Words Failed

Most of the time words fail. These grunts and snaps we articulate at one another don’t convey the proper sequence of emotions, with all the logical steps, and all the accompanying intended meanings. Much is lost. Meaning is elusive, something bigger than ourselves and our desired capacities for dictating the terms of fate.

We like to assume that language fosters communication, but we can never confirm this. Not really. We can never be certain that any particular utterance was accepted in the proper manner, citing the proper context, or calls to consciousness the proper implications. Whether a shared past, present, and future are considered is what I’m getting at. Essentially, this is a function of being alone in the universe and blindly testing the boundaries of others, to see where we make inroads and where we fail to make inroads.

Straight Tequila This Evening

Today I called my father. I’d been dreading the call, as I ran out of words on the last call. I fell into an uncomfortable void.

He’s dying.

He’s in the hospital now, as he has been for months. The old ticker has run out of whatever fuels it. Fluids collect in his extremities, his guts, and now in his lungs. Try to imagine your skin filling up with water, like a balloon, from the inside. First it collects in the feet. That was five years ago. Now it’s at his lungs.

They drained the lungs several times, miracles of modern medicine, et cetera. That’s not going to fix him though. He knows it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Now you know it too.

But there’s a sliver of a chance that I’m wrong, and that the previous paragraph is bunk. Do you see my dilemma?

If he gets stronger they can attempt another heart “procedure” and maybe open up a valve or something, get more juice flowing. That would help him remove fluids. He might not last forever, but how long he’ll continue no one can say.

So I phoned him up. “Hey, old man. It’s me. You there?”

We chatted. He was lucid. The usual points of conversation made their way in: Who’s there with him? How’s he feeling? What do the doctors say?

The moment came fairly quickly, something like seven or eight minutes in. “I just wish I had better things to say. I don’t know what to say.”

You and me both,” he said. “I just don’t know. Nobody knows what to say.”


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