A few months before P died, he and I gave each other identical black video iPods -- he for what would turn out to be our last Christmas together, and I for his final birthday in February. In all the confusion after his death, my iPod disappeared, never to be found, and I ended up using his, which would have made him laugh and say, Maybe now you'll listen to some real rock and roll for a change.
Anyway, his iPod has been playing up a little lately -- having to be restarted, or threatening to make me restore it from iTunes -- so I thought I ought to back his music up on my laptop, since his computer doesn't work anymore and I can't access the original song files. I was transferring away when I hit a certain section of the iPod's library and said, out loud, "Oh no you don't. I will love you until the end of time, but I am not going to use up my hard-drive space on your Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica collections."
But it's Ozzy! How can you not like Ozzy?
"Sorry. No Ozzy."
You're no fun.
"When was I ever? You were the fun one, if you recall."
We're coming up on two years in less than a month, and I can still hear his voice in my head just as clearly as ever. Sometimes I wonder if when I'm ninety and going senile (if indeed I ever do -- my great-grandmother lived to be ninety-three without ever losing a single marble), I'll start to see him too. I can picture myself sitting there on the porch of the retirement home, cheerfully chatting away to an empty chair, with the nurses whispering to visitors, "Poor thing, she thinks she's talking to her husband ... he died young, you know." And no one but me will know that I can really see him there, with his sunglasses and his cargo shorts and his Skechers, and he'll be asking me, So, have you listened to that Metallica playlist yet? You've got to expand your musical horizons ....