In the last few months of his life, P rediscovered the guitar. He'd been playing off and on for more than twenty years, but suddenly his passion for it ignited all over again, and he spent most of his free time downloading tabs and tinkering with his strings and working out tricky chord progressions. Every evening he'd sit down in the old pink TV chair in our bedroom and spend an hour or two or three practicing whatever song he was learning at the moment. One of the very last things he did, less than a week before he died, was to buy an electric guitar on impulse. ("Do you think it was a good buy," he asked anxiously when he called me at work to tell me about it, "or was it goodbye to my money?") Even in his final hours, he was still playing.
A year ago today, he had twenty-seven days left to live. If I had known I only had twenty-seven days left to hear him play the guitar, I would have listened harder, memorized every note, recorded it all to drive out the silence in my future. If I had known that in twenty-seven days I would never see him again, I would have watched him more closely; said and done so many things. If I could have him back for twenty-seven minutes now I'd trade a year of my own life for each one, as easily as throwing pennies down a wishing well.