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Five years after he died, my Father came back. I found him sitting in the middle of my room, in a straight-backed chair, looking out the window. It was still dark, the curtains were drawn but I could sense he was seeing something. Dad? He did not turn around at first. I held my breath and closed my eyes. Mili, he said softly and I opened them again. Mili, is it snowing? He was still facing the window, his hands on his lap; small, delicate hands of an artist. Or a child. I stood behind him and gently touched his shoulder. I felt the coarse fabric of his jacket but the sensation was fleeting, my fingers caressed air. Slowly he turned and looked at me with the eyes I see in the mirror every morning. Our eyes. Yes, it’s snowing, I answered before opening the curtain. The street was deserted. Quiet. Snow-less. And then, as I looked, flakes began appearing and disappearing like fireflies, and soon the air was dancing, swirling, and I heard him say: there! It snowed all day. Perhaps it was just for a minute. Time ebbed. It muted and dissipated the light, and soon it was dark again. I was alone. Walking past the empty chair to the window, I hesitated. The curtain opened onto a quiet street, the pavement diluted in white…

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Armata

You said I was wonderful

You said I could do anything

You said I could do no wrong

You said you loved me

You said I was beautiful

Then you closed your eyes forever

… and I disappeared.

©aother

LudmilaArmata

Art: Ludmila Armata

 

I didn’t know I could breathe without air

See with no eyes

Speak without words

I didn’t know I could stride with no ground under my feet

I didn’t know my heart could beat with no rhythm to follow

And my thoughts to wander beyond the now

I didn’t know I could sleep with a quiet mind

I didn’t know I could live without you.

walking-away_2

The Book

The book slowly and inevitably was coming to the end. She savoured every word, unwilling to part with it, suddenly frightened of finding herself back in her own world. The story wove itself into her daily routine, slowly, imperceptibly enveloping her in a different reality. Surreal, compelling, it drew her away from the constant battle she waged with herself. And all the time, while she read, you were there. At first she was not aware of your presence, from sentence to sentence. But as the words led her closer and closer to the conclusion, she understood her reluctance to relinquish the story. It was you, after all, who told her of the writer, of the character in the book who talked with cats. You knew she would like it. You knew her so well. And if you didn’t – do we ever know the other? – you loved her for who she was, and understood what she felt. You were always there, even in all the years you lived apart. You fed her stories in your frequent letters, inspired and guided her. Did she appreciate it? She must have, for her love for you was as great, and accompanied her every step. Not that she thought in these terms, all those decades in another place, far away from you and home. She reached for the book too late. You were gone by then. Regrets seeped into her daily life, casting an endless shadow on even the sweetest of memories, the sunniest of days. The tears slowly subsided, but the pain remained. The loss was too great to fathom, the wound would not heal, but it did not bleed as much. And then she reached for the book, and you were there. Was this the last book you read before sight left you, abandoned you to constant darkness, shrank your world drawing it into an abyss from which you cried out your unbearable anguish? Were the last words on the page the last words that illuminated your brilliant mind? They could have been, for now, as she read them, ever so slowly, you appeared, reading them over her shoulder one more time. And then the story wrapped itself into an invisible ball and rolled away into her subconscious, to rest there with all the other books she read, together with you. She closed the book and cried, the wound now opened anew. She felt your embrace and words of comfort. Don’t cry, you seemed to say across time. Don’t cry.

©aother

Imageove