When I was eight years old my father brought home home a long, rectangular cardboard box which he opened after dinner carefully
outside our front door. It was a clear night and warm as I recall and he removed from the box like a surgeon removing a baby from the belly of an unconscious woman during a cesarean section a long metal object with legs like a strange frozen spider, an arachnid made of metal.
Astonishingly to me, he set up this apparatus in front of our house on the brick patio still warm from the June sun in Connecticut.
I had no idea my father had the skill to produce a box of such wonder and then open it and set up an apparatus which apparently was designed to look at other planets and other worlds yet unknown to us six children.
It was dark and my mother Hubbeled for a while but then slipped into the house and we were left on the front patio with my father and the apparatus and the warm June night which made anything believable.
My brother turned to me and said “ Look through the telescope and you will see the moon. The craters in the moon are caused by ricochets from bullets in the second world war.”
I remember thinking then that war did tremendous damage.
It never occurred to me that he wouldn’t tell me the truth just as it never occurs to me now that people lie.
Looking back, the awe and magic that moment inspired In me was something
I thought of for a long time.
If guns could cause damage to things that could only be seen from telescopes produced from cardboard boxes our fathers brought home, why did they exist?
Maybe it’s been four weeks but it would be hard to say precisely as time has stopped being a way to manage her day. The emails started out of the blue with a Facebook message. She didn’t remember “friending” him but he said she did. He seemed intimate yet she couldn’t recall a time when they had actually spoken. They had never touched and she had no idea of the color of his eyes or the shape of his earlobes: both things she remembered when love died.
Initially the emails were very ordered on his part. Being a banker this was not surprising. Paragraphs, indentations, capitalizations and your basic words, nothing interesting for her to ponder the meaning of.
She wrote back in flourishes just as she moved through life feeling that it was too hard to be anyone other than herself. Sometimes she did wonder if he understood and as time went on she thought he must.
The emails came now every other day. Then every day. Then twice a day and now began with “Dearest”.
They met over a Zoom call. He seemed smaller and quieter and would have spoken constantly about the distant shore if she hadn’t asked him if he lived with another woman. His eyes barely moved while his mouth talked about his life, his schedule, his love of a boy and in only a few words she saw how lost he was.
It really didn’t disappoint her. She had known it all along. For a time the romance of it like a sparkly veil over her eyes felt so pleasant she began to use it to shut out the world. Inside, under the veil, was the happy child waiting to be cherished. It felt so very good, so warm and so hopeful.