Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Veils and Fire
Well, I spend two hours and about forty dollars, so have around twenty new books... and a fireplace to curl up by...
Tonight, I read Veil of Fire by Marlo Schalesky.
Good book. Not an author I had heard of before, but good book for a fiction read.
It is about a fire which burns a town quickly. I have a patient at my work that this reminds me of, and perhaps that is why the book speaks to me. There is a photo hanging on her wall - a woman with nine kids lined up on the boardwalk beside her. One baby on her hip, perched on top of her belly swollen with another new life. My patient is the little two year old hiding her face in her mother's skirt.
I don't know the whole story; she is too far gone into Alzheimers to be able to speak. But from what I have heard, there was also a sudden, intense fire which swept the town. The family tried to outrun it, but only the father and the little two year old he carried reached a cow puddle and survived the fiery storm. The rest were burned beyond recognition.
This woman has not talked, nor even woke, for four years; but last year, one night when I went in to check on her in the middle of the night and shone my light on her, her eyes opened. She looked at me steadily with eye contact and spoke. "Tell me it didn't happen." Her eyes probed mine for a brief second and caught me unaware. What should I say? What nightmares plague her mind in the shadows? I only reached over quietly, and said, "no, it didn't. You're ok now. Go back to sleep." The veil slid back over her eyes as I spoke, and I have never again seen eye contact or consciousness to voice with her again.
I would have thought I was dreaming except that another worker was with me and saw this also.
It is her story which haunts me as I read this book today. This books melts elements of her story and mine in a misshapen lump of metal fused by heat.
So, it is yours for the asking - just send me an address or way to get it to you (on e-mail, not blog). I know, more than one will ask, so the decision is just up to me, no complaints. I have twenty other books, too....