A Candle Light
…When the child was a child, it didn’t know that it was a child, everything was soulful, and all souls were one
Excerpt of the poem Song of Childhood by Peter Handke
So old she was; I don’t remember her before the sclerosis. I think the illness aged her more than she was in fact old. Always laying in bed, being fed, dressed up, bathed, all the human needs taken care of by the family. Sons and daughters living together forever, a family of singles, a complicated family with its secrets and deaths and shadows that I never could know better because my father wouldn’t tell. He didn’t talk much.
I don’t remember talking about anything with him. It was only a one-way discourse. He was almost like a preacher, but he wasn’t religious either. It was that or a quarrel. Nonetheless, I can’t say he was a brutal man or just one more exemplar of average manhood. He was a good man with many problems.
My father didn’t see much of the world per se, he would be always interpreting it through that very strict system of explanations that put things in their places no matter what. Order above all, order to support things together. Reality didn’t seem to matter. His life was a shell. And he was a shell inside a bigger shell, his family. Without was only a hostile world. The only thing that mattered was the family, the only ones to trust. There was some sort of collective autism.
She is the most living memory from my father’s side. So delicate, like a bird without its feathers, totally defenceless. I saw her dying. It was an act of chance. It just happened that I was there visiting (it was always formal visiting because I never felt or was given intimacy enough to feel more at home).
There he was, my father’s older brother, uncle Wilson, a dentist, and the family support since their father died when they were all too young. They were all delicate, men and women of that house. The sisters would take care of the brothers, the brothers of the sisters, and, among them, I believe, they would notice their gender differences, their preferences and moods but I think they were more alike than anything else. They seemed all detached and living in a world they built for their own.
They reminded me the solitude of Win Wenders’ angels in his movie Wings of Desire. They longed for a tangible existence of ordinary human beings. They longed for that. Being so together in isolation, a little island in the city.
She was holding the candle, uncle Wilson’s hands around hers. She was breathing little. He was talking soft words, sometimes praying, I think; But he was mostly talking to her, helping her leaving existence while holding the light of her candle.