In the foyer of the Toronto Western Hospital, a woman slightly past middle-age pushed a man in a wheelchair.
It’s was her son, I think.
They had the same eyes.
He was staring through things, his eyes fixed on some invisible, stabilizing horizon off in the distance. His knees were trembling, and it seemed like it was taking all his energy and concentration just to be out of bed and sitting in a chair. He wore tiger-striped pajama bottoms that looked like they were bought by somebody who loved him, somebody who wanted to add a little spark to his long hospital stay. And as the woman pushed him by the assembled strangers who cluttered the hospital, she reached out and touched his hair, letting her hand fall to his face where she caressed, and then cupped his cheek. I’m not sure that he noticed, or even if he was able to respond if he had, but it didn’t matter. She loved him for eternity, through all fires. He belonged to her, he would always belong to her, and she touched him with such tenderness and heartbreak, such solitude, that this small, personal moment became something transcendent. As if phosphorescent, it hung there, suspended for a moment or two before receding and returning us to the day.