After many years and false starts, I have finally decided upon my epitaph.
It came to me while watching Carole King and James Taylor reminisce on "American Masters" while standing in the foyer of The Troubadour, shuddering in tandem at the thought of returning in another twenty years for a final geezer perspective on the sixties folk scene. We thought as one back then, they mused in unison, but things--even wonderful things--don't last forever. They aren't supposed to. Carole quipped: "I sure don't want to play The Troubadour at 88! That just wouldn't be good."
I imagine drugs had something to do with burning a few bridges and not a few brains. Even Carole and James, in all their stubborn staying power, feel old and tired now, not quite believing they actually did all the things they remember from forty some odd years ago.
No, I am not lamenting the end of the folk scene, nor the Beatles, nor the Eurythmics, nor even Talking Heads. I'm thinking about the notes of my everyday life and the song it has become.
When I felt bored and in a physical rut with this stupid disease, I sought out physical therapy. I've always needed something to push against so I can feel my life. When the exercise got too easy a couple of weeks ago, I demanded more challenge. Bryan, my therapist, a 41-year-old student and ex-factory worker starting a second career as a physical therapist, finds things to challenge me that push me to exhaustion. He wants me to get stronger, to make the foot drop disappear. I know there won't be much of a change, but I love to pretend it will happen and that he, my Lancelot, will help make it true. He holds onto me with a tether attached to a special belt around my waist, keeping me from falling while I struggle to walk toe-to-heel. I like to think that he does this because he truly cares for me. This is a fantasy I find pleasant, as I am a little in love with him. He is attractive, capable, quiet, kind, father of two teenage boys. When I meet men like Bryan, everything is right with the world.
On my days off, I sit all day, fighting sleep. The therapy exhausts me. My husband feels sympathy and admiration for me, fetching tea and bringing me gifts. Last week, he gave me a Kindle with a cute little booklight. I am reading Ben Franklin's autobiography. When I grow bored, I play canasta with my mother and drink coffee for a couple of hours.
This is my life. It isn't what I'd dreamed of at sixteen, or at forty. I'd had plans to become a world class musician, then a world class literary novelist. I managed to become a good musician and a good writer before MS started pulling me onto the sidelines.
I'm getting less and less angry about those dreams crashing and burning. It's a storybook life, really, just not the chapters my ego had hoped to see itself in as the main character.
Oh, right, and my epitaph? "I knew it was too good to last forever."