By the time Jess is ready to consider a cane, just for the purpose of safe and steady walks with her love by her side, my experimental bandaid-surgery has worn itself down and I am using mine regularly again. She reaches out to ask where to find a good one, and I take too long to answer because somehow I imagine us busy still.
Not this kind of busy.
This kind of busy is for young-ish hearts.
But maybe the day she calls I am working in my garden, and I’ve left the phone inside to charge. Maybe the day I call her back, she is exploring bookstores with her kids.
It’s okay. We have time.
Eventually, we’ll meet for tea.
In this future, there’s a quirky teahouse right in between where we live. Over something nearly healthy, like barley drink, I’ll tell her more than an ordinary person could even bear to hear. I’ll tell her about the Smart Cane, and the one that is Barbie-pink lucite, and the one that folds up into a handbag.
We’ll look over at the people next to us, drinking tall caffeinated drinks decorated with chocolate foam and spirals of sugar.
“That looks delicious.” we’ll say wistfully, but honestly not that wistfully because it wouldn’t be worth it for either of us. By then, we’ll have been poked and prodded so many times that even looking at something that could tamper with our nervous system will feel like a hospital bill.
We’ll laugh about that.
I’ll remind her that she should write a book, or by then, likely– another book.
I’ll tell her I will write the forward if she wants me to.
Title page, copyright page, Table of contents, and a forward— she already has six pages. “The Old Man and the Sea” is only 120 pages long. She’s 5% there.
In this future, we are seated outside. The light halos around her hair like it did when it was young. She still looks so very loved, a glow of protection shimmering along her soft-wrinkled cheekbones. The Southern California sky blooms around her, and echoes itself in the reflection of her glasses. She laughs with all her teeth, and I laugh with all of mine, and this sentence is here because if I’m casting us a spell, I want it to be a toothy one.
I want it to bite and hold on.
The teahouse is almost empty this time of day, and we’ve checked in with all our loved ones, and we have time.
We sip slowly.
We have time.