I have an image. A handful of brightly colored glass scattered on a wooden surface. Pottery shards, maybe, only the image isn’t of brokenness. Marbles, I think. Or beads. This one is graduation, that one our wedding day. One is Joseph. One is M. Several have the dusk blue glint that is A.

They are pieces of my life that were once strung together. But now there is no binding thread. There is no causality. No Joseph-is-gone-so-M-is-here. No this-is-what-was-meant-to-be.

*            *            *

In physics we learned about billiard balls. How to gauge the angle, line up the shot. How when one ball hits the other, the energy is transferred. In an instant, the cue ball stops and the other ball is propelled… forward, sideways, at a slant.

In college I learned from my Buddhism professor that this is an image for reincarnation. That one life stops and another begins, and it is this—not that person, not that individual, but, say, the energy—that transfers from one life to the next.

I think about this now, not because I believe in reincarnation, but because this is the before and after of Joseph. I am two completely separate billiard balls, with some source of shared momentum.

*            *            * 

I wonder if this is what they mean by living in the moment.

I do not look for signs. I do not analyze cause and effect. There is no divine plan, no tapestry of Fate.

Just this handful of precious moments, beloved people. A collection of me. 


I can't stop thinking about this before and after. What parts of me have carried over. What is fundamentally different. 

Who are you now?