II. Electricity

She spent the power-cuts lighting candles as though she was mourning the death of the electricity.

Archaeologists will call ours the electric age, she said, rightfully we should worship electricity, the way our ancestors worshipped fire.

In the future we will have a language of electricity. Communicate with electric thoughts, amplified and sent down wires. During the power-cuts the whole world will be as still and as silent as though everybody had died.

Her mother had a hearing aid installed yesterday. She says that one by one the doctors will replace her loved ones with electrical appliances.

The back-up generators make the hospital strip lights throb and moan. The light creeps around the room, growling and stuttering, wailing like a wild animal. The ghost of the electricity runs through the hospital wires and those who behold it are sure they have died. They say to themselves, I am in an afterlife with the electricity and I am so sorry for every lamp-light I ever switched off. They say, if I could live again, I would leave the houselights on forever, I would never turn off the plug sockets or the car engine or the electric shower or put down the telephone receiver or let the kettle reach the boil or the alarm clock finish ringing.

She said, you can wait for a change in me forever and it will be like waiting for the lights to switch on when the electricity is off.

You spent the power-cut in the hospital and when you woke up you were sure you had died.

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