Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Eleven: Absences

Last year's silence on this day is a gap through which a decade could be allowed to slip.

One year, in boarding school, we were on our way back from a week-long school trip. When we returned, the day after we were supposed to, all we wanted was to bathe and sleep.

Waiting for me in my room was a very fancy cake box with brownies, and a note from my father.

Maybe in the excitement of travel and the heedlessness of the teen years, I'd forgotten that he was to make a day visit. We demolished the brownies and did all the other things that were urgent on our list.

I didn't think then or later, that while we slept uncomfortably in a broken down bus, when someone started their period, when I brushed my teeth at a handpump in a field stinking of green but nasty things so the taste got in the mouth, that he would come, and wait, and write a note before leaving. 

All that indicated that he'd even been there was a bit of writing and a frilly paper doily half-transparent with butter. Those hours, these eleven years.