Thursday, August 16, 2007

522 days, 9 hours, 29 minutes 53 seconds

She thinks of St. Rudy's first inauguration, eight-year-old Andrew up there on the podium, hamming it up for the cameras. That boy ought to be spanked, a friend said. Father and son no longer speak. His daughter's campaigning for Obama. Both children loyal to their mother. He announced his divorce to the media before he told his wife. And this man wants to be president. Republican. Family values. Leave my family out of this, he tells a woman in New Hampshire.

And don't we all wish we could leave our families out? Her father getting all the details confused. A stomach tumor. Five hours at the doctor every day. Calling every other night to see what the doctor said, sometimes forgetting he just spoke to her. Sheer promotion for the MCI friends and family network. Whoever is left now that he's nearly 91. She's his only daughter.

And his father 93, planning the birthday party. Knowing something's going on, but not what. Ready to announce whatever it is to the world, highlight of the evening. She'd almost prefer he tell them they're getting divorced.

522 days, 10 hours, 35 minutes 26 seconds

When he turned 50, she threw him a surprise party that's remained one of the high points of their life together. Now that he's turning 65, this is what her body does to him.

522 days, 23 hours, 56minutes 8.1 seconds

Sign of hope at Utah mine. Geophones picking up a series of noises over five minutes. Another falling rock? An animal? A miner struggling to breathe? If one of her loved ones were down there, nine-tenths dead, with little chance of a normal life again, what would she really be hoping for?