I Died Last Night
The End Is Here
Death came quietly in the night for me. Silently I packed my bags and said farewell to the life I have known for sixty-five years.
There was no pain so do not worry yourselves over that. This magnificent machine that I had ridden finally stopped working, an eventuality we all must face. The inhales and exhales diminished in number, and finally reached zero, and off I trundled to the hereafter.
With backpack slung over my shoulder, and with one foot in the tunnel of light, I looked back and watched a documentary of my life. It was enlightening to say the least, and if you don’t mind, I would like to share it with you. It won’t take long, for our lives are just a flash when measured against time, so kick back, get comfortable, and let me share my last vision.
The Pinball Machine of Youth
Our ball settles into the groove and the spring launcher propels us on our way, to and fro, out of control and hurtling toward our destiny.
Wherever we turn there are bumpers, flippers, kickers and slingshots. We aim for targets and miss. We aim for targets and strike gold. Holes and saucers, spinners and rollovers, switches, gates and stoppers, all there to provide challenges and teach lessons on an adrenaline rush that promises to never end.
Are we ever truly in control as a child? I doubt that I was, for the world, and life in general, constantly pressed the buttons, flipped those flippers, and kept me challenged and energized day in, day out, 24/7 and 365. Do this, don’t do that, learn by trial, error, pain and joy, but learn we must or we’ll be spit out, ground up, and end up a footnote, a small notation on the last page of life’s bibliography.
There were few responsibilities those early years. Get up, learn from parents, go to school, get decent grades, take care of chores, keep my nose clean and my hand out of the cookie jar, basic stuff we all learn, seemingly unimportant, but really quite crucial as building blocks for the future.
Love you mom, love you dad, pass the potatoes and praise the Lord, moving up the ladder to fame, fortune, and the inevitable fall from grace.
The Bullriding Wanderlust of the Young Adult
Man alive that bull could shake, rattle and roll. When did I ever sleep? When did I ever take the time to ask the important questions? Too much to do for silliness such as who am I and where am I going; it was just balls to the wall, one adventure after another, flying low under the radar and hoping the sonic boom didn’t bust any windows.
We have to pay the piper at some point, but early adulthood is for fun, fun, fun now that daddy took the T-bird away, and rock me gently, rock me slowly, take it easy and don’t let go, the words of wisdom, passed down by family, quietly providing the hand brake on my actions, but just barely enough. Limits were for challenging, and challenges were for unlimiting, and the possibility that the party would burn out and end were all so much nonsense.
Forget about the cookie jar. We’re talking non-stop fun in the damn candy store, burning that candle at both ends, in the middle, and around and around we go and only the good die young. Am I right? So live it up, party till I drop, and kick life in the ass as long as I can lift my foot.
The Introspection As Life Marches Onward
I see an older man now. He may have kicked ass earlier, but he’s feeling the boot to his own ass now, as time and fate have brought him to his knees on more than one occasion. Lessons learned are lessons earned, and I had to learn, and earn, them the hard way.
The non-stop fun of youth has to be paid for at some point, and interest accrues, and the collector comes, with the enforcer, demanding the vig in an unkindly way. So I borrow from Pete and tell Paul to wait his turn, and shuck and jive my way along bumpy damned roads, hoping the tires have just enough tread to get me to the turnpike.
Responsibilities are added, and now there are others who rely on me, and I nine-to-five it from one day to the next, squeezing that nickel until he defecates all over my dreams, and if I can just figure out a way to make it all work then it will be all right. Put a man in a tight squeeze and he’ll toss aside lessons learned and react as any animal cornered. Teeth are bared, claws extended, saliva dripping because it’s all about survival now, and survival of the fittest is the law of this man’s land for better or for worse.
Where did it all go wrong? Where did the dreams go to? My head is popping from the squeeze, man, and it feels like my eyeballs will explode right out of my skull.
Listen to the whispers….quietly in the night they come stealing…shhh…listen….the old lessons, passed down from granddaddy and papa, those are the words of truth….shhh….listen…..take a deep breath….that which don’t kill you makes you stronger, and you ain’t dead, so get your butt off the ground and turn this ship around.
The Awareness As Life Comes to an End
Now that’s better, isn’t it Billy Boy? Calm, and not the calm before a storm, but deep calm, that secret place inside where no one can hurt you, where serenity awaits you with open arms, that’s where you are now, soldier. Kick back and relax those old bones. No more fighting necessary. The foe is licked and the foe was you, and doesn’t it feel a world better just surrendering to those whispers?
So I rebuild. Tear down that old structure, right down to the foundation, because that foundation is still solid, and start framing, start wiring, start plumbing, build it all solid, double-wall construction, and don’t scrimp on the materials. What time I have left is spent surrounded by the greatest insulator of them all…love, baby, love….and I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy now, because I gave up the fight, tossed up my hands, and shouted NO MAS!
Embrace each day, rejoice with the sunrise, mellow with the sunsets, allow it all to infiltrate my every pore and become one with life. Oh, how obnoxious does that sound, but it’s the truth, Ruth, and if I’m lying then I’m dying, as are we all, a little bit each day, tick, tock, tick, tock, and now…
I can look back and see it all, the highways and back roads that led me to this place, this time, this life…this love….and I smile….and take that last sweet gasp of air….and…..
Thank God I’m Alive
It wasn’t my time after all. Big mistake, some mix-up with the paperwork, my file was placed in the wrong outbox or some such thing, so back to earth, Billy Boy, and remember this dry run, and don’t waste another damn minute because, well, the time is coming for us all…tick, tock, tick, tock…and wouldn’t it be a shame to look down after that last breath and not enjoy the…….
The movie of your life.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)