I’m dying. That’s what I have decided and so suddenly I feel a wonderful sensation. Something akin to relief. I’m not sick or anything. At least no more sick than anyone else.
I do highly recommend it. Choosing the dying, I mean. I am quite sure it will make the next 40 years so much more enjoyable, easier. I am having such a marvelous time. I drink and eat what I like. Rarely get much sleep because I go out and celebrate my last moments. Every moment.
It’s funny, when I was living — really not so long ago as when I was growing, just sort of between the grow and the die — it was harder to tell who was, is.
But now, it’s easy.
A woman in my office asked me just the other day what I thought. Which was nice. I said, “Oh, for sure. You’re alive!” I can tell. It’s so obvious to me. “You’re definitely not dead.” I told her if she needed a testimonial to her vitality — say, for her files — I would be happy to provide it.
Last week I received a chain letter from the dying. I didn’t perpetuate it, though. I like when things happen.
Simple Rules of the Dying, it read.
Number One: Regarding Monetary Transaction: Treat money with respect but rid yourself of it as fast as possible. It is useless to the dying. Freedom from the chains of currency is one of our benefits. So spend freely.
Number Two: There are no rules.
Whatever. I’ve been watching the money. It travels far and fast among the living. It is powerful stuff. They often think they own it but they are naive like that (pish, listen to me, dying just a few weeks and authoritarian like a pro). When you’re living you wrestle stupidly with money; play silly games with it. Try to corral it in pens and harbors. But it can’t be kept. Money’s too watery.
So what to do today. I think I’ll write some letters. I still haven’t told everybody I’m dying. My mother will be so pleased I’ve joined her. She’s been lonely since dad crossed from the lovely fog of dying over the indigo line to dead. My sister of course was, is, has been, no help at all. She’s not even trying. Her statistics (the vital ones) are pumping away progressively, productively. I wish we had talked.
My lover and I scream in bed like animals now. The last three weeks we’ve constructed love all around the house, crushing things under our weight. We laugh at ridiculous aspects of our bodies and giggle slap-happily at sentences which have taken on new meanings.
Our whole vocabulary has doubled, trebled. I have dozens of new words for parts of her body now which make matters even more erotic and delicious. Sometimes she looks at me, throws a bowl at the wall and says, “Bibble clumby, slooperkoo!” which I take to mean many things and then laugh at my thoughts. She times me with a stopwatch and when I start cracking up she says, “<click> Flaxis. A three-minute thought.”
Ohhhhhhhhh (sigh) hhhhhhhhh God. (smiling and decrescendoing to empty lungs)
I must weep now.
It can’t be all good, dying.
Samuel is dead now and his meat withers in a wooden box below the dusted surface of this earth. In living and in dying (I wouldn’t know about growing for he’d revolved around the sun so many times before I’d even slipped into this corporeal sleeve) he graced … grace — gracious! He was graceful. And quiet — silent as the dead. But never lived (or died) a man so right and true.
Few things are magical anymore. And so it was that being near him was a rare and cherished treat in the lifetimes of most. One couldn’t elect to be near him for too long. This would have been crass and inelegant. So one could only ache to be near him even while all that small talk was made, leading to its inevitable end and separation.
Oh, but what talk. Like golden notes from Coltrane’s horn the words fell simply from his lips. “It was hot” and “Good afternoon” and “I shall pray for you” Spirits issued from those lips and carried the words to the ears of anyone who could hear them. From his big, black hands worlds were born and died. When he clasped them in prayer God took pause and form and listened.
Tears are the only remnant of his magic and they are liquid and clear and cannot be kept. They soak through everything: through paper, fingers, skin, feet, down through the earth, joining a river which flows deep below, which carries souls and spirits away.
Enough. I am dying after all. There is no time for cloying maudlination. With machine-like precision chisel from stone a life. You are dying. So be it.