Thursday, March 08, 2007

Move the Slow Hand

I'm sitting on the floor of Dad's office with a fuzzy orange cat named Atticus. We are surrounded by cookbooks. If I haven't mentioned it, food and food writing are Dad's thing. Friends Dad made on food and wine lists are calling and writing, and Darla's reading letters and blog comments to him. The two of them are deeply touched by what people are saying. Dad, who has always enjoyed the idea that he is loved and reviled equally, is surprised by the outpouring of affection. I keep asking if that's Stage One of his Eeeeeeeevil Plan.

No one knows how long we'll be here. Today, Dad's second wife's mother sent us rotisserie chickens and cole slaw. Time has slowed down to a crawl. It took me almost half an hour this morning to put milk and coffee into a cup. Seeing Kelly Ripa on a TV in the Staunton, Virginia Howard Johnson's was oddly comforting.

The house is filled with bottles of wine Dad's had for ages. They're like a travelogue of his life I can't read except to say I can see that the journey was far from ordinary. We are making lists now of the things we want, and my heart is in my throat. The posterboards he brought back from living in Europe have always signalled for me We are at Dad's house and I love them. Other than those posters, I can't say what thing will remind me of some important moment until I see it, and this house is full of things to see.

Dad is sleeping. In some corner of the house, documents were drawn up and signed. My two sisters drove off to find and pay the garbage haulers to haul off yesterday's frozen condiments. Miss Sasha, the only one of us intent on making a career in food service, is looking through the cookbooks for treasures. Atticus naps at my feet, but he is not convinced that all is well. We have shared a glass of water.


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