Convergence: My Father, the Ides of March, and Inktober52

15 March, 2020

Today is/was/would have been my father’s ninety-second birthday. With my mom’s death ten months ago, most of my focus has been on that more recent loss and the attendant (and apparently never-ending) responsibilities. But I still miss my dad.

My father, Erwin Feiertag, and I. Photo credit: Sarah Feiertag

He died back in 2007 of cancer, but he was the soul of our family and I sometimes, even now, find myself reaching for the phone to call him.

Dad was a generally gentle man, but he always reminded us that he’d been born on the day Caesar was murdered. I think Dad hoped that being born on the Ides of March might give him an alluringly dangerous veneer.

When I was very young, my father would, once in a while, take me into Los Angeles, I think to give my mother a bit of break.

My parents make their get-away from their wedding reception. See how happy they are? No kids yet.

I remember a day when we went to Angels Flight, “the World’s Shortest Incorporated Railway.”

I remember holding tightly to my father’s hand because the car was so crowded and we didn’t want to get separated by the press. I was too small to see out the window and we were too packed in for Dad to be able to pick me up. (Maybe he was worried he’d drop me out the window.) Nevertheless, it was all so exciting and I was out with my father in the city and what could be better than that?

With my Dad on my mind and my inbox over-flowing, I was trying to catch up on my e-mails and saw that Jake Parker, the instigator of the annual Inktober challenge, has started issuing weekly prompts: Inktober52. So I took a peek to see what he’d posted, and saw that the first prompt was “Flight.” I guess because my dad was already on my mind, the word brought up the image Angels Flight and my memory of that day in L.A. So with the childish skills I have, I combined the first five Inktober52 prompts into a rough remembrance of my journey on the World’s Shortest Railway:

I love you, Dad, even though you died.

Inktober 2019, Day Fourteen: Ashen Answers?…

Inktober Prompt: Overgrown
Goldspot Prompt: Spell

14 October, 2019

You know, Bridget,

I can just see you sifting through the ashes in your father’s fireplace ~ a desperate Cinderella with no ball to attend. How did you father take to your post-incendiary exploration?

I share your disappointment. The logical part of my brain told me ~ tells me still ~ that it was silly to look for answers in the ash. But the part of my mind that is both hopeful and worried harboured overgrown expectations that some sign or cure would be there waiting ~ some vial with a curative potion tempered by the fire.

I applaud your intention to visit Dr. Torres. After the way she departed so abruptly, I’m not sure I would have found the courage. I hope you can see her today. The weather is lovely, I see from window, and it will do you good to get out for a spell. I am, as you know,

Ever yours,
Hannah

Triskaidekaphilia and Friday the Thirteenth

Phobias: who doesn’t have a few? I have my share, but triskaidekaphobia isn’t one of them. In fact, thirteen is my favourite number, partly because I think it has been unfairly demonized. so here are some things to respect about the lovely number thirteen, gleaned from around the internet:

  • In Greek mythology, Zeus was the thirteenth and the most powerful god.
  • There are approximately thirteen cycles of the moon each year.
  • There are thirteen cards in each suit in a standard deck of playing cards.
  • The four seasons each have thirteen weeks.
  • The dollar bill has many icons with thirteen elements, including the pyramid, letters in “E Pluribus Unum,” thirteen arrows and thirteen stars.
  • Thirteen is a prime number and a Fibonacci number.
    https://www.beniciamagazine.com/the-not-so-unlucky-number-13/

Also,

       So let us look at Number Thirteen with kindly eyes, and remember that numbers, like people, are complicated entities we should get to know thoroughly before presuming to judge.

Happy Friday, Everyone, and have a healthy weekend.

 

1.

The gematria of ahavah – אהבה is thirteen: א = 1

ה = 5

ב = 2

ה = 5

———-
Total: 13

Inktober 2019, Day Thirteen: Good Counsel?

Inktober Prompt: Ash
Goldspot Prompt: Shriek

13 October, 2019

Goodness, Bridget!

I swear I heard your shriek before I finished slicing open the envelope! But I can’t blame you. You have had shock after shock, and there’s no way you could have seen this one coming.

I was so relieved when Dr. Morgan found a psychotherapist so quickly. You write that Dr. Morgan knew the — was she a psychologist or a psychiatrist? — counsellor was into some alternative practices, but that she had no idea the woman was a curandera! I suppose I wouldn’t have thought to ask that either.

You say that at first the examination seemed to go well, but when the new doctor looked at your father’s eyes, she turned pale, and — and here I am not sure, because your writing falters — I think you wrote that she rushed out, promising Dr. Morgan a report. Is that right? And that as she. Left, you heard her repeating, “The ash, the ash”? How strange!

Write me back and let me know if I have read your missive correctly. I am sitting here,

Your curious and puzzled,

Hannah

Inktober 2019, Day Eleven: Blessing, Curse, Snow…

Inktober Prompt: Snow
Goldspot Prompt: Curse

Bridget,

You are quite right. This snow that keeps the doctors from your father is a curse. But it also gives you an excuse to stay away from the woods, so it is also a blessing, and for that I am

Grateful,
Hannah

Inktober 2019, Day Ten: In which we learn of tears and tapestries…

Inktober Prompt: Pattern
Goldspot Prompt: Suffocate

10 October, 2019

Bridget,

Please don’t cry. I can see the teardrops on your missive. Of course I have not forgotten your father’s antipathy towards psychiatrists, but don’t let his prejudices corrupt your thinking. I know your mother’s therapist couldn’t cure her, but sometimes mental illness resists treatment. And you know your mother’s depression played no part in her death.

You and Dr. Morgan needn’t tell your father that the counsellor is a psychiatrist. Merely tell your father that Dr. Morgan wishes to consult with a colleague for a second opinion.

Sometimes I think I can begins to discern a pattern to your father’s behaviour, but it’s more like a tapestry than a linear flow. Get the help you need, and do not allow your father’s illness to suffocate the beloved friend of

Your faithful,

Hannah

Six Months

It’s been six months, as of today, since my mother died. I feel like I’m in a Greek myth-Freaky Friday mash-up: I’m Persephone waiting for Ceres to come back after her half-year in the Underworld. It ain’t gonna happen, but I still rather expect Mom to show up and want to know why we haven’t finished fixing up the house.

Oh well.

To mark the day, here’s one of my mother’s favourite poems, “One Perfect Rose,” by one of her favourite authors, Dorothy Parker:

 

 

A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet –
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
‘My fragile leaves,’ it said, ‘his heart enclose.’
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

(https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/one-perfect-rose/)

Inktober 2019, Day Seven: An Unforeseen Development…

Inktober Prompt: Enchantment
Goldspot Prompt: Shiver

7 October, 2019

Bridie,

Remember when “enchantment” was a charming word, the stuff of childhood fantasies and the cause of inconvenient, over-long naps? And now the word has a noxious look; it lies there, where I’ve written it, watching, glaring, all its innocence lost.

Perhaps I am seeing it through the haze of your letter, which I opened and read when I woke today. “Subtle differences,” you write, “subtle, but easily discernible to those who know him.”

Bridget, I know you don’t want to see the changes in your father, but even through your letter I can tell the changes are not subtle. Your father has always been a person of vast intelligence, but “wily, deceitful”? These are not attributes of your papa. Dr. Morgan has eliminated all the obvious medical causes, and while she is still waiting for other test results, we should open our minds to other possibilities, even if they provoke a shiver in our souls.

So your father has intuited that you may not be taking your walks in the woods as he has “encouraged” you to do and wants you to bring a “sand flower” (and you’re right; he made that up) from the edge of the lake to hasten his recovery.  Bridie, we both know your father would never manipulate you so and that if he were mad, his insanity would be a gentler sort, one that would give him an excuse to live in his library, in a literary world with his favourite characters. Moreover, if he were ever to retreat so, he would invite you in to whatever realm he was inhabiting and would not insist you walk away from him to become “wode within this wood.”

Birdie, I have an idea forming in my head, but my weariness is sliding the pen out of the hand of

Your loving,
Hannah

(And, truly, more and more it seems your father is enchanted by some power whose epicenter is in thge wood.)

Inktober Day Two: A sense of foreboding steals in…

Inktober Prompt: Mindless
Goldspot Prompt: Chill

Inktober Day Two

2 October, 2019

Well, Bridie,

As happens so often, our letters must have crossed in the post. I was pleased to see it; I was expecting your recipe for pumpkin soup — goodness knows I’ve asked for it often enough!

Your missive started out well enough; I am pleased that your dear papa is improving. But, Bridget, as I read on, I confess a chill brushed through my soul and left a pattern of ice crystals there. I can hardly say why. There seemed to be a creeping, mindless aura to your words that has settled over my own brain like a living mist and has quite put me out of countenance.

Write back at once to either reassure or confide in

Your anxious friend,
Hannah

P.S. And please don’t forget the soup recipe!

Inktober Day One: And so it begins…

Inktober Prompt: Ring
Goldspot Prompt: Mystery

Inktober Day One

Dear Bridget,

Autumn is good and finally here. For weeks, the flowers & trees have seemed still & quiet  — waiting. But now they begin to ring out with glory and colour. It started with the drifting, spinning leaves of the locust, floating down like slow-motion largesse, looking like the tinkling of a wind-chime in a lazy breeze.

But now the reds & oranges ring out on the trees and bell out that ‘Fall has come!’ in deeper tones than even the aspen can manage. There is a mystery to the liminal seasons, a mystery of which I never tire.

You are laughing, I’m sure, at my florid prose, but I am even more sure you will forgive and indulge

Your tedious friend,

Hannah