Standing in the hospital atrium watching them building a condo complex up the street. Twenty-four units, two bedrooms each, a common rec hall, pool, and plenty of parking. Probably for a moderate price, but not finished yet, all still vacant.
Musing, we could downsize, it’d be all we’d need. The Post Office is two doors down, an Italian Deli next to that. The metro bus stops right out front. And our friends gather at Halligan’s Tavern, two blocks away, every Wednesday night.
During this long sweet journey with my mate, sometimes I’ve wondered what it’d be like to be single again. Fifty-five years ago I did pretty well. I moved to a new job and town every year or two. No obligations or significant debt to speak of. Freedom! Now, the opportunities would be even better… if I were twenty-two.
There will be a temporary vacancy in my life. Hopefully, very short. But, I have to relearn to cook for one, shop for one, and do the wash for one. Our house is too big for one.
But, I didn’t wish it. Last month that prospect of a new single life became real. A CAT scan showed a tumor has moved into the high cost real estate area deep in my wife’s brain, where her memory, senses, and personality reside.
Surgery is required, or there could be a permanent vacancy in my life. But worst, would be if her body remained, while her self went missing.
She was thinking of that last month. No one can predict the future with any certainty. So, she wanted a party before her trip to the O-R. It was to be a celebration of the fifty years we’ve had… and not of expectations for things to come. If she was to drift into catatonia, she wanted our friends to remember her as alive and bubbling with life.
Yesterday… we had that party. This morning, I kissed her hand and gave her to the surgeon. Today, as I wander these halls, I feel like Schrodinger’s cat, alive and dead at the same time. By evening, if she comes back as the herself I’ve always known, joy will fill me.
But if only some of her comes back… tonight, when I hold her hand again, will I be… alone?