Her ghost haunted his thoughts. Not a real ghost composed of ectoplasm and rattling chains, more a ghost of a ghost, a shadow or reflection left over after cancer had separated them. He imagined he could see her out of the corner of his eye as long as he didn’t look directly at her. Who knows, perhaps the remnants of her microbiome, a wisp of a bacterial colony still carried on her movements and sensibilities. Her presence, however incorporeal, comforted him, gave him succor in an otherwise empty home.
You’ve been here before, stood in this space, breathed this air
I am here now, standing in your steps, breathing us together
Yes, it’s true that I spend too much time obsessing over you
Yes, it’s true that I know you don’t obsess over me
Yes, it’s true that I’m learning how to let go
and forgive you for this oversight
“Hello, child.” I hate when she says that. Yep, here comes the pat on my head like I’m a dog or something. Makes me want to punch her in the throat. Stupid old lady. Why should I care if you don’t remember me? I’m standing right here in front of you. You see me, don’t you? Yes, you do. So obviously I’m not a child. Stop trying to put yourself above me. You’re not better than anyone. You can’t even go to the bathroom or walk without help. You’re like a big baby. I’ve got plenty of my own problems. I don’t need an old lady thinking I’m just a child.
Each morning, she filled the glass with ice, then added hot water. After all, a few minutes later the glass contained a lukewarm mixture neither cold nor hot. All that energy to chill the ice and heat the water just wasted. I did not understand why she did this even after she explained it to me this way:
It’s not the cold of the ice, nor the warmth of the hot water, what I relish is the tension between the two, the thin border between one and the other, like the narrow band of tide pools between the beach and the ocean. That tension is life.