This was no dream. I was familiar with the open scent of silence. On my flight home to life I failed to decipher the zigzag of letters my mother wrote some fifty years before in German script to my father.
I wanted to know. I couldn’t imagine what.
In life the extent of our courage amounted to weather reports exchanged and assorted animals, my cats, the ducks on the water, fillies in June, some foxes, one year pelicans on City Park Lake, another year amazingly two eagles in the suburb.
Before I ever moved my language was already foreign.
For years I called my widowed father every Sunday. His hearing got worse. The hearing aid didn’t work. He blamed the batteries. I was tempted to say he never understood me anyway. He asked about my cats and my husband’s friend’s tarantula.
I stood at their grave site and threw in three red roses and thank you, thank you, thank you ticked from my heart like hemlock needles falling, for the love, the spark, the living kindled.
Then came the Sunday when I was at home and had no call to make. The last card I sent, a tiger carrying its baby in its mouth, lay in a salver in the hallway of my oldest brother’s home, still in its envelope and destined never to be read.
I anxiously remembered when my mother was a little girl, her father had a dog named Senta.