He says he wants to know what I want done with my ashes knowing I want to be cremated.
I tell him I need to think about that for a while, knowing that “while” could be an ever shortening lifespan, but I dare not tell him that, it simply wouldn’t be acceptable he would respond, setting off another endless discussion.
I don’t say that time, in this rare instance, is on my side for truth be told I don’t care what he does with my ashes, I am gone and that’s that , bit a nice spot in the center of the mantle in the formal living room would be nice.
Perhaps it is just that I do not have a mantle on which to place the cherished artifacts of my life, my parents and grandparents photos, a family Tanach, the tallis my first adoptive father wore to his Bar Mitzvah.
I have nothing, which this day seems sadly appropriate, for their history really is not mine, never was, I simply borrowed it for a time but all loans must end for that is their nature.
I have a photo of her gravestone the worman who bore me, of her in her college yearbook, of him in a group shot of his unit, in uniform but I still have no mantle and so little to place there if i ever did have one.
He captured the stray beams of light in a small amber bottle and tucked it into a dark corner of a shelf in his basement. He canned a small bit of the sky, sealed it carefully, placing it in his pantry, for posterity. He stored his collection of dawns in and old cedar chest in the attic amid moth-eaten blankets. He had a bookshelf of genomes, arranged alphabetically next to Mason jars filled with the ashes of victims of each of the genocides of the last five centuries. It was the Greek amphora perched on the mantle that he most prized, waiting for the day when he could look within it and bid good morning to his soul.