a little early because he was vomiting and ill. He sat in the car in Wal-Mart's parking lot in the rain and cold for over an hour until he felt well enough to drive. When he got home he couldn't get out of the car. Mom, already frail and dry as a leaf at the tail end of autumn, had to help him out of the car. She swears he is not going to work today. I told her to hide all the keys. "He'll walk if he has to," she said.

"Get out the rifle and shoot him in the leg if you have to," I said.

Beanie had already told me what happened. "He's given up," Beanie told me her voice at once angry and anguished. I told Mom. She agreed.

"We have a deal," I told Mom. "He can't leave unless he takes you with him." I said the words with my usual mischievous tone but I didn't feel them. "If he's given up and he's going, you'd better give him the rifle to take you out first."

The doctor has no time to take my father's testicles. He won't be able to remove them for two weeks. The cancer that has progressed to my father's spine and pelvis is slow moving. That's what they say. I keep remembering what George told me a few months ago. "I wish I hadn't let them talk me into the radiation. It made the cancer worse." He had the same primary cancer my father had seven years ago: prostate cancer. George was dead a year after his prostate cancer moved in his lower spine and pelvis. I could call George's wife or his best friend Doc and find out if they removed George's testicles and how long afterward he died but I don't want to upset them to find out something I already know. My father has given up. The weight of news and cancer are too heavy for him to bear.

Cold winds barely moved the branches and leaves weighed down with heavy, moisture laden snow. I see them twisting and shifting under the weight but in spite of the owling wind they do little more than fight a useless fight against the smothering white. Shot cracks echo through the cold, silent morning as branches and twigs bow and crack beneath their covering. Dried out yellow and brown leaves droop and thump to the ground piled high with frozen clots of white unable to stay up and attached to the drowsing tree. There are no more cars. Even the birds have fled. The streets are isolated and silent as death.

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