It begins with all the perfumes that pass for summer in his more peaceful years: diesel rising off the roads, figs going over in their bowl, synthetic coconut from my warm skin. In the garden the upturned bowls of the peonies fill with rain, which falls with the necessary urgency. From my vantage point in the treehouse I watch how under the wide dark sky the garden forms itself into a bowl of light. From his chair on the porch he can hear me pulling the great powerful note from the Tibetan singing bowl until the Gods are thoroughly summoned and all world is choir. Rapture, rather.
I suppose we'd sometimes argue. In the operatic way. But I cannot recall what we said. Our words fall still among the other sounds. He wears a little silver bell so that wherever he is in his dark hours, I can find him. We keep inventing precious times together. Behind him, on the white shelf are three shiny black bowls each with a silver sign - the name of a God, the breath of creation, a widow's prayer. We are not permitted to touch these bowls. We must pass them by, he says, dipping his fingers int the water. And as soon as he is gone indoors, I do, touch each of them in quick succession. And just this once, the familiar world averts its gaze and will not notice. And this is how it begins.