The old man and the cup.
There was nothing else she had left to do, in her sweet and abandoned life, than to massage away his pain. [And meanwhile, in other lives they found a way to be free.]
They’ve given him six months. Perhaps only three. Or it might be as long as a year, or even two. The lab tests were pretty clear. The disease is spreading and it is too late to intervene.
“I don’t care”, he mutters, as he sweeps the driveway in front of his porch. “Why should I care about anything like life and death when she is… somewhere… somewhere I cannot remember the name of right now. I think I remembered the name of that place earlier today, when I was shaving my face, but now, I am looking for that name everywhere in my mind but I cannot find it in there. I wish I could, but then again what difference would that make. And what difference does anything at all make now? She is gone.”
“In the cave as I wander down and down and down, blindly, having left my sight and my shoes up above, some pieces of dust from the roof fall onto my head, and I brush it all off with my hands, and somewhere far far far below, even further than I have ever gone, I hear the sound of a plane taking off, and something like a waterfall, and the soft tinkle of a temple bell, and I wonder again, how can that be?”
She is never far away. Even now, as he sweeps the driveway with the little broom she bought last year at the Sunday Market in the village, she watches from above. Her tears fall down from the heavens, cascading down like a waterfall and they land on his head and he brushes them off and he seems to hear a sound. She wonders if the doctors will be able to help him after all. She knows she did her best. She massaged his disease into relaxation every day, even before he knew it was in him, causing the indeterminable pain. There was nothing else she had left to do, in her sweet and abandoned life, than to massage away his pain.
And another round of tears falls, and he notices a bird is squawking in the trees above, one of the black parrots he thinks, but when he looks up there is only the sky. And a small cloud is looking like it has come along wanting to rain only on him. She smiles. How can this Darling be left so alone? She wants to come down to care for him, to take the little broom from his hands and tell him to go inside and rest because you are old. But she knows the doctors are right, and she does not have to wait much longer for him to join her up here where they live. And that is OK, that is really ok, that is absolutely perfect. It will all be perfect soon honey she whispers down, and he hears a soft rustle of wind. He knows it must be her. And he does not remember her name.