I pick up your hand, and pay attention. I caress your finger tips. If you notice me, respond! You breathe lightly and quietly. I notice no response.
-Go back a day!
-No, this moment too is precious-
I would like you to know I am here. I would like you to know I love you. I would like you to know that I admire you, and care about you- everything to build you up, everything to make you happy. There is nothing to fear, now, what’s past is gone, but it too, now, may be beautiful for you. It was alright, really, even then, even when the rain lashed down and you gritted your teeth and put your head down and trudged on- though others saw the sunshine, and danced.
I would like- nothing. I would like this moment, now, while it is, while you breathe and I am here with you. Each human being is a beautiful thing. There is no ideal for skin, no perfection excluding others, for all is perfect: wrinkled dry skin is all it needs to be. We have managed you as you might like: we changed the pad under you, and the covers are neat, not too heavy, warm enough, the sheet ironed. I am glad your hand is above the covers. It is so beautiful, the bruises cannot disfigure it.
I would like it to respond. Some answering pressure. This has to be enough, but-
Go back a day. It is your birthday, and Dad has a dozen red roses in the vase on the windowsill. Go back a day, because I can, because this time is mine, in my control. I see you and not you. I can make of you anything I like, any response, and I can respond in the most perfect manner, for this is that time in bed when the perfect repartee comes too late- no, analysing the job interview with a view to answering better next time- or, healing the past, for though it is too late to heal your hurt it is not too late to heal my own. So as little fantasy as possible: you as real as I may imagine or remember you, though of course there are the bits I shy away from, perhaps without knowing it.
We are alone, for Dad has reasons to be elsewhere, and Elaine is with her children who are too young to be here much. It is just you and me. Now, several things happen, at once. I take your hand, and you give mine a light squeeze- we are both holding hands, both here, now. A tear escapes your eye. I kiss you. All is Love. Or there is an imperfection, something for me to regret or resent, for part of Everything is Perfect is the effort, the reconstruction, the acceptance, the seeing, and these are not easy or instantaneous. Or there is again no response- I think there was little response by then. I have all the time I need.
Picture by metmuseum.