that thin, tenacious thread

It stretched from the hummingbird feeder, across our window, to the doorframe — one thin wisp of web silk. You could only spot it when the sun hit it at a certain angle. One thread, almost invisible.
As the wind picked up, throttling small branches from the leafy trees, I thought that it would have to break. Instead, it stretched with the wind, catching the sunlight, holding on, refusing to let go.
I sit with her by the window. She is panting, breathing through her mouth. “Am I dying? she whispers.” She doesn’t know where she is, why she is here. Her hands and feet and nose are like ice. I’ve tried to get her to lie down, level out her cirulation. I try to put a heating pad on her feet. She keeps getting up, unsteady, unsure, unresponsive. Outside the wind turns the thread of web into a trampoline. But it doesn’t let go.
My sib comes in and gets her to lie down, and she slowly recovers, eats some homemade chicken soup and rice, can’t remember the last several hours.
I sit with her tonight and watch “Moments to Remember” on our public television station. We get up out of our chairs, and I lead her in a small box step to “Heart of My Heart.” Nat King Cole sings “Pretend.”
The De Castro Sisters come on with Teach Me Tonight. Big wigs, big fringed dresses, behind which they hide what they have accumulated and lost over the years. Frankie Lane comes on with a cane. Rosemary Clooney and Perry Como are on tape, of course, and I yearn for those sweet, innocent 1950s, when life was so much more than a tenuous thread whipped by the wind. And I swooned over Perry Como and didn’t have a thick middle.

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