It was the first time that I'd seen an eclipse since the day my father died, eight years and change ago.
I remember a lot of things about that day; a lot of detached moments. I remember telling him I loved him, one last time, on the phone at about 2am that morning. I remember sitting in the last exam of the year, about 10am. The professor was somewhat surprised I was there; my dad was faculty, and news travels fast when people are looking out for you. But I took the exam -- it wouldn't have made sense not to, since it was mostly math and that part of my brain wasn't having to deal with processing, and the part of my brain that was processing probably figured it was as good a way as any to honor him. I don't remember if I thought of that then, or if I simply went because it was what was left of the world. Or simply went because it was there.
I remember, in the professor's office lobby after I finished -- 20 minutes was all it took -- watching a computer screen with a gray circle (for the moon) and a yellow circle (for the sun) on it, and white lines for the paths.
I remember, a little while later, standing outside the building with some of the machine-shop staff, looking at the sun through a welders' mask, and seeing it as a green crescent. I vaguely remember it being somewhat darker than normal; it seemed an appropriate irony.
I remember the street fair downtown, which we went to to be able to be distracted. I remember the bowls of homemade vanilla ice cream with ripe strawberries on top.
I hadn't thought, until now, how appropriate the strawberries were; I remember, a scant month at best before, my mother and I going to a grocery store in the first floor of a New York highrise a few blocks from the hospital -- the best lung-cancer surgery hospital in the country, and even their best wasn't enough, although it came so very close -- to buy a cake, a white cake covered in strawberry slices, for the last wedding anniversary they would have together.
I don't remember much more of the day, though. It sits in memory as not being real; a place where time didn't happen; a place that wasn't part of this timeline.
Eight years, it's been. Things fade, tears go away, life goes on, the sun still shines. But the tears are still there, on that day, and they come back with memory; timeless is as timeless does.
And I give thanks, for the time I did have with him.