Sunday, November 15, 2009

How Many Questions

The electrician, nearing the end of his assignment, conferred with the architect.

"I'm almost done with the wiring", he stated, "I just need to know about the capacity of the unit you're putting in this one."

The architect did a blindingly rapid mental tally - 65 beats per minute, 85 years; factor in some fun, some excitement, some fear.

"3.5 billion heartbeats. That should do."

"One more connection - and - I'm finished." said the journeyman.

"As always, a pleasure doing business with you."

*****

As in almost every design, though, there is a flaw.

It could quite possibly be infinitesimal, and of no real consequence.

Or..

...it might be be an oversight of epic proportion.

This error in judgement may not factor in those extra palpatations that pummel, that pound, while watching the doctor emerge from the operating room and walk down the hall towards her, to tell her of her young son's status.

It may not reflect that adrenalin surge, listening to her violent husband thrash and slam his way, beast-like, through the home they once made together.

Nor the anxiety of knowing she'll be late to pick up her kids at daycare, as her ever-downsizing company asks her to work an extra hour.

It might overlook the stillness of her heart as she sits by a bedside, holding her mother's cooling hand, hoping, willing. Pleading. Straining. So that they can trade beats - that her youthful strength can somehow infuse through translucent flesh and brittle bone and fatigued muscle and time. When it barely beats at all.

And what of the joys, the elations, the bliss? The burbling exuberance that makes her heart swell far beyond its physical boundaries? What about the extra, unexpected pitty-pats of thrall that still start when she hears his key in the door, even after 40 years of marriage? What of the magnificent grandchildren, the treasured friendships, the living history that is family?

What of that contentment, that azure blue calm of reflection at day's end? At life's end?

What of that?

How many heartbeats is one bestowed with?

How many breaths?

How many thoughts?

And why?

7 comments:

Doc said...

What a beautiful and touching picture you paint!

Doc

Not Afraid to Use It said...

If we could truly count heartbeats and breaths, I don't know if we would be more appreciate or squander our time even more. Something to think about.

Titanium said...

Thank you for the moment of silence that ensued after I read this. In that silence, I swear I could hear my own heart beating.

baronessvonb said...

Doc: Thanks; it's quite easy when I'm so inspired by such phenomenal women...

Countess NATUI: I don't know, either.

Countess Ti: It's been a pretty meditative couple of days.

Mental P Mama said...

Wow. Just, wow.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Ditto to all of the above. I love this.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Very powerful. Here lately, the randomness of how many beats are assigned to people baffles me. The dead two year old. The alive and kicking 100 year old. It's not random, I suppose, but it appears that way sometimes.

Great post.

 
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