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.
We are, he is convinced, devolving into verbal neanderthals, losing are ability to recognize the linguistic tools that once set us apart from other species, or at least so we assured ourselves. She knows that what truly sets us apart from other species is the arcane skill we have at being able to convince ourselves that delusion, firmly held, is fact. Still, she cannot disagree with him, simplicity is a too close cousin to inanity, and nuance is the first relative to be cast out. And so with ever fewer words, we seem to have ever more to say, and speaking endlessly, say ever less.
It hardly seems all that long ago when we were immortal, when we measured our days by the number of dares we undertook, each with its own level of stupidity which we took, mistakenly, for courage. We are older now, we would like to think far wiser as well, but the line between truth and illusion is thin and almost impossible to discern. We now measure our days in open rooms with small clusters of neatly arrayed chairs
and the odd table piled with magazines that have faded with time and disuse, occasionally a fish tank where it is hard to tell who is less interested we or the fish, but they, at least, aren’t waiting for the nurse to call us, take our vitals and say in a shocking display of honesty, “the doctor will be with you eventually.”
He sits, suited in black, with 88 keys at his command, and we fall silent. He opens the lock of joy, the lock of sadness, the lock of elation, the lock of tears, the lock of laughter, the lock of darkness, the lock of light, the lock of surprise, the lock of compassion, the lock of love, and we peer through each door, unable to enter fully unable to turn away. As we walk out, we know we have tasted Buddha’s promise truth and we go off in search of the 63,999 remaining Dharma doors.
The Good news about rom-coms is that Hollywood (and occasionally Paris, Lisbon and Madrid, but never Berlin) crank them out endlessly, and each contains that grain or two of truth, like salt rubbed in the wound of a failed first marriage, and the balm of the discovery of true and abiding love. The small pail of rom-com truths is easily carried, sometimes off a too strong wind, but it is never enough to build a dune to hold back the waves of emotion that attend the most fragile and passionate of all human relationships. Yet we sit, smile, and watch hoping that this one’s grain is the one that tips the scale ever so slowly in our favor.
The thing with mirrors is that they always want to tell the truth where we what is lies, or at least a little fibs, some wrinkles smoothed, hair now a color the mirror is more than capable of reflecting, but mirrors don’t bend to our wishes, and when they do, at carnivals mostly, the result varies between horror and hilarity.