They came at night, calling it beautiful, how it “glowed”… storybook. It was fate did it, some said, and I believe they were right. They used all kinds of nice words before leaving and never coming back, unnerved by the strangeness of it, but I knew there was nothing to fear. I had been here to witness it all.
Our worries turned to him when she finally passed. We watched with some alarm as Grandpa held the canning jar to her lips and nose, sealing the openings between them the best his crooked fingers could until her struggling breaths ceased. Ever-so-quickly then he screwed the cap, shutting it so tightly that the rubber washer squeaked with displeasure from the force of it. Then he cradled the thing to his chest as though it were alive, carrying away what he believed to be her, leaving the rest for us to do with what must be done.
I will admit it was odd how you could see the jar on his bed stand in the dark of night. It did not glow of course, how could it, but the glass outline caught every gleam of any vestige of the faintest starlight when all else in the room was blotted by blackness, leaving the impression that the jar was in fact glowing. And every so often he would wake breathless, his bony fingers dousing the gleam as he touched “her” reassuringly, the feel of the familiar, knobbed glass allowing his slow, even breathing to resume.
And how quickly he descended once she was gone. It was only three weeks later that we were gathered around him, holding back tears, offering up our assistance as he used the little strength left in him to press that glass jar to his shaking lips.
At the very end it was I who twisted off the lid, and held the jar’s opening to his face. His eyes flared open one last time when I did. Tired lungs sucked hard at the jar’s mouth and it was done. There were no last words. Those had already been used on her.
We buried him beside her. On a whim I tied the jar between the headstones with a tight string, so that it floated and swayed between them, the jar connecting them in death as their love had in life, glowing between them in the moonlight… well, maybe gleaming, and not glowing.
After all, an empty old canning jar couldn’t possibly glow.