My Dad wasn't good with words. Sentences either, and paragraphs made him break out in cold sweats. Conversations were akin to turture. Questions like a thousand pin pricks all over his body. He avoided language that consisted of more than a grunt or a short yes or no. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head and ocassionally - very occassionally - a tiny piece of a smile would dance at the egdes of his lips.
Dad has always had Mum to talk for him.
But not anymore.
So he shrunk away, avoiding people until they crossed the street so as not to walk past him. He created a world in which there were only three occupants: himself, me and the dog. I watched him in the backyard some mornings, walking between his rows of tomato plants and corn and capsicum. The dog beside him. I wondered if he was lonely. I wondered if he was sad. I wondered what I could do, if in fact anything needed to be done.
One day he came home carrying a typewriter. An orange Olivetti with a hard black plastic cover. He placed it carefully on the kitchen table, the corners of his lips dancing just a little.
I put down my book and looked at the Olivetti.
He nodded, and shrugged.
Yeah, not sure - just had to have it.
I sat up in bed, it was late. Down the hallway I could hear the clacking of a typewriter. I considered getting up, but instead sunk back against the pillows. I listened to the clacking, the noises of the machine as row after row was typed, the metal imprinting ink on fresh white paper. I wondered if the typewriter could bring words back to my Dad.