Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Accident

So I get home at lunch time and look out on my back "porch" and this is what I see just outside the sliding door.

I'm thinking now that some poor little bird has fallen out of its nest and now it has been abandoned. It is always odd to me that we can all of the sudden really care about something that we don't know and may never see again.

My mom was driving down Telegraph Rd. We were probably heading back from skating but I don't recall. The area was still somewhat new as we had moved there only about six months before. The tricky thing is that all of the street lights hang from wires suspended above the intersections here, not on posts in the middle of the intersection like in Wisconsin. So she made a simple mistake. We were all ok, but the other car was different. There was blood. My mom lost it. Here we are--the oldest of us in middle school--having to comfort my mom, having to take control.

The bird was just fine. It was actually an older bird that had puffed its feathers out to stay warm. It flew away as soon as I opened the door.

Friday, April 15, 2005


"Wesley has said that he married the most beautiful woman he ever saw and learned the irrelevance of beauty." from Three Popes Walk into a Bar by Amy Hempel

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Man in Bogota

The police and emergency service people fail to make a dent. The voice of the pleading spouse does not have the hoped-for effect. The woman remains on the ledge—though not, she threatens, for long.

I imagine that I am the one who must talk the woman down. I see it, and it happens like this.

I tell the woman about a man in Bogota. He was a wealthy man, an industrialist who was kidnapped and held for ransom. It was not a TV drama; his wife could not call the bank and, in twenty-four hours, have one million dollars. It took months. The man had a heart condition, and the kidnappers had to keep the man alive.

Listen to this, I tell the woman on the ledge. His captors made him quit smoking. They changed his diet and made him exercise every day. They held him that way for three months.

When the ransom was paid and the man was released, his doctor looked him over. He found the man to be in excellent health. I tell the woman what the doctor said then—that the kidnap was the best thing to happen to that man.

Maybe this is not a come-down-from-the-ledge story. But I tell it with the thought that the woman on the ledge will ask herself a questions, the questions that occurred to that man in Bogota. He wondered how we know that what happens to us isn’t good.

from reasons to live by Amy Hempel