My life is more nearly perfect now than I ever dared dream it might be. Everything pleases me: The slim fountain pen with which I write, in purple ink, outdoors in the warm evening air, by the light of a couple of wine glasses with tea lights in them, one blue, the other yellow.
I am in my own odd little urban bit of a backyard, a six by fifty strip of concrete others might see as something like a prison exercise yard. But I have a lovely sort of cottage tent set up here to keep me private from any eyes that might appear at the windows in the two long and two short walls that define this space. So in effect I am alone, exposed to the still, warm air but not to any of the others who live very nearby, really, above me to the left and right.
As I say, my life is more nearly perfect now than I ever dared dream it might be. The little things (the purple ink, the tea lights, the privacy of the cottage tent) make it so. But there is a big thing too. My wonderful son is home from school tonight, at the moment stretched out abed reading Dashiell Hammet. It happens that his unscheduled appearance is for a very sad reason: A good friend’s mother died yesterday and he is in town for her funeral. More than that, she was a Cancerlander too, as I am now, though of much longer standing than I.
Nick and I have had amazing talks tonight; amazing talks about the history of religion course he is just finishing, and the extraordinary theologians whose powerful thoughts he has been sifting through; amazing talks about tonight’s episode of that great television work (oxymoron though that seems) Lost, which is full of theology; amazing talks about everything but the funeral he is to go to tomorrow.
His friend’s mother and I are parallel lines, and as such never did or ever would converge — except that we pretty certainly will at least seem to meet, in the far distance, as painters long ago discovered was the entire secret to perspective. The place where those never-really-to-meet lines just look to come together is called the vanishing point.
Even so I say for the third time: My life is more nearly perfect now than I ever dared dream it might be…Cancerland and vanishing point notwithstanding.
So help me.