Harmon Drake

Let me tell you a little bit about Harmon Drake. You’ll meet him in a few weeks, I hope, but you’ll always see him through Etta Capstone’s eyes. Now, I think Etta’s got a good understanding of Harmon, but you need to remember that she sees everything through the distorting lens of emotion & memory. Sees even Harmon that way. I see him more clearly than Etta but I love him less than she does, so maybe in the end it all evens out into some kind of truth. Harmon Drake is faithful in his duties and steady in his affections. He’s not handsome or refined or smooth-talking. Even Etta admits that his only attractive feature is his eyes. He has no imagination to speak of & he’s not especially witty, though if you pay attention, he’ll make you laugh.

Harmon is that man you see pushing his invalid wife in a wheelchair at the craft show. Goodness knows he’d never go to a craft show on his own, but she wanted to go and she needed him to take her. So he did. Made interested comments about the amateur paintings & rested his hand ever so briefly on her shoulder when they hit a bump in the gravel path. He’s been there to steady her all their life together.

Harmon Drake is that man who doesn’t stop loving his wife, though she’s long vanished into the fog of Alzheimer’s. He goes to the nursing home every day & sits with her & holds her hand & talks to her like she’s still there. Which she isn’t, of course, though to him that frail woman who stares at him in bewilderment & asks the same question over & over & over is still the slim girl with the dancing eyes he met and loved all those years ago. Wife. Lover. Companion. Mother of his children. Center of his universe.

That’s Harmon Drake. Faithful in his duties. Steady in his affections.

Maybe I don’t love him that much less than Etta, after all.

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