The last swallow of coffee is cold but, surprisingly, energizing. I look at my cup and wonder how I could have let that little bit of coffee sit, unattended and unswallowed, for so long. Ah, I know. I was writing a message to someone, a message I hoped would convey a sense of wonder and appreciation, without going over the top; I wanted to write a heartfelt message comparable to one that might be delivered in a contemporary play, as opposed to a telenovela. In the end, I don’t know whether my message succeeded. It is now pointless to worry; the message, now sent, cannot be retrieved for a do-over.
As I wrote the message, I reflected on a poem I heard read yesterday, a prose poem evoking the emotional connections we have to the voices of our loved ones and the little things we do to keep those voices close and available, we hope, for our lifetimes. I considered, this morning, whether I have recordings of the voices of my wife, my sister and brothers, other family members, my friends. I realized I do not. That is an oversight of extraordinary proportions; I intend to fix that by asking the people who matter to me to record something I can keep, safely protected and backed up in electronic files.
It may seem unnecessarily sentimental, even maudlin, to plan for the comfort of hearing voices that, one day, may no longer be spoken. So be it. I can be sloppily sentimental with the best of them. Yesterday, hearing of the irretrievable loss of voices recorded on an answering machine really hit home. I’ve thought of it before, but something about yesterday’s poem instilled in me a sense of urgency to get the recordings made.
Now, the time is ripe for another cup of fresh, hot, delightfully strong coffee. My back has improved enough, I think, that I’ll be comfortable returning to my regimen of walking tomorrow. As of this morning, I’m down exactly fourteen pounds from the first of the year; if that doesn’t warrant a celebratory cup of coffee and an excited return to walkery, I don’t know what does.