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there is always something (why I shoot film)

There are maybe ten shots left on the roll. Outside the metro, a collection of pigeons sit on minuscule ledges above two old men. They talk as all old men do, with operatic waves of their hands, sour expressions, belly laughs, eventually scratching their chins as they stare off at nothing in particular. I am pretending to take pictures of something near them, then swing across when they are not looking to shoot a few frames. At one point I surrender to the afternoon and move on.

And now, the courtyard that leads to the film lab. A great old building rests here, a school of architecture where students mill around dressed in black sucking on cigarettes with giant portfolios tucked under their arms. A young man approaches me. I am ready to tell him I have no idea what he is saying, but he wants to know where the film lab is. I jut my chin, telling him the door is just beyond a few bushes. He nods his thanks.

There are screens set up in a jagged line, sheathed in filthy white plastic to …

a fever


She is weak, hardly strong enough to make it to the bathroom to pee. She looks so tiny now, a stray leaf than can be flipped around the apartment by the smallest draft. The fever does not pass quickly. I sleep in the big chair next to her bed, waking every two hours to check her temperature. It rises and falls, some sort of overheated ocean inside her.

E accepts spoonfuls of purple medicine, small glasses of cool water.
She is bored.


N is sick too, quarantined in her mother's apartment. We speak at random hours, her voice rough and quiet, barely more than a whisper at times. 

It will be a full week that I do not see her, falling asleep alone in bed, waking up to check on E, to place a cool wet towel on her forehead. 

The days merge into shifts of trying to stay awake and entertaining E.  The fever has a hold on her, deep in her veins. We watch a lot of films together, in the middle of the day. She falls asleep halfway through them, her face pressed against my arm. I leave her there to go wash dishes, maybe boil some potatoes. 

I don't know what to do besides that.


It is all lost time. A forced breath.






Comments

liv said…
Oh, my gosh. A sick child wrenches the heart right out of you. So vulnerable. They seem even smaller when they're sick, don't they? Fragile little birds. But nothing heals like the attentive love of a good parent.
Thinking of you as you tend her. Sending hopes that recovery is just around the corner for E and N as well.
Take good care of yourself. You are such an important cog in this little machine called "Marco's Universe"...good care.
Banker Chick said…
I hope they are both better now. Sick kids break my heart.

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