The catalogue in I.
The rug was threadbare in places, and I spent hours every day pulling the little wiry strings back to reveal more wood. The stairs always squeaked as they do in old houses, so that later, as a teenager, I knew exactly which side of which step to avoid when I snuck out to meet my boyfriend in the dead of night.
I felt most comfortable on those stairs, perched on the small landing exactly three stairs from the top, where upstairs became downstairs and daytime became nighttime.
I floated down those stairs once; I can still feel the flight in my flesh, the ultimate little girl freedom dream when life had yet to leaden me.
That night of the floating dream, I ended up pouring a glass of milk in the kitchen, the cold white liquid overflowing the tall glass, spilling on my hand and then the linoleum floor, waking me up. One winter afternoon when I was about seven, my father came back from the hospital after having surgery on his hands.
All I remember was he disappeared rather suddenly, and was gone at least a week. It was a Saturday morning, and I wore a flannel nightgown with a lace collar and elastic wrists I would pull until they ripped and stretched. I wore my nightgown all day on the weekends, feeling the freedom of a day without pants.
My father was a gorgeous man. His mole, black and distinctive, sat right on his cheekbone, below his left eye. When he walked in the front door, which was directly at the bottom of the stairs, my mother had to help him take off his coat. She had driven him home.
His thumbs were wrapped in white braces wrapped in Velcro to render them immovable.
The Velcro scratched my neck, but I kept that to myself. He kissed my head.
He went into the kitchen to talk to my mother and I stayed in the foyer, the black marbled linoleum cold under my feet. A little later, after he went upstairs to rest, I crept up after him and sat again on the stairs, slowly inching my way toward his room.
The door was closed and no light shone through the crack at the bottom.
I reached the doorframe and sat outside. At first, I thought my father had the TV on. Long low moans punctuated by hiccupping sobs filtered through the doorjamb. Then it hit me—my father was crying. I had never heard my father cry before, though I would hear it again in the years to come.
But on this day in my childhood, I had never even considered my father crying a possibility. He was a mostly happy man who only seemed to ever get upset when I woke him up from a nap, or when my sister and I would pretend to run away, filling our knapsacks with stuffed animals for dramatic emphasis.
I scooted closer to the white, peeling door and held my arms wide and flat. I pressed my face up against it, and closed my eyes, smelling the old paint.Absolutely right Joe!
Developing relationships outside your career field helps create a well rounded person. My father retired from a 30 years in law enforcement and the best advice he gave me (careerwise) was to not make my social circle only the people I work with.
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Of the silent trilogy, Earth () is Dovzhenko’s most accessible film but, perhaps for these same reasons, most misunderstood. In a Brussels’ film jury would vote Earth as one of the great films of all time. Earth marks a threshold in Dovzhenko’s career emblematic of a turning point in the Ukrainian cultural and political avant-garde - the end of one period and transition to another.
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