On our chilly walk today we passed Dave, a neighbor wearing a T-shirt, work pants and a woolly cap, finishing up a brick flower bed. Jerry called to him, “You look like you’re having fun!”
Dave turned around and said “What?” but even after Jerry repeated himself twice, Dave was uncomprehending. He walked over to us, covered his ears, hidden beneath the knitted cap, with both hands. “I can’t hear,” he said. “A bomb, a big bomb went off– Do you remember 1984? Do you remember what happened?”
We were struggling to figure out which “happening” he was referring to.
“Do you remember who was president? Peanut king?”
“Oh–yeah. Jimmy Carter.”
“Well, he sent us all to Desert Storm–that was all right–but a bomb went off near me and blew spinal fluid out of both my ears.” He spoke earnestly, almost cheerfully. “In the hospital an Iranian surgeon put me back together. When I tried to thank him for saving my life, he wrote on his hand–I couldn’t hear anything–”
Dave spelled out the letters into his own palm. “G-O-D.”