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....


Missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras said...

I would put dibs in, but I'm thinking it's a bit of a downer and right now I'm looking for one of the primary reasons I purchase books - to escape into an unknown world for just a short time - and experience things from someone elses perspective - looking for something a little light. As I can't purchase books in English here - you can bet that when I go to the States for a visit (tomorrow by the way) - I'll be heading out to my favorite used book store and buying out the store!

Ellie said...

It is not too bad, but not really an escape book when you are dealing with people's pain on a daily basis.

I'll keep you in mind for another one when I read more. I'll just keep reading and putting little reviews on my blog - while trying NOT to spoil the story.

Becky Aguirre said...

Sounds like an interesting book, but yeah, not exactly good for losing myself! :) haha! I am excited about reading more book reviews!

Such a sad story about your patient! :( Wow, some people have really gone through such horrible things in this life...makes me long even more for my heavenly home.

Angela said...

Hi Ellie,

I'm interested in the book. I'm getting more into stories that deal with pain and tragedy because real life is like that. Despite the tough subject matter, I think stories like this can give hope and inspire courage. So please add me to your list of potential recipients. Thanks!

Ellie said...

Angela -
This one is yours! The first to right out and ask. I am reading another one you might really like, too, but it had me in tears, too.

Send me your address on e-mail, and once I dig out from the snow, I'll mail it down.