sitting by the roadside
by Keren Ziv

Whatever happened to Emily? somebody might ask her at a dinner function.

And Rory will look at her plate briefly before answering. She passed away some months ago.

Of course, it will be twenty-eight months later, but to your granddaughter, you will always only be a few months gone. These will be the moments with which she lives; neither will she dread nor welcome them. Rory will have learned by then that time does not pause or slow but speeds past with an irregular lurch and stumble until, strangely, it has been more than a year since your death.

These things you take comfort in: that Rory has sunk into the society which her mother would not; that your granddaughter graduated in the top of her class from Yale University; that you are not felled by some woman's illness like breast cancer.

An occasional person might press the issue further.

I'm sorry to hear, they will say, ears perked, body inching forward so that they almost brush shoulders with your granddaughter. She will shift away from them and look for help in her garden salad. Was it sudden?

In those instances, you will know that Rory too had always thought of colon cancer as a man's disease.


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