INTERRUPTING THE SILENCE

This will be a holiday without family or friends. We canceled the celebration due to Bernie’s health. I think he was also concerned for my fatigue. Now we’re having the same old discussion we’ve had frequently in the past:

It’s a long weekend, Bernie. Should I invite people over? Anybody you’d like to see?

I don’t want any bother.

I mean just talking to people. How about – or — ? You like them.

I do, but they just interrupt my silence. You know, I’ve always been such a loner, and then I found myself being with so many people all the time.

Which leaves me reflecting on what it is to follow your calling even as it goes against other aspects of your temperament. I write and like a certain amount of privacy, but after just a few days of being on my own I start looking piningly at the phone. I’ve even looked at Stanley on occasion and said, You can’t turn into a human by some chance, can you?

No.

Didn’t think so.

So Bernie goes into his silence, punctuated by occasional glances at his iPad or a New England Patriots football game. Or he rests, which he needs to do.

Just don’t withdraw, I implore.

But he’s already shut his eyes.

The phone rings.

Stanley, fetch the phone.

You fetch it. I’m retired.