It happened suddenly. One minute we were together, touching, my hands on his body, as close as always, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, signs of dire distress. It sounded like a heave or a deep sigh. But I heard a click in there somewhere as well. Something more than the whirl of a distant fan. I heard danger. I heard Mac’s finally gasp.
And then, after four years together, nine to ten hours a day, seven days a week, for all 52 weeks of the year – half of those trying to work, the other half simply searching together for answers – it was over.
Lately, he was the first thing I reached for in the morning after my husband, who gets up early, was gone. I pulled him off the table and woke him up from his sleep. I demanded that he bring me the New York Times. That was always the start.
He moved briskly for me from The Huffington Post to Drudge to Andrew Sullivan. He checked my mail at least thirty times a day. He brought me electoral maps. Recipes from Italy. Photos of my youngest son in Argentina. He made music. He made phone calls. He made files and he knew how to organize them by date. And he could find anything in those files. It was all about how you asked. He brought the world to my fingers tips.
Breakfast was our favorite meal. I had tea. Usually yogurt. Always fruit. Sometimes poached eggs. Bacon-extra-crisp twice a week. Good bread with butter from Ireland if I could get it and jam thick with whole berries. He wasn’t a breakfast person. Mac liked to watch me eat. It made him happy. He worried about spills but he didn’t show it.
We got paid for our time together. Together we wrote screenplays. A young adult novel. And twenty-two thousand emails according to the server. We shared…our life. I wept. He was gone, only green herring-bone disk pattern where there once was so much information.
How do you prepare?
You know all things must end, especially all things electronic. But you can’t really back everything up — can you? You can’t keep a spare in your closet, locked and loaded, ready with bookmarks and addresses, files and operating systems right there at your disposal. You have to trust to be in a good relationship. You have to believe in tomorrow. You have to ignore the fading of the keys and the slowing of the turn on. That’s what love is, dammit!
Yes, he could have had more thorough check-ups. I know that now. I blame myself for my part in the whole thing. I took him for granted. I probably could have handled him with more care. I admit that. We traveled and I know he didn’t like that much. The x-ray machine probably scared him. He never mentioned it, but I don’t think he liked having a low battery on the long flights. Who does?
The new one came today.
He’s black. He’s clean and fast – so much faster it’s thrilling. He has better keys. A better memory. He finds things with an ease that is disturbing. He’s quiet and of course, he weighs less.
I miss my old Mac.
But…I’m going to be honest here now—not so much.
Holly Goldberg Sloan is a writer/director of family films. She wrote "Angels in the Outfield,", "Made in America", "The Big Green", "The Crocodile Hunter Movie" and the soon to be finished "Heidi 4 Paws". Cooking, she believes, is like writing. It's good to start with a solid plan, and then be willing to go with the flow.