Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Here And Gone"

A man you know – maybe not well, but you knew them – dies.  And you remember their face, and their smile, and their warmth, and their kindness.

But above it all, is the cold, dark, immutable reality:

They died.

And the feeling of what it means that they died goes deep.  For them.  For their families and loved ones.  For the people who knew them.  And the people they touched.

What a gaping, horrible, irreparable loss.

And then,

More quickly than you are proud of, the booming resonance of their departure slips inexorably offstage

And you think about yourself.

“If they died, so will I.”

You think.  And, being the age I’ve become, not that long from now.

“They’re shooting at our regiment” is how a contemporary of my only slightly older brother described it.  And it’s true.  The man who died was only months older than me.

His time had arrived.  And so will mine.

I think about that as I practice the piano.  (I had to stop practicing to write this.)

One thing the man’s death means is that I’m practicing the piano,

And the man who died can’t.

I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for my daughter,

And the man who died can’t.

I bought coffee, I withdrew money from the bank machine, and I drove safely home,

And the man who died can’t.

There’s a big difference in our situations. 

I have more time.

And the man who died doesn’t.

Something that important should be powerfully meaningful.  An event of that magnitude should inflate the spirit with cosmic appreciation.  For every breath.  The companionship of my wife.  The magnificence of my children.

And it does.

For about twenty minutes. 

And then it fades.

I make a mistake on the piano, and I immediately forget.

Playing a “G” when it should be an “A”,

I wonder why I’m not better.

1 comment:

Mac said...

Jeez Earl, I think you might have a couple of years left. You're in your 60's, which these days isn't that old.
My Dad's 85 and still goes for the five-year warranty when he buys stuff.