"Hello, Mrs. Backs, I've been looking for you. I like what you've done with your desk, have you got a minute?"
"The Boardroom right?"
"No, no. Here is fine. I really like these black and whites, did you take these shots?"
"Yeah, yeah I did. Years ago now. This is my favourite one here. The way the edges of that old brick factory are glowing, it reminds me of pipe cleaners or something. I love the broken windows too. That one there, over that door is actually stained glass. And you see that, that's a guy in there, probably a squatter or something. It's like he's staring right at me, but I don't think he knew I was taking the shot."
"Indeed, he looks like he's thinking about his next step. It's got sort of an emerald tinge to it; how did you do that."
"Oh that, right, yeah. It was black and white film but I developed it on colour paper. It tends to do that. Anyway, you wanted to see me about something?"
"Yes Treice. We're concerned that you're not really staying on task here; you're a little distracted and I'd like to get you back on track."
"What do you mean? Are you talking about the garden? I did the garden. I've got the wheatgrass sprouting and there are already four or five trays growing. The buckwheat grouts and the sunflowers are sprouting too. I did the arugula, the kale, the spinach, the peas, the celery and the cucumber. Am I missing something?"
"The garden is quite beautiful Treice, you've really found something that you believe in and I'm so impressed. It's not about that though Treice, it's that file, you know the DW file."
"Which DW file?"
"The DW 05 07 08 file. The one you're sitting on right now. The one you've been obsessed with all week. The one that's dirty because you've been reading it in the garden."
"Oh, THAT DW file, this one you mean, this one right here, the one I'm sitting on, yes. Do you need it? Here you go..."
"Look Treice, why are you so obsessed with this, why does it interest you? Your situation is totally different than his, totally different, you know that don't you?"
"So you too eh? No, I don't know that and I don't believe that. You think our situations are totally different. How do you know that?"
"Well I know that because he worked here, he worked here at the Hammer and the Healer, you know that."
"So what if I die? What will we be then?
"What are you talking about, what do you mean?"
"I mean everyone keeps saying that my situation is totally different than his and I don't see it that way. Now everyone says we're different but If I die, everyone will say we were the same.
It's like this: 'Oh, those two, right, what did they have? They had cancer. or 'Oh those two, right, what did they die of? Oh, they died of cancer' You see, the same situation!"
"But you're not dead Mrs. Backs."
"No, I'm not. But you must know, our situations are the same. He was my only friend who truly understood me. He was loyal in a way that none of my friends can be now. He knew precisely what I felt and why I felt it and how it felt. He's the only one in my group who actually knew, word for word, heartbeat for heartbeat, sweat bead for sweat bead, tear drop for tear drop what my relationship with death was like. He met me in the black hole, we danced there."
"I saw you guys in the Meditation Room a couple times Treice, but you hardly talked to him, I never saw you guys talking."
"We didn't have to. Even a stranger with cancer is a soul mate."
"Wow. Oh, the other thing I wanted to talk to you about. You seem to be on-line all the time. We don't really operate like that around here. You've missed your meditation sessions and your walks and your garden will suffer if you keep this up. Does this have something to do with you searching for soul mates?"
"Well, while I don't wish cancer on any of my friends....it sure would be nice...."
"I know, I know. Cancer joke. Bad one. Look, there are thousands of people on-line with cancer. I've made friends with them. They help me through the those minutes when I'm on my knees, they help me in my hours of sorrow, and the know about the days that I cannot define. They're holding on to the same bridge, they've been walking around with the same gun to their head."
"But they're in England and Russia and Australia."
"But they know."
I miss you Dave Watson. Thank you for your sturdy fight.