Monday, August 29, 2011

"I'd pretend you're not dead"

She was sad sounding, her English was excellent. It was just the start of the afternoon and he was up listening to the CBC. He could feel the violation in her tone, he could see the color of her skin. He was attracted to the passion he could hear in her voice. It was exactly what the CBC loved to dish out to mellow-dramatic Canadians.
"Hey dad are you listening to this?" he asked, calling out from the kitchen into the living room.
"George just settle down in there I've had a terrible morning, I'll be in right after I take this call." he explained. George just sat at the table and began to listen to the women and her plight.
"I was only nineteen when I first saw someone die in front of me."  He actually heard her voice through the radio it was crystal clear, she spoke with conviction, someone stroked into horror through war. "I was only nineteen, but the little girl next to me was only ten, and she watched her mother die in my arms." The woman's voice told the story of the orphaned girl then the story of herself. "I thought I could save the world when I pushed myself into medical school. I was so young and ambitious, I was ready to take on the inappropriate predicament my nation was forcing itself to face!" George sat and listened to the woman repeat her justification to peruse the freedom of her nation. "When the government fell, I couldn't believe it!" she almost cried out. He could see her in the far off of that eastern state. The moment of silence was fired through the radio with an exaltation of energy, "my people" she stopped, ready to scream, "my people" she repeated again, this time solemnly "began to fight."
"Dad" George yelled through the hallway this time, directing his voice into his fathers office. The door then opened and George could hear his father moving toward the kitchen. The two of them had been acting hostile toward one another all week.
"What is it George?" asked his father as he headed toward the refrigerator. George turned up the radio and the two began to listen together. The woman's voice came through and the two leaned in to hear it. "My family" she said, calmly, "were ripped apart by civil war. My father was murdered by on of my cousins for believing there can be peace!" She spoke with an enduring faith. George looked at his dad, the two smiled and listened on. "My mother was taken from me to watch her husband die" there was a pause, dead air.
"Hey George!" rang his father, startling the boy over the silence. "What's going on? Why you listening to this?" He asked looking over at his teenage boy with sincere seeming sight. The two just stared at each other. When the woman's voice returned they both instantly relaxed as she began to explain how the westerners had underestimated the level of corruption in the system. "There is nothing I can do about what happened to my family, there is no one I can blame anymore." The reporter stepped in, his voice, the voice of the typical CBC reporter so bravely and politely stepped in and asked "Why are you still here, why haven't you run, you're a doctor, why would you stay in such trauma, and so intently  practice medicine?" The question was designed to hit a mark. The two sat together listening to the radio. They were watching a bunch of children play in the park in the valley behind their home. It was a marvelous view, and even George, at fifteen understood that he was going through life in paradise.
"We're not there are we Georgy?" asked his dad. The boy looked up at his father listening to the radio. The sun entering through the panorama of kitchen windows was beginning to let in the afternoon sun, making the  air feel a little stuffy. "Right George?" his father insisted. He was drilling the boy for the answer.
"But dad!" the boy exclaimed. "Now look, listen, theses people need help" he said standing up, pushing his chair back.
"You're so passionate son!" the old man said as he pushed himself up and toward the counter. There was a bowl full of fruit. Georges father picked a ripe mango and smelt it. His face lit up the moment the aroma hit his senses, George just watched. His stomach groaned, loud enough for the two of them to hear it.
"Dad it's not ever going to be right!" he said. The girls voice could still be heard in the background on the radio. "I decided to stay in Baghdad to protect my people. And its made me very hard inside. I see so much death, and I can't do anything about it. There is nothing I can do." George got up to grab a banana and while he was up he watched his father cut a mango into chucks and wedges.
"You're mother loved mango's!" his father explained, George looked out the window again and began to think about his mother. "She was taken from us way too early son." George just laughed, it had been a long time since the sun made the kitchen look the way it did in that instant.
"It looks like it did when mom used to make a snack in the afternoons, when I was little.  We would sit at the kitchen counter and talk fruit" he reminisced laughing.
"I remember her dad" the boy said, gleaming a blush spot of red over his cheek at the faint memory of his long lost mother, "I remember she used to tell me how generous I have to be." He stopped and looked at his father, he watched as the man spread butter over his freshly toasted bagel.  "Jesus dad you use a lot of butter, Fuck! it's gonna give you a heart attack. The man just laughed and spread it even thicker.
"Hey George!" demanded his father, he was looking at the boy, watching him listen to the CBC, "What do you think you'd do if I died?" His father asked. It was his typical line of questioning, he often wanted to see how George felt about inheriting his future.
"Dad!" the boy smirked, "you're not going to die" he said the words in a single breath. He was sitting at the table holding his face in his hands.
"When I was sixteen, George, my father died, he left us with nothing." The man said, readying George up to take on this next lecture. "So what would you do?" he asked. George still listening to the girl talk. "Here, if someone needs a CT scan past three o-clock in the afternoon, they are forced to wait until the next day." George could hear the way she felt about her circumstance, he could hear through the radio that the girl was fighting a hopeless fight.
"You can hear that can't you son?" asked his father. "Do you know what that is?" he demanded, in anger almost, it set George on edge.
"Desperation!" he yelled back at his father standing up and shouting it right into his face. "That's fucking desperation, in a place filled with no hope dad...!" the screams tore the tension. Georges father smiled and relaxed as he watched his son do the same.
"So, son, what would you do if I died?" asked his father exhaling a romantic tone.
"Dad, you're a plastic surgeon" he stopped and then said,

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