Hey, Red Dress Clubbers (and anyone else wandering in)…it’s me, Katie from Sluiter Nation. This is my other blog where I write about stuff that I feel just doesn’t vibe with what Sluiter Nation is about–my immediate family and our joys/struggles.
This week’s post felt like it fit here rather than at Sluiter Nation. It is nonfiction about my father-in-law.
I hope you enjoy.
When we arrived he was sitting under his favorite tree as always.
Also as always, there were people around him. He was never alone in those last days.
But I remember him alone. I remember people too, but they were a blurred crowd around him. People without faces. Always there.
He would sit under that tree in his bag chair; his painfully thin, white, hairless legs crossed at the ankle, and both slender arms stationed on the arm rests. He almost looked like he was part of the chair, but apart.
None of his clothes fit, but hung loosely from his gaunt frame.
His face, once chubby and exuberant, looked almost hollow and cavernous, with two bright blue eyes shining out from the depths–seemingly just for whomever he was currently speaking to. Drinking you in…remembering you.
Where once he grew thick, tight afro-like curls, now sprouted only peach fuzz on his almost transparent skin of his skull. Not that you could see it anyway; he almost always wore a hat.
And while he sat, people would surround him and chat about meaninglessness, and he would look out beyond the boats, past the fueling dock, and out over the lake.
Every now and then he would catch a small joke or hearsay of gossip and chime in with one of his classic one-liners, but most of the time he was quiet…listening to the world he was still a part of for a bit longer.
In my mind, there was a sailboat race that day that we visited. I can vaguely recall comments about the direction of the wind and the effect of the waves on the results of the regatta.
There was also talk of what had happened that morning. An accident.
By the time we arrived to pick up the latest news, the search had been going on for most of the day for the helmsman of the small vessel that collided with the navigation marker.
No one held much hope for a positive end to the news.
However there was almost a sense of relief. Relief that the shroud of death chose somewhere else to linger today.
There was a collective sigh as we stood around…all looking out beyond the boats, past the fuel dock, and out into the small lake where a man was missing.
Someone broke the silence and tried to break the mood by asking him how his day was.
He looked at us and smiled. Then replied simply, “Today is good. Today is not my day. Today was someone else’s day. But not mine.”