Diary of a Widower

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

Stuck at the fatal scene

WEDNESDAY, February 24 – Sander called during the Evening News. He should have been home already from conservatory.  He always calls when he’s finished with his lesson. The usual chat. How did the lesson go? Are you hungry? And be careful on the way home.

That’s what he and Jennifer used to do: their phone calls were an exchange of idle chatter, like ours are now. But he’s still a child, and I’m still a concerned parent. So an alarm bell sounds when much later than expected the phone rings and his number appears on my mobile. I answer as calmly as I can.

‘Papa, I’m at the spot where the accident happened. Can you come?’

‘Of course, I’ll be right there.’

It’s just around the corner.

He’s standing there, holding onto his bicycle, near the infamous crosswalk. I slowly walk over to him and give him a hug and a kiss. I don’t say anything.

‘I felt as if I ought to come here and once I was here, I couldn’t leave. As if I was paralyzed. That’s when I called you.’

‘I’m glad I can help, Sander.’

Then he points to the tree across the road. ‘See, high up in the branches. The plastic bag for Elsa’s poop is still there.’

‘That’s what we call a silent witness, Sander.’

Neither of us speaks.

‘Shall we go home together?’

So that’s what we did. I was glad I was there. For him.

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