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An army of one.

Updated: Mar 29, 2020

Maybe its the conversation with an older single friend. Maybe its because my single brother is about to be married. Maybe its the realization that I’m old enough that I should write a will and appoint an executor. Maybe it's the global pandemic. Today, I’m sitting and thinking about being single and what that means if I’m gravely ill. It might be unreasonable? Shortsighted? Mad? not to think about my mortality when news of the moment, every moment is bombarding us with the number count, up-ticking daily, pointing always to the fact of our transience. It’s not death that bothers me. That I’m comfortable with. At that moot point its everyone else to ketch. Quite looking forward to what happens next. if this series of bifurcating events chained along a timeline making up a life is what it is then the other, many worlds - gotta love the quantum physics of it, are bound to be at a bare minimum, interesting. And, I have a couple energetic signatures I have a good cussing for, dead to dead.

So yeah, death, no prob. Know the neighbourhood. When one sis was leaving for school, we did a last-minute thing, though she didst protest, truly. Knowing how things can take a turn from two people last minute to, whole-a-Gasparillo, next minute, I ordered a tent. A neighbour - Mr Joe’s Aunt, never knew her name, always just Mr Joe’s Aunt, en route to some daily duty, saw said tent, crossed the street, hand on heart, to ask “who dead now” who it have? We’ve buried many folks we loved.

Life is different after you’ve seen people you’d like to think you’d switch places with move past life into the liminal space at death’s edge and then sail off. It's a palpable thing, the not-quite-here. It hangs in the air like the scent of a baby. Distinct as the smell of a seashore.

Maybe it's only reasonable now to ask, what if? Ideologies and impossibilities are being tossed, policies irrelevant in a finger-snap, borders closed, normal upended. So many useless just-becauses. Useless as anything we’ve invented to stem the tide of something unconcerned by our stated dominion.

It’s illness I worry about. What happens if I’m ill. A single person. A person without a person. When your care becomes an act of love or duty outside of what is normal or expected or paid for. What happens if I become a burden?

Caring for someone gravely ill is a task best undertaken by a small army and troops behind that supporting the front-line. It is perforce an overwhelming, unreasonable thing. To expect the strength of a promise of presence in sickness and in health to hold in the face of that is another unreasonable overwhelming thing, but life itself is something, unreasonable, overwhelming.

I don't have an answer, only questions and thanks for today. The sound of the bird calling from the guava tree, the occasional crash of mangoes onto the roof, a child in the yard next door calling in an unbroken treble to his dog, Blue.


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