Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Pain feels like a paper cut

WEDNESDAY, November 11 – Math is no longer Eamonn’s favorite subject.  In fact, he says he hates it.  Why, I ask him, as he keeps repeating that mantra while we wait in the schoolyard. I hate math, I hate math.

‘But why, Eamonn?  You’ve always been good at math?’

‘Yes, I know, but I still hate math.’

‘I don’t understand. Explain it to me.’

He drags his feet.

‘I hate math because Mom always signed the tests I brought home. And now she can’t anymore.’

Oh, shit.

‘It’s the little things that hurt the most, isn’t it?’ I say.  ‘But from now on I can sign your homework.’

But, of course that’s not the same.

‘Do you know what it feels like, Papa?  It feels like a paper cut.’

Damn, he’s right. That sharp pain you feel when you cut your finger on some stupid piece of paper. Brief but intense.

Eamonn explained.  ‘A paper cut so small you can hardly see it, but it really hurts.’

I was astounded.  What a metaphor for the wounded life that all three of us are living at this moment. I thanked him for those lovely words. ‘You just made my day’.

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