"I got off the phone with Blue Cross Blue Shield today, " he says, collapsing into the sofa. He rubs his forehead.
"And?" I place my nook on the armrest, attempting to give him my full attention.
He talks of forms and figures, furrowed brows and forgotten details. For months now, he has helped his father sweep up the debris and fragments of his mother's life.
Insurance. Medical bills. Retirement. He works the gnarls from the knot. He tries to be gentle, but he still must tug. Strain.
Last Monday: "I had to tell them she's deceased," he said, spooning spaghetti in bowls.
Yesterday: "The hospital sent a postcard to Mom today, inviting her to a Bone and Joint Health Seminar."
I forced a smile, "I guess she's not going."
He shook his head, "Yeah."
I hold his hand and try not to study his features too intently. I annoy him with my furtive glances, as I scan his face for crumbling.
I want to dump the bucket, and let the water flow into every corner of her house. I want a flood. An outpouring. A release.
But he needs containment. Checks on paper, and creased, crisp envelopes.
He is mourning. He is cleaning house.
And I am trying my hardest to let him do it his way.