I wake up each morning, lean to the right, and pull the two cords to turn on my stained glass table lamp. My friend has a semi-circular shade and a dark grey metal base. It looks like a tree, with the most exquisite branches – little panels of coloured glass, ranging from a vibrant red to dark brown to a lighter brown, to cream, and then white at the tip. I like trees. I like light.
A few days ago, I pulled the metal cords and just sat there. I watched the little globes at the ends of the cords moving back and forth. And then it came to me … What if those two balls were really two lives, doing what humans do – loving, working, eating, laughing …?
One ball was moving slower than the other one. I watched its speed gradually lessen. And I thought about Jody, being at home for the last seven months of her life. Slowly winding down. I kept watching. And I guessed what the time had been when I pulled the cords – 8:31. As the swings became shorter, the movements more subtle, I cried for my wife. Soon the vibrations were really minute. I wanted to see the moment when the globe became still but it was taking so much effort to focus on it. Jody was dying. At 8:43, she stopped.
The other ball was winding down. It was me. I watched myself dying. Would I be reunited with my beloved wife? Yes I would. When will I die? Tomorrow? When I’m 75? Thirty years from now? At 8:53, I stopped. Jody was still. I was still. We were hanging there, seemingly separated by the trunk of the tree. We couldn’t see each other. But we could feel each other. After all, we’re both part of a spreading maple giant. “I am here, Bruce.”