Monday, May 01, 2006
A Brief Conversation With Death
If one takes a certain drug each day to help register amounts of seratonin in one's brain, and then stops taking this drug for a number of days (because of forgetfulness or outright negligence), one runs the risk of having to face the world as is--without that extra artificial happiness, that extra imbibe of what other people take for granted. And when one faces the world as is, one must have a conversation with Death.

That one person whom I refer is myself: Elizabeth Anne. Not Fritz. Elizabeth Anne.

Elizabeth Anne is outside, having a cigarette, while Michael slumbers, and she can see him through the window, his chest rising and falling silently. There are windchimes on the balcony; the wind is coming in little,distinct exhalations, and only one chime is being struck, over and over, like a bell signaling a coming or going. Elizabeth Anne is fighting back tears as she watches Michael breathe in and out, as the chime rings again and again.

People die all the time. People have died today. You did not know them. They died in car crashes, or they were murdered, or they were blown to bits in a far-off country. Some died in hospitals, some died at home. Some died alone, clutching their chests or their heads. Some committed suicide. Some died of loneliness. But Elizabeth Anne knows one thing for sure: one day, she, too, will die.

What will it be like? Will it hurt? Will she cry? Or, will she simply let go, and float into nothing like a vacating bird from its nest?

Will she be missed?

Elizabeth Anne wonders these things, and mourns a little bit for herself, because she knows that all her life, as she comes and goes and pays bills and calls friends and dreams her dreams, she knows behind all of these doors and options, there is only one final answer, and the answer is: Death.

Michael snores a little bit, and Elizabeth Anne hears him through the screen. One day, he will also die. This hurts more than any kind of death Elizabeth Anne can imagine.

Once, when Elizabeth Anne was ten, she started to cry as she watched her mother apply lipstick in the bathroom.
"What is it?" her mother asked.
"You're going to die!" Elizabeth Anne said, weeping.
"Shhhh," her mother said, wrapping her arms around her child, "Hush. I am not going to die for a very long time."
And this made Elizabeth Anne feel a little bit better, but not much, because the imminent fact was still true. And this fact still scares Elizabeth Anne very much.

One day, our loved ones will die. It is something we do not always think about. When Michael tells Elizabeth Anne each morning, "I'm going, now. I love you," Elizabeth Anne does not always wake up. What if Michael does not come home? Does that mean his last words were never heard? Will he know how much he will be missed? Does Elizabeth Anne understand what those last words will mean if he dies?

She wonders if this is something one discusses openly. Is it kosher to ponder death?

Mostly, she hurts for herself. To think! One day, her mother and father will die. Then, her husband. Perhaps, a child. Definitely a best friend. Maybe someone who attends aerobics with her. Certainly, herself.

As she puts out the cigarette, she realizes one thing is true: it isn't death she fears. It is being forgotten that hurts the most. It is forgetting that proves the greatest pain. How one would smell, or feel. The wrinkles on Michael's face, or that mole on his neck. They could become cloudy, and then--poof! disappear from her memory, all together. Gone. What about the timbre of his voice, or his jokes? What about how he always asks where the toenail clippers have got to, because Elizabeth Anne moves them all the time? Would these things be forgotten?

What about Elizabeth Anne? Would she be remembered, or liked, or falsely adored? Is that important? When a sparrow falls from its flight, and plummets to the ground, is it mourned?
Is a hymn put forth for its demise, or do we blithely step around its shattered wings?

Elizabeth Anne cannot help but cry, and listen to the chime and the sound of Michael's breath, and after a time, she goes inside, and dims the lights, and wraps herself about Michael's back, and listens to the surf of his lungs that holds him to the Earth, and she is just so very thankful that she has this day, and this timid time with her beloved.

Because one day, she will not have him, and that day shall be the day that all the sparrows fall from the heavens.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

Location: Detroit Rock City!
Where the weak are killed and eaten

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    What I Live By:
    We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always— A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one. -T.S. Eliot "Little Gidding"

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