2 minutes 58 seconds| Fickled Medley. Relaxed Fit.
As I have said elsewhere, titles for these pieces, as well as their thumbnail images, have little bearing on the course of a composition, and are seldom timely as finishing flourishes.
Time stamp for creation: 2/10/12.
Novel-in-Progress, excerpt 5| This selection is from early in the book, when son Lucien is home for Christmas and confronts decades of change in the old family house. His father is much in his thoughts, especially after confronting scars left in the wall where an old intercom system has been papered over. While his mother dresses, he seizes a realization:
Empathy would be added last as an understanding to the Talbot household, and while both parents were still alive to see it.
Lucien could mark to the visit its arrival: when he came home to find his father giving his mother an intravenous dip infusions of a powerful antibiotic due to a life-threatening lung infection. For the first time she was frail and needy, and when Ernie enlisted Lucien to help with the administration of the medicine, it was not without a measure of bickering common to their cooperation; this reduced Blythe to tears more than once. Lucien realized he needed to be strong for his mother and, though it was unnatural to him, he caressed her back at the dinner table while the protracted operation was performed. He held his peace with his father, and tracked air bubbles in the IV tube with horror that one might find its way into her vein. Though she recovered from that episode, it was nevertheless the beginning of the end: and an awkward beginning at that.
Still, a transformation was underway. Roles of parent and child were reversing, and a late-born sense of responsibility in the son meant he never looked at his beloved mother the same way again. When his father died, and he saw his mother in the hospital at his side, he knew it would take all his energies to preserve her, only now there was no awkwardness in his love.
Empathy was neither perceptual to the child nor conceptual to the adult. It was imminent to the spirit, which made its quality permanent and irreducible where all else was subject to dissolution. Empathy came to endure in its preciousness, because it was last to enter the fray and redeem.
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