I’ve had enough of good-byes—I’m switching to see ya laters.
The older I get the more appealing this leave-taking becomes. There are fine lines bracketing my smile, and my hands and throat are somehow growing old without me. Especially my throat; everything is slowly sliding south. It appears to be a convention of ageism to which the rest of me has not been invited.
I am twelve years younger than my mother was when she died. They pumped her full of fluids and nutrients and gave her infinite time to rest. She was fucking foxy when she went.
If you could overlook the missing pieces of jawbone and the tube protruding from the flesh beneath her collarbone, that is.
So while my neck is slipping someone else’s everything is starting to fall.
And fall they will—fall we all will. And I will—or will not—be sitting at this table, newspaper clutched in my hand, when they finally hit. And I may, or may not, press my palms into the table-top to remind myself of the gravity that holds us steady even as the ground around us begins to shake.
(It isn’t bad news that comforts me but the ink that stains my fingers. It reminds me of me of home, of my father, of rituals I have not undertaken in years.)
Giants crumble because everything crumbles. The dead are free; we are the dead but do not know it. The cosmos blinked the day we were born, certainly. But it had nothing to do with us, unless it was to dislodge us from its infinite eye.
A single blink, one, and that is all. But when you are infinite that slow, sweet closing may take up to a hundred years to complete. Or it may take less. Fifty-one is no longer old when you’re perched on the cusp of forty.
Continuity of events is no longer a given. Life is no longer a given—not that it ever was. No, life is an uncontrolled spasm that comes to an abrupt finale whether we are ready for that finale or not.
I do not know if death is the last great adventure. I only know that it is the deepest rest known to humankind (Or is it? I cannot silence the voice that summarizes the kind of strangeness I have seen. Perhaps I should clarify—the idealization of death embodies the notion of silence and stillness and perhaps even peace. But clearly shit can and does go very, very wrong sometimes. Or very, very right, depending…)
And so I sit here, blinking, opening my eyes then closing them again, possibly slaughtering an unfathomable number of entities as I go, an infinite number of parasites that call my flesh home, to whom I am both sustenance and destruction.
Open, close, open. Nourishment, annihilation, back to nourishment once more…
And that is all. That is all. Life and death is the cosmos favourite song on repeat. There are no surprises, except when that inevitable cycle grows personal, when we are seated next to the duck duck goose—and then again when we become the goose ourselves.
I am sitting in that circle now, and one day, as the circle grows smaller, I will be It. And that is all. It will be the mother of all see ya laters—but only for me. That sweet, slow blink will carry on without me, opening and closing with infinite patience, blinking into existence the brand new life-form meant to take my place.