He was up and sitting at the edge of the bed,
murmuring “They will take us. Take us!”
“Where?” I asked, suddenly awake, not knowing he was sleeping.
“To the great settlement,” he said. He had opened
the bedside drawer and set a small pink vibrator beside the lamp.
His heart was beating very fast
but his eyes were closed.
He stood, a large man. I could not move or carry him.
“Come back to bed,” I said, stroking his aged back.
“They will,” he said.
“Lie back, sleep. It’s time to sleep.”
“I’m only talking to you because you’re talking to me!” He sat.
“Paul,” I said, “sweetheart?” I stroked his sweater
which he’d kept on along with his socks and boxers. “Just lean back.”
He coughed, seemed about to cry. I put the vibrator in the drawer and closed it.
“Lie back.” Should I call a doctor?
“I took a sleeping pill,” he said and I thought, “Thank heavens!”
and he lay back, finally. I lifted his legs up onto the bed.
He was wearing diapers under his boxers.
I held him from behind, my bare breasts against his back.
Author Commentary: I suppose I write about experiences I am trying to see better, understand as if in panorama, feelings and suppositions created by a slice of life that seem personal but I know are universal, which propel me to get "to the other side". It is my way of dealing with what cannot be said or understood in the moment: pain, love, the effects of the passage of time.
Paula Brancato was one of the first women executives on Wall Street, a producer in Hollywood and strategic planner for The World Bank, all of which have contributed to her unique voice. Paula's literary awards include The Booth Poetry Prize, Danahy Fiction Prize and Brushfire Poet Award. Her work has appeared in Mudfish, Bomb Magazine, Ambit Magazine, Georgetown Review, Litchfield Review and Southern California Anthology. Paula lives in NY and FL where she works as a financial advisor. She also teaches at USC, SUNY and The Writers Place. Paula received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and is a graduate of Hunter College and LA Film School.