I don't know what to do about the trees.
I'm actually a little angry at them.
Damn. Damn. Trees.
You see for the past 'forever' they've been beautifying Bloor Street down in my part of town. They've been advertising 'forever' about putting in trees and tree houses. Well, the warm weather is here and today, when leaving the mall, I saw the first tree planted on the street. There were several locals around and a few applauded the arrival of our leafy neighbours. I didn't applaud.
I'm not anti tree.
I love trees.
But then, so does Tessa. We've often waxed poetic about how green, for a big city, Toronto was. We each live on the same floor of a huge high rise - but our floor is low enough for us both to see trees growing out our windows. She to the north. We to the south. We've been anticipating the trees for a very long time. And now they are here.
But Tessa doesn't live here anymore.
Yes, her apartment is still across the hall. Yes, it's still full of her stuff. But no, the cat is gone and the place is quiet. We never hear faint strains of classical music, or smell the smoke of another burned meal, no, not any more.
We arrived in New York knowing that Tessa had a doctor's appointment and that she was experiencing a lot of pain. Everyone, Tessa included, thought that it was another step in the journey she was on, but just a step. It wasn't. We were called early on Tuesday morning by Tessa, who keeps the same weird hours we do, to be told that there were serious complications and that she had, perhaps, three days left. She wanted to say goodbye in person - thinking that we'd not see her. But doctor's are terrible at predicting life, or maybe, the strength of life, left in someone. She's still here.
On Friday, before I fell desperately ill, we made it down to the palliative care unit and found her surrounded by flowers and cards and evidence of a long line of visitors. We chatted. She wanted to talk about her absence from the routines and rituals of our lives as friends. We didn't. But we did. I, like everyone else, have a cultural aversion to talk of death, even when surrounded by it. However, it's her conversation to have, and she should have it. It was, after begun, kind of freeing to be able to speak of the unspeakable. But gradually as things do, she moved on to topics of greater concern. Like the butt on the guy who does physio. "The old girl's not dead yet,' she stated after a lusty laugh.
I have not visited with Joe over the last few days. I think bringing an illness into a palliative care unit to be a tad, um, selfish. However, I feel like I can go tomorrow. I'm still weak. I'm still recovering. But I'm better. And I want to go visit my friend. I had the visit all planned.
I saw the trees.
Trees that Tessa will never live to see.
Trees that we've talked about.
Trees that we've waited for.
Damn, damn, trees.
Do I tell her about the trees? Will it make her happy to know that her beloved neighbourhood has welcomed these new residents? Will it make her desperately sad that she will never see the trees that she has waited for? Will she want to know? Would she rather simply not? Life goes on. She knows that. But so quickly?
I'm really, really angry at the trees.