The students I live alongside set a challenge, to write about the past/future. They set the challenge so I would finish a piece, put pen to paper, stop sitting in conversation so long with each of them, and step up to the mic. After all, we headline in a month.
The future. The past. The future. Tricky business these places.
Tuesday my sister and I voted in the advanced poles. We stood in line for 40 minutes so our voices would count. my dad always told me, even the smallest change matters. So I stood in line.
I listened while the couple in front of me dissected Costa Maragos’s passivity moderating the leaders debate, “and couldn’t someone just hand that man a bull horn.”
The Langesten’s were leaving when we arrived. Lingering so Mrs. Langesten could take that mouthful after ‘how are you’ to tell us of her four days dying in hospital while Mr. Lsngesten wrapped his arms around my sister, then around me, smiling, finishing his wife’s sentence. We waited. I cast my vote. Dad was right. I have a voice.
At dad’s care home they have removed his transfer pole. The manager of the care home tells mom it is an issue of occupational health and safety. Paralyzed on one side two years ago by a stroke, the manager says it is easier to move dad using a sling.
The long weekend dad came home for two nights. There are no activities at the Manor on GoodFriday. My sister and I both arrived to help. It tires dad, being home. It tires mom. But Friday dad arrived already tired. He asked twice how my car was working.
Saturday morning dad and I sat in the sun room drinking coffee. A place where we used to start the day when I was in high school, those early, early mornings before I’d walk to meet the bus. The magpies would feed like vultures on the scraps dad would leave for them outside the window. The Makaboys, dad called them, a bird that reminded dad of a family and of a story from his youth. And we would sip our coffee and settle in.
But this Saturday morning the lawn was brown and mom was busy answering urgent calls from returning officers. The bird feeders lay empty.
“You’re tired today, dad.” I said.
“I didn’t sleep. I was up worrying.”
“Worrying about what?”
He looked from the feeders towards me then his lap and back out the window, “that I’m not getting well fast enough.”
The care home removed his pole this winter. Four months after dad taught himself to move his leg, to bend his knee, and to nearly stand.
They removed his pole. It is easier, they said, to transfer Mr. Saas with a sling. It is easier.
Mom works for Elections Saskatchewan to help pay for dads care. I can vote. But I am only the daughter. I can not speak to managers. But I can fill bird feeders.