Friday, October 09, 2020

Picture This

PICTURE a little elk figurine. The figurine is about the size of your ring finger and fits easily into the palm of your hand. It was bought in a store like Hallmark and is made of relatively cheap ceramic. 

Picture this little elk standing atop a chest of drawers. Can you see it there, among the wireless landline phone, the decorative glass bottle and the eyeglass case? 

Now imagine me accidentally bumping into the chest of drawers and making the figurine fall. 

Imagine you saying, "Oh, no!" and me saying, "What? Did something fall? I'm sure everything's fine."

Imagine you searching the ground, only to discover that everything is not fine, that one of the elk's little antlers has broken off. 

Imagine me saying, "I'm sorry," and you saying, "It's OK." Imagine running your finger over the area where the antler broke off. This part of the elk now feels rough, right?  

Imagine me kissing you on your forehead because I broke your figurine. Imagine us discussing a better place to put the tchotchke. Imagine you again saying it's OK that I broke your figurine and me saying, "Poor little elk." Again, imagine that silly looking thing, now with one antler.

NOW imagine that I've died. Imagine two weeks have passed since you got the awful news. Perhaps my death has made you a little more introspective and a little more sensitive to the fragility of life, and you decide that you are going to write a letter to your estranged sister. Imagine it's a Sunday afternoon when you decide to write this letter, and you've sat down at your desk and the moment you put pencil to paper, the tip of the pencil breaks. You reach into your desk drawer for a sharpener and there isn't one there, so you get up and go to your chest of drawers to get one, and just as you approach the chest, you see it—the elk figurine with the broken antler. Can you imagine picking the object up? Can you imagine running your finger over the rough, chipped ceramic? Do you feel the weight of the figurine? It's not heavy. 

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