I didn’t bother going into the office today. No appointments were slated, and I was nervous that the tool from the steak shop might show.
Instead I went to the house across the street and visited my friend, the scientist Uno Cohen. He is about the age of your father. He lost his wife in the Apocalypse. Out of his three children, he’s only been able to have contact with the daughter who lives in California.
There’s a lot I could say about what it’s like to have the earth populated only by depressed, grieving people. No one alive today is untouched by loss. Uno seems sad, but never flat-out depressed. He’s been studying astronomy, a subject he gave up decades ago but resumed now that night skies have grown so much darker. There’s a small cadre of amateur astronomers who help themselves to the university’s small observatory, where they use the telescope every night it’s clear.
His wife had an ambitious vegetable garden, one that approached the scale of a full-fledged farm. Uno is still savoring canned tomatoes she put up three seasons ago. For lunch, we ate tomato bisque and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.