School was understanding. They even
commiserated with me. This was profoundly
strange. My old establishment would have berated
me loudly for having lost a parent, and been unduly
distracted from my studies. I was told to return
back when I felt able. Meanwhile I filled my poetry
book with maudlin verses. Father had made a
Herculean effort. He’d shaved, brushed his crazy
tangled hair, and started to cook again. We had
these companionably silent meals at which we
toyed together with our food. A kind of normality
was resumed. I figured that Father would need to
take a job. I got into the habit of buying a
newspaper from the corner shop. I scoured the
vacancies section. If anything looked promising,
I made a clipping and pushed it under Father’s
door. He didn’t get mad at that. He never even
referred to my efforts. Until one morning he came
down neatly groomed and spoke shyly about a
possible opening. As he clacked out the door,
I wished him good luck. Suddenly I realized that
we’d never been so close.


Author: Robert James Berry

Poet & Novelist