For Marcel: 16 Years Later
You are the one thing I will never forget. I miss you and I love you, Marcel.
The next time I wake up on time. About an hour has passed, and you wait for me to take you in my arms and carry you to the bowls with food. No problem, love. Tonight I’m yours. Count on me. When you’re done, I carry you to the corridor between the kitchen, pantry, children’s and living room, where three boxes make up your small bathroom. A pile of newspaper is spread below them. I lower you into the nearest box, with fresh kitty litter covered with three layers of paper towels. My slippers rustle through the papers, under which is ammonia-eaten and bleached parquet—a consequence of your slumbering and belated attempts to get to the toilet. So as not to wake my parents, I close the door to the corridor in front of their room. I listen. Hearing quiet snoring from a dark room, I give in to your stubbornness. I take you back under the table with unfinished business. It’s the night. I’m tired and have no energy—or heart—to fight against your character and will. That’s what I appreciate about you. You don’t allow yourself to be bossed around and you do things in your own time, reminding me of myself! I wait until your breathing calms again, and then I crawl into bed too.
Mom wakes up just before seven o’clock, groggy and with trepidation about whether this morning she will also find wet newspaper and more eaten parquet. By the time she is up, we have repeated your nightly ritual five more times. The last time I lay in bed a little after six o’clock, long ago having turned off the desk lamp, accompanied by the dawn that pressed through the windows with open curtains and lifted blinds. Fatigue crawls through my body, and I catch the last hour of an illusory dream before facing the challenge of a new day.
April 19, 2006–April 19, 2022
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