One Night
My father is sitting in an armchair before the television set in Great Neck on Gateway Drive, the stucco house, in 1952, smoking Pall Malls, perhaps, home from work, we three asleep upstairs. My mother is in the kitchen preparing something for him. He is watching television in 1952 or waiting for my mother, perhaps, wanting to say something, or wanting her to say something that will make a difference in the late hour. The television is on, or off. He is smoking or waiting or wanting. We are asleep, 7, 5, and 3. He gives up — the television, the kitchen, the cigarettes, the day of work, the wife, the children. He is dead to the world. We are forever peeling the sleep away.