Friday, September 2, 2011

A Man Snarled in a Tangle

"It was still the middle of the afternoon, office hours, on the West Coast when I called Mattie. I couldn't get any living human at his office, and so I left a message on his recording machine: 'Mattie, this is your momma. Your dad died a while ago. Call me up.'

He called back in about an hour. He wanted to come home, he said, he would give anything to be here. But he was too much involved right then in things that depended on him, that he just couldn't get out of. In fact, he was shortly to leave on a trip to China for a meeting with business people there, an opportunity that might not come again. He was giving me the picture of a man snarled in a tangle, helpless to get free.

I knew that he didn't have the strength to get free. His life was being driven by a kind of flywheel. He had submitted to it and accepted it. It was turning fast. To slow it down or stop it and come to a place that was moving with the motion only of time and loss and slow grief was more, that day, than he could imagine.

I knew too that it was more than he could bear. He is in a way given over to machines, but he is not a machine himself. Right then, he could not bear the thought of coming back to stand even for a few hours by his dead father in the emptiness he once had filled. He said he would come as soon as he could."

Hannah Coulterpp. 163-64

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