Hot and trending once more. Thanks to all who have voted. Later today I will visit the main inspiration for this story about Monkeys and Hell. He is ninety-five years old. I will take him some fruit. Holiday grapes. A pear. One apple. An orange. We’ll catch up on politics, as he used to read four newspapers every day but now he relies on the big television in the room and it’s my job to bring him the nuances, the things they won’t…can’t say. He is sharp. But he’s fading. He’s more than most…but he used to be…well, he lived with an intensity, even a coldness. People wanted more from him, and I told myself he was holding back, holding back from me, his daughter, for sure. Then, in my forties, I made peace. “He doesn’t have what I need,” I said. “He doesn’t have it.” And I lurked around the edges of his life, for years, well out of the range of his fire. And now…now I make sure his afghan is warm…and he’s sleeping. I tell him I love him, because I do, and all that used to hold us apart from one another…is gone.
Before I leave him, I’ll pick up the book, the history about his division, and we’ll sink into the recounting of how they took Europe and he’ll tell me the nuances, the things they can’t…or won’t say. And I’ll be there with him, across the ocean, in the midst of bouncing betties, and he’ll tell me the real heroes were the ones who would step on a mine and stay there until everyone else was safely past. He always wondered if he could do that, find it in himself to perform such a noble sacrifice…and I want to say…you have. You’ve stood in the place God gave you. And we’re here. We’re safe.
He is my hero.
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