>In His White Shirt


Describe a feeling without using the word. Which feeling do you think I tried to describe?

I try not to stare at my father in the white shirt. While I take off my jacket, I observe that for once the train wasn´t late. I remember to tell him about the lilacs, and the apple trees which are finally blooming. Last week I only saw tiny buds, but today the pink flowers glow like little girls in ballet skirts. He chuckles. Fruit trees are close to his heart.

Through the shirt I can see his shoulder blades as if he had forgotten to remove the hanger. I remember how I sat on his shoulders, ruling the whole world, when we took a walk along the beach. With my short legs I soon grew tired of walking in the wet sand, but my father always knew a way out.

I sit down beside his bed and notice the bluish needle marks on his hand, and I can hardly breathe. The room smells of medication plus a sour-sweet odour which I disown.

Gently I stroke his dry, warm hand with my fingers, like when you are afraid to squeeze a young bird too hard. A network of veins is visible through his skin which is turning parchment yellow. He reaches out his thin fingers, and I dare holding his hand properly. It feels a bit clumsy because of that thing they call a butterfly. We are not really used to doing it either.

I hold a glass of water with a straw to his lips. They are cracking. My handsome, well-bred father burps and farts, and he has begun to lose tufts of hair. A scrap of food has been left in the corner of his mouth, and I wipe it off. Does he really have to return to the infant stage before the parasite has finished eating him bit by bit?

A doctor walks in with his clean, white papers in a green folder. He tries to catch my eyes across my father´s bed. I concentrate on my father´s palm as if all the answers were written there. I must be holding him too firmly, because he moans a bit.

If my throat had not been contracted, I would have sung to him, sung just like when … I turn my eyes towards the open window, but something blurs my image of the spring which is right outside.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in Writing exercise. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to >In His White Shirt

  1. cathryngrant says:

    >This is beautiful. I think the feeling you've described is grief.

  2. Ms. Bookish says:

    >Such profound love, longing and sadness. It's all there. Dorte, I am in such awe at the beauty of this post.

  3. Dorte H says:

    >Belle and Cathryn, I am so glad that you like my short text.

  4. >Yes I would have said grief too. Quite lovely Dorte

  5. Dorte H says:

    >Thank you, Bernadette!

  6. Kerrie says:

    >I've loved your attempts at the writing exercises Dorte.

  7. Dorte H says:

    >Kerrie, thank you so much. There is one more – but it will take some time to translate it as it is a bit longer, and I have played with the names which may make it difficult to translate.

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