18 | Linguist | Anxious resting face
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Written By: Helen Grant
April 6, 2015
It was like he'd reached the point where he was so afraid of dying that he couldn't bear to lift his toes off the ground, as if he expected some callous deity or strong gust of wind to just scoop him up and drop him on a cloud before he got the chance to say goodbye to his family. Instead, he shuffled. Small steps, low steps, slow steps, excruciating for his wife and his daughter and me to behold. In his efforts to remain grounded he risked every unevenness in the carpet, every seam in the flagstones, every tufted patch of grass; but we couldn't take his arm, cup his elbow, steady him. It would have been an insult to his dignity, and an insult to the smart, straight-backed civil engineer who stood in his leather slippers and pulled self-consciously at the folds and crevises in his skin.
And so we watched, and we waited for the fall.