I’ve been attempting (yet again) to finish the ‘Here is a Kiss’ manuscript. It now requires an epilogue (which I try to write and have to put back down again). Mom and Dad have been on my mind a lot lately and this morning I woke from a dream. They were lying in bed reading and smoking their last cigarette before sleep. Hadn’t thought of this in a long time, but it was their routine before turning the lights off. A good book and a smoke.
Mom leaned toward Danielle Steele or Barbara Cartland – romance with a bit of sex, nothing too racy (though I do recall ‘True Romance’ magazines hidden beneath her bed). Dad enjoyed generational sagas written by John Jakes or James Michener, Louis L’Amour.
They would lay side by side, ashtray at opposite elbows and read for maybe a half hour or until my brother, Joey returned from wherever he was getting into trouble. I imagine the books kept their minds off what he might possibly be doing. There was always something to read on their bedside tables.
Right now, I’m still sitting in the glow of that dream. Mom and Dad – books open on their bellies, lying in a swirl of cigarette smoke as I come through their door to kiss them goodnight.
Of all that happened to them through aneurysm and stroke, all that was taken from them – the big things like speech, independence, driving a car and the smaller things like forgetting how to use a can opener – the fact that in their last days (years) neither could read a book anymore seems the most sad. A good story can take your mind off a bad day.
October is National Book Month…go read a book!