One Gesture

We were having dinner with a group of old friends who hadn’t gathered in some time, when somebody asked one of the couples about their estranged daughter. “Has anything changed on that front?”

“No,” replied the young woman’s father.

“Well, we heard she has a little boy,” the mother answered.

A deep silence blanketed the room.

“That news makes me feel like weeping,” I finally said.

“To tell you the truth,” the father turned to me, “I feel very detached from her. I suffered for years, but I’ve decided that her mother and I have a lovely life together, and I’m going to concentrate on that from now on.”

Silence once again.

“Well,” I piped up, “over the years, I’ve worked with all sorts of writers and I’ve heard their stories. And one thing I’ve learned is that you have to have incredible patience with life. But if you live it to the best of your ability, although it might take decades, misunderstandings and hostilities do correct themselves.”

Suddenly all eyes were on me.

“Who would have believed I’d be holding my mother’s hand when she took her last breath?” I continued.

The silence grew heavier, and I began to feel uncomfortable. Finally somebody changed the subject and the air grew lighter once again. But I felt embarrassed. Not for what I had said, but for the response I had received.

A few days later, life exonerated me.

A dear client recently flew back to her childhood home to help her 84-year-old mother recover from hip surgery and a subsequent infection. When I heard the news, I was concerned. The mother was not an easy woman for my client to spend time with. The client is about to begin looking for an agent to represent her new book, a process that requires a great deal of energy and confidence. Would the week with her mother deplete her? Would she return without the stamina it takes to begin sending her precious book around?

When, during our next appointment, she told me it had been a very good trip,” I was surprised, and anxious to learn why.

“My mother has become much sweeter in her old age,” my client told me. “She let me take care of her. I made food, I massaged her back, I bathed her, and she accepted all of that attention, something she never would have done before.”

“That’s amazing,” I exclaimed. “Such good news!”

“Not only that, she has a boyfriend,” my client continued. He lives upstairs in her building, and they’ve fallen in love.”

“Tell me more,” I requested.

“It’s very sweet. They bought a love seat so they can sit together when they watch T.V.”

“That proves it,” I crowed.

“Proves what?” y client inquired.

“It’s never too late.”

“Absolutely,” my client replied. “My mother even told me he’s the love of her life.”

Monastery Tiles


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