I carry my father into the building, up a flight of stairs, then walk him into the apartment step by step, first to the bathroom, where very sternly, he refuses any help.
“I have had it,” he mutters to himself, “up to here.”
Well, you cannot win an argument against someone this stubborn, and so I stay outside, as if I were a guard.
Then, before I can breathe—bang!—there comes a loud sound, and I push the door open and see the floor, and him lying there in the puddle, with a look on his face that is so surprised, so deeply miserable, because of the shock, you see, and because of losing control, and having pissed, as he fell, all over himself.
Anita plays the devoted wife. She rushes into the bedroom to bring out a change of clothes.
Meanwhile I push the wheelchair, folded, into the living room, over some clutter, which is scattered all around the dusty floor, and then around the piano.
It stands here majestically, blocking your view, as large and out of place as ever, as if it has never been moved away, or used, not too long ago, as a prop for a grand entrance in some wedding.
The air in this place smells of decay, and the silence between us is heavy. I reach the old sofa and push it back a bit, making space so I can unfold the wheelchair. The throne is ready, and it takes a few tries until my father is seated in it.
Now there he is, holding the crutch in his hand, as if it were a royal scepter, and
his face is blank again. That moment of humility, when he was vulnerable, is now
gone, and I cannot care less that he is back to himself, back to ignoring me. There is my father, and so far, he makes no move.
(Ben in Apart from Love)