Posted on Dec 11th, 2009 by martha
After Mike left, the house was quiet for 236 days.
All the stereo stuff, the TVs, the computer, everything, were his. The rest of us bought our own computers just to get access. Not by decree, but by a silent occupation of spaces and dimensions--the way we know in a family what is ours and what is not--our way of life was established.
I used to wish--I mean, just wish, for a day without the yimmer-yammer of the TVTVTV and the boom ba boom blam blam of the radio. But it wasn't just entertainment for him, it was needful--deeply, internally needful, so the music machines stayed on until the day he died. And then the house was silent.
Everyone left it silent. We all knew the machines should be on, and we left them off. We sat and talked, played with iphones, watched a movie once in awhile.
I really needed the silence. Something internal to me, for a long time, had needed this lack of sound, and I bathed in it. Luxuriously I yielded like it was warm water, and it was making love to my body. Day after day after day I felt the sadness of no-tomorrows goodbyes and gratitude for the peace and quiet.
Today I was peeling potatoes, and I thought maybe a little music might be nice. I went to get my cell phone, found the name "Mike" in the directory and pushed 'delete.' "Do you really want to delete Mike?" the phone asked innocently. "God! How STOOPID technology really IS!" I protested in my heart. No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! I was still breathing so I hit the delete button, put the phone back in my purse, and walked to the stereo.
First, you have to get a butter knife from the kitchen to pry the glass door open with. [check] Then you have to decide which black box is the radio receiver. [check] Then, you have to turn it on. [check] Then you have to find out how to make it do the radio function... ANDTHENMUSICBLAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSTTTTTTIIIIINNNNGGGGOMGITSSOLOUDTOO LOUDGAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (turn it down [check])
It was still set to about 10,000 decibels. It was set there by his hand. Nobody else would set it so high. And I had turned it down. That was really sad. We pass through this life, we move stuff around. We put this here and that there. We DID something in the world, and then some asshole comes along and undoes it, and it will never, ever be that way again. The little, little things that we do. You could say we do "precious little", or you could say that the little things we do can be precious.
It was probably set that way on the last Sunday where he went out to sit on the back porch to watch me work in the yard. (I know that sounds a little odd, but remember he wasn't well.) I don't mind stuff like that. I will work for you. I will give you whatever you need. But who watches me work? Who thinks of me and cares for me? Whose eyes are at my side, full of love? Nobody's now.
Turning the radio down made that last day be over.
I changed the station to one that we both liked, and I began to peel the potatoes.