Looking Through a White Night Sky to Morning

It’s weird, I swear: It’s 11:15 at night, and I’m lying in bed, looking out the window at a sky that is lighter than it was earlier in the evening—a white night sky, with no stars, and, from where I’m lying, bare black branches riding the currents of the wind. It is silent in my place, except for the sound of the heat blowing, and hard things sometimes hitting the roof over my head. Pods, branches—occasionally I hear an animal up there, skittering. What is this life?

Tomorrow I’m getting up early and driving into the city to go make lunch for my friend Bronwen’s seventy-seven year old dad, who had foot surgery a few days ago, and can use some help in the kitchen. He’s a lawyer, and accomplished, and he lost his wife of fifty-something years last year to cancer. Can you imagine that? Being seventy-seven and having been married for as long as I’ve been alive, and then, in the last few years of your life, having to face that loss, and those few years ahead? So often the remaining person just dies—you hear it again and again.

Bronwen, in any case, is worried because her dad, though charming, wants things to be the way they’ve been for the past seventy-seven years: You cook the pasta in that pot; you eat soup out of this bowl. Things need to be done in exactly the right way—the way he’d do it if he weren’t hopping around on one foot while balancing on a rolling walker thing.

And then enter Deitch: Oy. I can see it now: stovetop coffee flying across the kitchen, a broken favorite bowl, onion skins on the floor, dirty forks in the sink. Hair everywhere. When I used to do things like this, Julia would say I’d “Deitched it.” I think I asked her to stop saying that after a while, because it hurt my feelings. Deitching it was never a good thing, unless maybe you loved me, and then it was amusing. Man, I guess really Deitched it, finally.

Anyway, dude needs help, and I need help too, exactly in the form of taking care of someone in need, so maybe we’ll do O.K. I’m anxious in the kitchen, so having an old guy bossing me around will work for me, as long as he doesn’t get annoyed: “Do you want this fork, or this one, or this one?” “How al dente is al dente when you’re you?” I’ll take a Xanax, and then I’ll tell you what happens. Meantime, I’m just going to watch the sky. Sweet dreams, my faithful blogmeisters. I hope you’re all O.K.

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