She sat and cried
Sand between her toes
The surf a tear stained glass of light refractions
She was bleeding out
Skin becoming a translucent white
She had loved
And now she had lost
A coward at sea
He had let himself drift off
Rather than row back from the sea
He knew what was happening
She was stranded
The current was strong
For reasons only a coward would know
He didn’t pick up the oars
Simply refused to row
The boat now his lone companion
A drifting disorganized mess
Letting her slowly
Disappear into the sunset
As she crouched on the beach
A coward no more
She had been found once
She would be found again…
At least that is what he would tell himself
For the rest of his life.
It might be the only thing
That would help him forget
And the oars.
When a soul no longer feels forgiven
When your heart no longer wants to continue living
When it feels that everything you have
Isn’t worth giving
When your footsteps become heavy
And your thinking is petty
When you give your all
Unwilling to take a fall
When head hangs
Under the sting of embarrassment
And you let communications
Meant to forge or maintain connections
When people you should be closest to
Seem like strangers from across foreign waters
Food becomes something that makes you fatter
And heartache is what keeps you from sleeping
Then you will know the plight of man
Things that should have made me happy
Suddenly left me with a suffocating sadness
How many more hugs would I receive from my son?
If I left the stage tomorrow
Would my kids remember me?
How would my family deal with my absence on their life stage?
It had sapped me of the happiness I normally had always carried.
I came to realize there was one mitigating factor
That had helped mortality get its claws in
A rare trip to the doctor coupled with a birthday
The first two decades of my life were about to come to a close
The protection youth had offered me
And slowly started to erode away
It didn’t happen over night
It was a gradual process that allowed for it to slip under my radar
Surprising me like a sucker punch to the gut
I wasn’t ready to die
But I could now see that was going to happen
At some point
In some distant or near future
And I couldn’t know when or how
I would just be another former player
Who left the stage
I would become my dead friend
Whom I think less about everyday
I would become my grandparents
Who are now just a memory that I crafted
To represent who they were to me
I would become a moment in history
One that was quickly forgotten
I was leaving nothing behind that is tangible
Besides me kids
And now I knew that I had destined my kids
To the same cruel fate of our linear existence.
And that depressed me as well.
I saw myself as a kid in them.
And I recognized how quickly I had left childhood
Gone to school
Gotten a job
Married a beautiful woman
And had kids.
It all happened while my youth slowly drained away
Like winter syrup from a Maple
I sank deeper everyday with these thoughts
Thoughts of life
That at first were constructive and philosophical
Became morbid and dark
Saying goodbye to someone for the last time is hard
Saying goodbye to yourself was even harder
And I wasn’t ready
I wanted youth to wrapped its arms around me
To hold me tight and protect me
But it was gone
Leaving behind a note on the counter
That was filled with memories
I didn’t like being reminded that my existence was brief
Why couldn’t we have had a conversation before the change in perspective?
Finally I was told that mortality had never touched me
My health was impeccable
I was just letting fear create more fear
I quietly drew a breath
Even though I had been told it hadn’t happened
It was as if it had happened.
Now I had to take this by the horns
Deal with it the best way possible.
It wouldn’t be easy.
And life would always now be a bit sadder
And far more real.
But I was not alone.
There was not a person on this planet
That did not face the same things
If they had handled it
So could I
I could still feel confidence in knowing I was blessed
Sure I would be gone one day
But while I was here
I was doing some real good
Raising beautiful kids
Lying next to a beautiful woman every night in bed
I knew the one thing I couldn’t do though was forget
I had to remember that feeling of mortality tapping my shoulder
Channel that fear into inspiration
And with that hope and realization I moved forward
I knew now that there would be other times
There would be aches and pains
And I would feel worry
But conquering is a multifaceted response
And my weakness could be my strengths.
A few months ago, mortality tapped me on my shoulder
then left immediately.
As quick as I could turn around, he was gone.
But the lingering touch stayed.
Like icy tentacles that grab unexpectedly at you from a dark hole.
I couldn’t shake the feeling.
Those in the know
Told me I was being foolish
But for me it was the tea leaves in the hands of the diviner.
“Something bad is going to happen, I can feel it deep inside
There are shadows, all around me, Like a bad moon on the rise.”
Lamented one blond haired rocker on the radio.
I hadn’t tasted mortality, but I felt it had visited me briefly.
He knew my address now.
Those around me suddenly turned into players on a stage.
Running through their lines
Until they were suddenly gone.
I saw myself on that stage for the first time
Playing my part
I no longer was the care free audience member
Watching from cheap seats
My unknown fate in life became a living breathing character
Those I loved would be gone one day
Those who loved me would one day say goodbye to me
And that knowledge left me without air
And my heart fluttering like a butterfly in a driving rain storm
Pummeled by the knowledge
I had seen mortality work before
Through accidents, illnesses and deaths
It hadn’t been long since I stood in the sterile emergency room
While my father writhed naked in pain on the table
I had seen alcohol and drugs claim a few
Cancer had also visited and won many times
I was used to life being fragile
Something that was precious
An entity that you were careful to appreciate
But I was untouchable
I attributed it mostly to people with attributed to bad life choices.
Even freak accidents with the odds that seemed impossible.
I was different.
I walked to a different more positive beat.
I was also young.
And youth is the best defense again the hopeless feeling of being out of control.
Free falling to an unknown fate.
I laughed it off at first.
But this new character in my life
Had been written in
He was to play the antagonist
But he ended up breaking through my fourth wall
Exposing and allowing two worlds to collide
And he was ever present
In my relationships with close family and friends
In my thoughts
In the very fabric of my life
I felt changed
A psychological switch had been thrown
A break in my peaceful lifeline