Noise is sound here; the construction din and city blur gave way to buzzing hearing aids and babies and laughs I’ve always known. Family is never not familiar, fundamentally; we ebb and flow with old and new, not like an ocean’s wave, really, as much as a ripple in a pond, moving but the same.
I am different people when I am here. As I grow older, I crave the conversations of quiet off-the-main-room parlors. Here, my attention holds, I am not expected of, and I lean back upon the arms of acceptance as in a worn wooden chair.
I read the story of Dumbo to my young niece this morning. Vintage illustrations reminded me of story details I had forgotten in age: the stork, the angry mother, the mouse named Timothy and the magic feather. I liked hearing my voice read a line that lays unspoken in the film’s animation – “His mother loved him just the way he was.” What a funny, beautiful way to remember the important love of family.
The noise of work is dim, a distant hum hidden beneath this lake and this breeze and my dad over there in his classic summer attire. I wouldn’t know how to love him in any other way than this way; like Dumbo’s mom, I’ve never wanted to. He is the trigger to my heart, often, more than anyone else. The dads that arrive in my ICU life don’t wear blue polos and khaki shorts – sepsis, heart attacks, strokes strip them of their normal attire. It is hard not to picture my dad in their illness wardrobe; blue patterned, plastic and sallow.
But I don’t do that here. Here, I hold that noise away from me, I keep it in the land of scrubs and needles and things that would sound just as foreign as a taxi’s horn.