In a Restless World Like This

My parents have fallen asleep leaning on each other. I’ve peeked into their bedroom because their tv is still on. The sound is muted; the words are scrolling across the screen. My father, at eighty-two, needs a c-pap for his suspended breathing, but there is still room on his shoulder for his wife of sixty years. They were watching a show about dancing. And Dad wanted to catch one more weather report before morning.

A severe storm watch is in effect for the following counties: Stark, Henry, Whiteside. These are the surrounding areas; my father’s crop is safe. There is only this quiet after the rain, only faint, trilling taps on the roof and the tick of a clock by the bed. The screen is flashing images of the outside world, making a sort of glow over them. But it does not wake them. It is more likely that my footsteps will, so I decide to close their door, leaving just a little opening for that same light.