I’d like to cross over here. Kennebec River. The Forks, Maine.
Photo Credit: Will Pennington
What if we knew when we would die?
I guess that’s everything.
Are you sure? You haven’t forgotten anything? Let’s run through the checklist again.
No. I’ve treble-checked it. If I have forgotten something, I won’t need it where I’m going.
What if you get lost?
Get lost? I hardly think that’s possible.
You could always end up where you don’t want to be.
…Where do you want to be?
It doesn’t matter. At this point there isn’t much I can do about it. I just don’t want to be here.…
Hey, What time is it?
Can’t you feel it?
Uh, no. Should I?
I don’t know. I’ve always heard people “feel” the approach of the time.
I do have a sense of “the” time, but I still like to know what the actual time is; how much time I have left.
Actually, you know, I feel like a Lemming. I know the cliff’s just up ahead, and I feel it pulling me. I can’t resist it, and I don’t want to go, but it’s inevitable. We all know that. I don’t want to just sit around and wait. I want to meet it head on.
Yeah. I know.
Anyway, how are you getting there?
I have this feeling I should just start walking and see where my feet take me.
I guess that’s as good a plan as any.
Have you been with anyone else who’s left?
No. It’s kind of personal. I think most folks want to go it alone unless it’s a group deal.
Yeah. I considered that, but you and I have been together since we were four. It wouldn’t seem right for you not to see me off.
We’ve been through a lot, haven’t we? Remember when I busted my lip on the trampoline at summer camp?
Haha. Yeah. Remember how you screamed when you thought Charlie Glock was going to put stitches in your lip?
Do I? I was terrified. All I could think of was poor Philip Owens getting his tongue stitched when he got clobbered while roller skating.
Yeah. Eddie told me it took three people to hold him down.
Eww, yuck. Let’s change the subject.
I’m going to miss you, you know.
Oh, honey. I’ll miss you too. I’ll miss you so much.
We’ll see each other again. It’s only a matter of time.
But will you know me? Will I know you?
I don’t know. I can’t imagine there’s that much change in a person.
Physically? Spiritually? There must be some change.
Why? Does it bother you that much? Why fret about it, dear; there’s nothing we can do about it. Everything is prearranged and settled. We all go through the same thing.
Remember Benny? The kid in Mr. Bass’ homeroom? His whole family went at the same time. All but him. Poor kid. Left behind. Had to go live with that nasty aunt in Oklahoma.
Yeah. But she got hers. It was messy. Took forever to end. I shudder to think anyone could go through that.
The uncle didn’t deserve it. Benny always said he was a great guy. Thought he was marrying an angel, got an emotional cannibal instead.
She deserved it. I guess. I don’t know.
We’re lucky. We got to be there when our folks left.
I think the tension would get to me. I’d go mad wondering exactly how. Exactly when.
Exactly when? Everyone eventually knows when. As I said, you’ll feel it.
When the time comes, I think I’ll just lie in bed and wait for it.
Most people do.
You’ve got big balls for an old goat.
Oh, I don’t know about that. Once you find out, at least with me, and see the inevitability, you just kind of give in. Resign yourself to it. Calm acceptance seems to be part of the process. I couldn’t resist if I wanted to.
But you said a minute ago you don’t want to go.
I don’t, really. I mean, I’d like to hike Old Speck with you again, visit Spain, visit Italy and see the David statue and the Pietà. Travel out West. See the Alps one more time. But the desire to remain here is less than the pull to move on. My time is up. My ticket’s punched. The boat leaves soon and I don’t want to miss it.
The adventure continues but on another…plane, I guess you could call it. You’ll feel the same way. Only a very few go kicking and screaming; usually the ones with a screw loose.
That’ll be me.
No, dear. You’ll feel the same way I do. I “feel” that. We’ll meet again.
Are you sure there’s something after this?
I can’t imagine it would be this way if it all ended when our clock stops. I’ve always felt there was something waiting for us. We’re not here by accident, you know. A cosmic collision may have led to this point, but I’ve always believed we’re here by design. It can’t just end in blackness and oblivion.
I’ve saved a good bottle of Bourbon to bring on oblivion.
Don’t say that! What if you end up in the other place!
Well. There is a slim chance, I suppose. I was a Sailor after all.
Charon will be right along. Enjoy the view while you wait.
Damariscotta River, Dodge Point Reserve, Damariscotta, Maine.
Photo Credit: Will Pennington