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Harry Hirschkorn was always the first to wake. Before the sunlight broke through the windows, Harry was rifling through pans to heat his oatmeal, pouring his thickly pulped hand-squeezed orange juice into a stubby cocktail glass, and brewing his fresh roasted coffee.

Therefore, it’s no surprise Harry was the first to hear the news.

The funny thing about bad news is how it doesn’t affect the rest of the world. Just when our axis tips and we think the whole world must also be tipped, it isn’t.  In fact, as the life-changing words were spoken through the phone the mourning dove continued to coo, the little brown jobs continued to chatter, the dog continued to wag its tail and ask for breakfast or to be pet, or both, the occasional car continued to drive by and the wooden wind chimes kept rolling back and forth against each other making hollow music.

It was those chimes (I believe he said they were made of bamboo) Harry remembered first hearing when he hung up the phone and stood there.  Still.

On that particular day, in that particular moment, the chimes sounded ominous to him–like they were building up to some horrible act in a movie and were wholly placed there to create fear and foreboding in an audience.  An audience of one.

But what happens after that is what she could not get over a year later when they came to me.  After Harry had stood there for a good space of time.  Still.  Quiet.  Listening.  He walked over to the now-finished coffee pot, poured himself a bit of cream in his white ceramic cup and proceeded to fill that cup with coffee and returned to sit at his place at the island where his oatmeal and juice remained, so far untouched.

Something which puzzled her, as she mulled over the first moments of him hearing the news, realizing he did not have his paper, he got up again, walked to the door, (which was a good distance away from the kitchen and not too far from where she slept), opened it, stepped out on the porch and stood staring at the sun which was beginning to rise very prettily over the park at the end of their cul-de-sac.

He then reached down, picked up the paper, and returned once again to his place at the island where he sat and read and ate his breakfast, like he had a hundred times–no, a thousand times or more, as she continued to sleep.


…..to be continued.