I've been walking around today and yesterday with a feeling that that was it, Orna has died. I would come into the house from the garden and Raoul would say, "You had a phone call."
A minute under the drug she said, "What have I done, why did I agree to change rooms." She made an effort so that I, who knew about clothes, would understand: "Imagine, Anna, that you went to the store to buy a dress, and were pleased, and came home and the dress was narrow, and short, and didn't fit you."
"You can still go to the store and exchange the dress, Orna. Right?"
She tried to smile and nod. I think she stopped eating in order to die. To come back home from her, it's not easy. In the doorway Raoul moves shoulder and body to avoid contact.
Tonight, I sat on a chair in the dark, clenched the glass in my hand and threw it down. I too can break, not just you. He jumps up: What happened? And back to sleep. I gathered the splinters with the broom. Raoul lifted his head from the pillow and said, "You alreadyswept today whatareyoudoing gotosleep -broken?" (At noon the boss had decided to fire the assistant and he, Raoul, asked permission to tell her himself first, so she wouldn't get hurt). In the street the sky was filled with lightning. Later it became quiet. The rain came down and chilled my eyes. Maybe there'll be a miracle. A miracle can always still happen. The nurses in the hospice nodded their heads, "Yes, a miracle can always still happen."
Raoul still wants my body. Withdraws as if hating himself for having given in to hunger. I massaged her face with oil, the jaw bones, the neck, and she, like a baby, was glad to be touched, calmed down a little. The blue eyes looked as if sunken inside black tires that someone would soon set fire to in protest. A few months ago she came to me to help her sew a dress, looked at the garden and laughed, "All this you are growing? Eggplants as well? And tomatoes?"
I showed her the Cosmos, Zinnias, Celosia.
Perhaps you want me to write down what it is I am trying to learn from the plants: To see that there is a cycle in nature. Did you know that a hedgehog is born without any thorns?
Excerpt from "Sodot" (A Minyan of Lovers)