A Shattering of Glass .....

Alenka Co

Stonebow, Australia

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Artist's Description

The sound of a man crying is the most frightening sound in the world. I saw my father cry once, and once the corporal.

His crying is muted, like it is being muffled under the covers, but still it chills me. The instinctive urge, as it was with my father and the corporal too, is to rush in and comfort but will he want that? Sometimes when we are reduced to tears we want to be left alone and sometimes we are crying out for someone to hold us, to comfort us and tell us everything will be all right. But for him it can never be all right.

I sit up, my knees huddled to my chest, listening to that awful keening sound. In the end I have to go.

I don’t knock. He doesn’t hear me pad barefoot to the bed. As I thought, he is under the covers, curled into a ball. I kneel on the floor and firmly place a hand where I think his shoulder must be. A slight startled flinch barely interrupts his grief’s flow. I let my whole arm come slowly down over him. How small he feels, bundled up like this.

When he doesn’t reject me I bring my other arm around him and rest my head on his heaving body. I don’t know for how long we stay like this, his breath a series of jagged sobs, his body shuddering under my head and chest. Gradually he quietens and stills and lies almost silent beneath me. Neither of us speaks. I hold him until I think by his breathing that he has finally fallen asleep.

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Photo by Ron Co

Artwork Comments

  • Brendan Schoon
  • fototaker
  • Alenka Co
  • GerryMac
  • Alenka Co
  • Alison Pearce
  • Alenka Co
  • Ann  Warrenton
  • Alenka Co
  • Ann  Warrenton
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