I went in as soon as I saw the sign. It was a glass blowing studio, eerily empty. The living quarters must have been around back. I examined the myriad pieces, waiting to see who would arrive.
It was Michael I was waiting for. I explained my mission and pulled out my photographs. The first one was of a cremation scene at a temple in Kathmandu. He paused, then continued flipping through the photographs. I asked him to come outside, under the sign. I took a few photos, trying to cajole him into a smile. This was the best I got.
When I was done, I put my camera away and we chatted about the upcoming holidays. He told me it was going to be a tough one: ”my wife of 35 years is about to be cremated. Stage 4 cancer.” I didn’t know what to say. ”Sounds like you had a long time to be together” was the best I could come up with. He told me he wanted to support me but that he didn’t have much; he dug into his pocket and offered three singles. I insisted, but so did he, and I headed along to Phillipsville heavy hearted.