His eyes are closed, baseball cap shading his eyes, hands resting in his lap. Sunlight warms his back and neck. His movements are slow, almost as if flowing from a T'ai Chi posture. He has heard our voices.
As Mom sits beside him, he reaches out and takes both her hands in his. They sit in silence, Dad cupping one of Mom's hands with his, Mom patting his hands with her free hand. They have done this many, many times over the last sixty-seven years. Their hands remember one another on their own, out of muscle memory and shape carved by years.
Silence--I stand unmoving, unobtrusive. Dad opens his eyes, weak and an inflamed red. He murmurs a sentence, a question, a flow of syllables that his wife in her deafness and I with the distance cannot hear.
"What, Dad?" I ask.
He turns his vague gaze to his wife.
"Is there some way I can pay homage to this woman?"
I have never heard my father use the word "homage." I am motionless as the meaning of his words fills me.
"You are doing it now, Dad, holding hands and being together."
Mom pats his hands. Perhaps she heard the words, perhaps not.
They sit in silence, holding hands, these words homage to that moment.
Copyright 2013 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved