It was late afternoon and I went to the hospital with my elderly father. After thorough check-up the week before during which the cardiology results appeared to be alarming he was simply sent there. And so we went together – me with him because he always hated that typical smell of hospitals – detergent on linoleum floor showing to patients that they are in a proper environment where all germs were killed, systematically in order to make everybody safe and yet nobody felt safe there. If you were well and safe you would not end up in a hospital, would you?
And they kept him there, the doctor disappeared leaving him seated on a simple bed and when I looked at him I could not say a word. I wanted to comfort him but I did not know what to say. He sat there, hands in front of him, his sight so distant, looking down and breathing quietly. I asked whether he would eat something, unconsciously linking eating with living. He smiled fairly and I went downstairs to get some bread and prepared salad.
It was time for me to go to work and he handed over his keys from the car, the car I have never driven before – big, elegant and fast. He could not help to give me some instructions on how to open the safety lock and reminding me I should be careful.
And so I went off, sat in the car and started the engine. The purr was so familiar, comforting and yet I felt so insecure. I felt lost in that big car – not because I feared to cause any damage but because I felt alone. I felt he was leaving me with the responsibility to carry on…I drove quietly, speeding up and feeling the power of hopelessness.
Shortly afterwards he passed away. When you lose your beloved one, your soul gets older, your eyes change expression and the world changes. Forever.
The car is still in my mum´s courtyard, pretty worthless on the market but precious for us. The interior is cream and soft and impeccably clean. I always use the security lock as HE did, and when I sit there heading somewhere I always think of him – of little man with a big heart in a fast car…
It has been 10 years… (07/08/1926 – 21/01/2005)