I left, half expecting her to be beside me, but she wasn’t and I found myself alone on a darkened path going toward the harbor. I listened to the sound of my shoes on the cement, sharp and clear and then gone.
There was always death, an expiring, a no longer. The world as only I know it – my memories – all of that done. Then nothing, a stone, dead and gone. Whatever I did, good or bad, it was just some story.
I’ve seen death hanging about lately, mostly in odd faces and dreams. Not Death death. More like vice principal death, the sort that stands there, arms crossed, desperate for attention and has a bad temper.
Anyway, amidst my physical therapy appointments and travel plans, death cropped up in my messages. It wasn’t a surprise, given the many mortality-based messages I’ve opened as of late.
The message from death was better news that I had expected. A room had opened up with a view of the desert. And so I booked that.
A letter from death in Jose Saramago’s 2008 novel Death with Interruptions:
One day you will find out about Death with a capital D, and at that moment, in the unlikely event that she gives you the time of day, you will understand the real difference between the relative and the absolute, between full and empty, between still alive and no longer alive. And when I say real difference, I am referring to something that mere words will never be able to to express, relative, absolute, full, empty, still alive and no longer alive, because, sir, in case you don’t know it, words move, they change from one day to the next, they are unstable as shadows, are themselves shadows.