When Spencer didn’t inhale again, I waited and waited. I was overcome with fury when I felt my lungs expand to inhale while his remained still. He was now there, dead, and I remained here, alive. I put my head on our hands, still intertwined, and I whispered to him over and over, “You were supposed to stay with me.” I kept my head on Spencer’s bed; someone – one of my sisters, I think – kept a hand on my unwashed hair. The nurse, crying herself, started to lower the head of Spencer’s bed.
In the next seconds, I committed a terrible first act for a widow, but I did not care. I wanted to delete the memory of what cancer had done to my husband. Once strong and so preternaturally warm that I’d put my cold feet on his stomach after a day of skiing, he’d grown so thin that his collarbones poked out from the neck of his hospital gown; his hands were cold, his fingers curled in like claws. Adding insult to injury, his belly had swelled on his skinny frame as his abdomen filled with a cancery fluid due to liver failure. Spencer said to me once, bitterly, in the middle of the night as we drank milk sitting on his bed, that cancer turned him into Humpty Dumpty. He’d raged at the changes in his body. I took up his cause.
“I don’t want to see him like this any more.”
“Manhattan has been compelled to expand skyward because of the absence of any other direction in which to grow,” E.B. White wrote in “Here is New York,” his classic 1949 essay. “This, more than any other thing, is responsible for its physical majesty.”
This ascent over the centuries, through photographs and illustrated maps, from the city’s beginnings as a Dutch settlement to a megalopolis stretching toward the clouds is at the heart of “New York: A Century of Aerial Photography,” recently published by Prestel. Though the city’s other boroughs, and even its neighbor New Jersey, appear in its pages, the book is largely a visual history of Manhattan, with its awe-inspiring symbols, as White put it, of “aspiration and faith, the white plume saying that the way is up.”
acting as if nothing terrible has happened
is a failed strategy you yell and this docility
has ruined and crushed us and afraid as I am
I cannot hold your vehemence against you [...]