We would be celebrating today, probably at the terrace without any pompous gestures. Mum would prepare the cake with Parisian cream, the one she always does for these occasions. I would probably pop up with some symbolic present since you had always said you had everything. You would smile with that particular smile that meant you are ok and happy. You were not a man of many words. I wonder what would you say about my already big kids. When Sam was born he looked at me with your eyes. He looks a lot like you. When Emma was born we gave her a second name Alexandra not because of me but you. She asks about you when we look at the photographs. Sam would give you tons of questions and you could talk to him about the war. Emma would make you laugh with her silliness and energy. Would we talk about what I do in the big world? Would you be happy that I made it in a French speaking country? You would love the garden mum is taking care of. The wonderful park she made out of it. Everybody wonders about its beauty. Mum is so connected with the earth that the earth gives her back the living energy. Would you remember how she always frantically worked in our old garden? Sam loves gardening too and they have this special connection when they walk around and talk about trees, ants damaging the grass, annoying cats, tomatoes that do not grow etc. I often sweep the floor. I have to laugh secretly because I see you – thinking that sweeping the floor would make the order in the household 🙂 Now I understand the gesture – it calms me down. Emma started to play the piano. She gets angry when she makes mistakes. I do not know how to push her without being pushy. I also started again. Slowly. I hate it because I do not remember the notes, feeling dumb but trying to overcome the feeling of not being what you imagined me to be. Petra did a lot of work around the house. She has the same drive as you had. Dealing with masons and local village representatives. You know the endless correspondence you had always had. She continues. She wants things the get done, to get better. She is the dreamer you were. Trusting strangers. Leaving bags with purses full of money and being robbed of them like you. At least you know she has money :-). We went to the cemetery to sweep off the leaves and buy new flowers. Mum did not let me to sweep since she has a better and more efficient method as she told me. I could not stop smiling. I talked with a gardener there because we did not have the container for the garbage nearby. The driver set off at 7 in the morning and by 11 he was not back. I walked across the graveyard to find another one and thought about all the winters we all passed by to light up the candles for your parents. I think about you. Often. I know you know. I miss you. You would be 90. Happy birthday.
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?
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