I was alone with him the bedroom; his mind was alert but his body was failing. He said, almost buoyantly, “I’m ready now.” I sat on the edge of the bed, and another silence fell over us. Then he said, “I wish I could cry. I wish I could cry.”
At first I took this as a comment on his condition, but I am forever thankful that I pushed on. “What do you want to cry about?” I said.
“For all the love I received and couldn’t return.”
I felt a chill of familiarity. There was another lengthy silence as we looked into each other’s eyes. At last he said, “You did everything I wanted to do.”
“I did it for you.” I said. Then we wept for the lost years. I was glad I didn’t say the more complicated truth. “I did it because of you.” [Editor’s emphasis]
You know Steve, actually, you are not exactly correct. It’s even more complicated. You did itbecause of your father —andyou. It’s called Character and Temperament.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” spoken by Atticus Finch, in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
How do you “truly” climb into another’s skin and walk around? It is a hard thing to do, well. For that person may be a different kind of person from you, from a different time, and from a different place.
One can try to “climb into another’s skin” through watching a movie or play, or reading a book. This is something we can do as humans. We can visit different lands and different tribes – the modern words for “lands” and “tribes” is countries and cultures. We can also visit some different “ages” – through movies and living in cultures that are different than your “culture” – although there are limitations and there is a possibility to not really get the “gestalt” of that age and place. Are you just a tourist or just an anthropologist?