Let me hold your hand and plan, while we wait together

by DRM

“I want you to keep your dignity,” I say.

You look at me. I see the confusion, the blank stare, the quiver of panic that lingers at the edge of your eyes and in the taut skin below your jaw.

“I know,” you say.

But you don’t say anything else. I can barely control what happens inside me, an elevation, a swelling that narrows my band of thought and makes it louder, like there’s a scream about to explode from inside.

Do you have any dignity, I wonder. Any picture of how you want to be seen, to be remembered when you leave; how you want to be able to think of yourself when the time comes to take a personal inventory of your life, your moment of judgment?

Or are you like a hen pecking frantically at the bare frozen dirt in the yard in the middle of January, too stupid and confused to walk up the shit-stained plank to the heated coop, the grains of feed, the clean cycling water?

Am I trying to save the dignity of a tiny little hen?

That’s the rub: My dignity rests in making this effort, no matter how frustrated I feel, how utterly I fail. I can’t walk away, or I’m telling you to walk away too.

“All right then,” I say, taking your hand in mine. “Let’s talk out how we’re going to do this while we wait.”