Q: When you think back to your time on Earth, what are your fondest memories?
A: Well, I always thought it be the cum laude university degree or the Lexus, with its leather seats and ivory-coloured dash. Maybe it’s closing that last-minute deal with Insulcon. Turns out, though, it’s a whole bunch of weird things. The smell of oranges and floor wax the day Judy told me she was pregnant. The feel of Jeremy’s hands over my eyes when he would sit on my shoulders and tell me to “guess who.” The taste of cold fresh water on my ten-year-old tongue from the stream behind our house.
Q: If you could insert one more conversation into your life, a conversation that never happened, how would it begin?
A: “Hello, Dad? There’s something I need to talk to you about…”
Q: What sort of things do you think you left behind you when you went?
A: Some dust on the mantelpiece, a few crumbs in the bottom of the toaster, and some awkward three-chord love songs written in a cabin up north. A shoebox filled with photographs. A dog-eared copy of Great Expectations. Some tomato stains and scribbled notes in the margins of cookbooks. A framed oil-painting of my cat. A shaky videotaped recording of Jane and Jeremy dancing underneath the plum tree in the back yard. A footprint or two, pressed into the wet cement of a sidewalk, filling up with rain. Possibly, an invisible fingerprint or two, here and there.
Q: What do you miss the most?
A: All of the things you can only know by using your senses. Like the taste of blue cheese, the smell of Saturday morning bacon, the sound of Schubert’s String Quartet in G Major, and the way that light reflects off that lake beside Highway No. 5. Oh, and the feeling of fingers running through my hair.
Q: If you could go back again, what sort of things would you do?
A: Read more poems. Listen more carefully. Say yes more often. Learn the Watusi.
Q: Any last musical requests?
A: There’s this song by Joni Mitchell…
Q: The one with the line that goes “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone”?
A: Yeah, that’s the one. Do you have it?
Q: I’ll see what we can do.