Thursday, March 2, 2017

Oh, Of Course

The pen that should go on forever
Of course nothing lasts forever, but I hate to believe that. Having to face it again has me anxious, frustrated, and afraid. 

I drafted the above paragraph with a fountain pen that then leaked all over my hand. I’ll send it to Cross for repair or exchange. This has been my pen for eight years and while I’m frustrated it is broken I’m more upset to be reminded again that things fall apart. 

I want to believe that well-built things will keep going if I’m careful. I search for good value and invest in durability, but also imagine I can find things that refute the facts of life. And of death. 

My leaking pen needs repair. Our cracked cast iron skillet had to be replaced. My dad died and is gone. Other people seem to get that things break down and people die. I hang onto things carefully, hopefully, but time’s passing touches everything and everyone, damn it. 

Years ago, at one of our girls’ birthdays, I was served a piece of beautiful cake my wife had baked and decorated. I had it there on my plate, but Ialso wanted to eat it. You know the saying. I can’t have it both ways, so I ate it. 

My pen could last forever if I just didn’t write with it every day. What the hell good would that be? 

I care for my tools in order to prove myself worthy. Of them. Of myself. Of…something. Being worthy has little to do with possessions, but I go there. My father cared for his tools. They all still work. They will go on working. Just not forever, no matter what I want to believe. 

My pen is going back to Cross. Sending it, I’m reminded I’ve sent it before. The pen isn’t eight years old, only the idea of the pen is. This pen is two years old. The one it replaced lasted three years. And so on. Cross asks on the repair slip if the pen has sentimental value? I answer no because the exchanged pen is an extension of the original. 

If only this process worked with fathers. 

Of course nothing nothing lasts forever, but I keep holding on even while trying to accept endings and goodbyes. I’ll soon have a working pen back. I’ll think of it as my same pen, as though the line is unbroken and stretches across all the pages of time, through all my anxiety, frustration, and fear, on into forever.