Well the last few weeks have been very challenging for my faith and strength to say the very least. The waiting has been sheer torture and of course I want to feel and see the things we have seen before. The seizures by their very nature take such a toll. I was waiting to see if there were any obvious changes to the equation. Today, and the last couple days, have finally given the glimpse of what we have been waiting for. Yesterday as you will hear from Davy was Todd’s first word (again) “more”…… and today came the attempt to say more… you could call them questions? Sentences? Phrases?… Well we were not able to clearly discern what he was saying…it is clear that more is coming. There is an increasing complexity in our days. It is simple and beautiful and oh so overdue.
Turns out the reaction to the cold here was quite warranted. The city is now covered in a beautiful powder…. Today Mary and I took Todd out for his first excursion outside the walls of the hospital. (It took me 2 weeks, Todd a few months) We all enjoyed the beauty of the white trees and checked out the public art piece there along the path that we walk by every day on the way from the train to the hospital.…more on this moment will soon come from Miss Mary. (On the way we did check out the 75 Christmas trees and the solid steel waves…I told him Liisa would be talking to him about these.)
Since I am in the company of such good writers I have and will take a back seat, but just for a moment. It is always good for us all to hear and see another perspective… and with that I give you Davy.
Todd tends to do things in twos these days, so when he looked up at Alex and whispered this word, I knew he’d be repeating the request. Alex had been planting kisses on his cheeks, forehead, eyes and lips and when she drew her head away to smile at him, he wanted to let her know he wasn’t done: “More!” he said again, louder so that we could both clearly understand his desire.
Yep, that was Todd’s first word. “Love,” I’m sure, will not be far behind it, but first he needs to regain more dexterity with the tongue.
Todd’s new room, now that he’s checked out of medium care, is pretty sizeable. It could hold four beds but there’s currently three. With this move, he has been reunited with an old friend, Tootie: the two of them face each other over by the windows—their feet separated by a table and chairs. Their view includes the low rooftops of the hospital complex, and a vast, flat countryside scattered with bare, frost-coated trees.
Tootie bunks across from Todd. His brother MC and his girlfriend Myra show up to hang out with him everyday. Other members of his Suriname family—all ebony skinned with beautiful velvety hair—like to visit and things get very social. Kids hop around, the adults gossip, and Lenny Kravitz plays on the boom box. The ambience is great for Todd. Today, after taking Todd for a spin, we sat around gabbing with MC and Tootie (who had on his black Bob Marley teeshirt) about Suriname food and music. Todd follows the conversation, his eyes fixed with interest on whoever is talking, and occasionally answering a question himself with a blink. But yes, he still gets quite tired and he can’t always concentrate on what’s being said around him.
It’s COLD! There’s snow! The denizens of Amsterdam are out taking pictures of the bicycles and boats all dusted with powder, and the trees glimmering with ice. Seagulls whirl around in the white air and sit on the points of the houses near smoky chimneys.
On the subject of snow, the October issue of “Powder” magazine (thoughtfully sent by a friend) has a great article written by the ski pro C.R. Johnson, who recovered fully from an injury similar to Todd’s. It is a perspective from somebody who has been there. I’ve emailed the editors to see if Alex can post a copy, but if any of you can get your hands on the magazine, it’s worth reading that piece.
Alex and Neruda are proving to be a potentially dangerous combination—especially for anybody who happens to be standing by Todd’s bed as she recites to him the Chilean poet’s love poems. Yesterday, she was reading a particularly racy one, called “Body of a Woman.” She sat on his bed, with one arm on the other side of him, propping her up by his side, and leaned her face in, close to his. When she began the poem, “Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs…” Todd closed his eyes and seemed to drink in the verses. BUT, when she got to these lines, about halfway through—
Oh the goblets of the breast! Oh the eyes of absence!
Oh the roses of the pubis!
—his left leg SHOT up under the sheet with two lightning mule kicks! Alex looked up from the book and smiled to me—she hadn’t seen it, but she certainly felt it and heard it. I just busted out laughing. All right, you two: Get a motel!
It’s impossible to express HOW COOL IT IS to see Alex conjuring Todd back into the world, day by day. She gets him to talk, move, brings out his passion. She calms him down after a nightmare, rubs his legs and makes him purr, and kisses him and caresses him into deep restful sleep.
Be patient, Todd. In good time you’ll finish the poem yourself.
P.S. Mary arrived this morning, hungry and happy to get off the plane. She brings a lot of good energy to help Alex get ready to move Todd out and get him back to SF. The two went off to shop for tights and mittens before training off to the hospital.