Today as he woke up—the birds were chirping just outside the window. One tree seemed to be filled with birds, perhaps the flowers on this tree were the ones, which were just right. The birds picked up a “just right feeling” faster than we did.
He stood up, his foot fitting carefully into the slipper. It felt comfortable, worn out, but comfortable. When the birds moved along the branches, it seemed like they were coming closer to their house.
Last night, their dinner lay cold on the table. “What can I do better?” she asked, her soft brown hair, matching her light brown eyes which looked down at the table now. “It isn’t you sweetie,” his skinny legs hit against the table.
Their raised voices and her tears were somewhere on the table. Layer upon layer, the table’s wood carried the imprints of their voices and their wine glasses– Tuesday evenings, and their laughter after a day. Wednesday evenings the chicken burnt a bit of the top layer, their murmurs of conversation—children and a brother on speaker phone from far off places. The table carried their years together. The table creaked under the weight of her arms, as she folded them on the table.
“Did you hear the birds this morning?” she said, “they love this weather. I think I saw a red sparrow.” Every season she marked their time—with noticing the birds, he loved the calming way she noticed, and how she somehow would know the names as well.
He loved to watch her. His eyes followed her even to her small office in their apartment these days. Her face down to the page, her eyes sometimes looking up into the window, the birds sometimes falling down to the feeder she left out for the birds this Spring. He loved to watch as she lifted her head to find that word. Her writing danced in front of them, keeping them company in the darkness of the illness. The illness was all around them. In the print outs strewn across the counters, and empty pill bottles on the counters. Sometimes she would bring out her writing, and they would move the print outs over.
“Did you write anything today?” he asked, moving his shoulders up—the pain in them moving towards the back and then suddenly back into the shoulders.
“Yea—, a chapter about a husband who refuses to eat the soup he’s given by his lovely wife.” They laughed looking at the untouched soup on the table in front of them.
Some nights he would sit next to her as she typed on her computer. She would click and click, passing through the hours with more and more clicks. He liked how the clicks felt like they were creating something here. Many of the things in his life were disappearing and deteriorating. With all this creating he could counteract the deteriorating.
They moved over to the couch. He lay with his head on the pillow, he pushed his legs onto hers as well. She grabbed her laptop and put it on her lap next to him.
“Let’s write,” she said. He liked how she said, “Let’s” when they both knew, she was writing and he was resting his head on the pillow. She was moving on to the next line, and to the next word and he wouldn’t be.
Her typing tried to bring both of them, sweep them both up in the art, and the hope of a book or of a life that continued. Sometimes he believed it, and sometimes he didn’t. But with her click click, they had some control and they had some chance.
“I think James should like skate boarding,” he said, whispering to her, his voice just a tiny bit louder than the click of the keys.
“You got it,” she said—her click moving faster now.