I remember the last time the warm breeze poured from across the waters, up the concrete steps, and over the grass. It span wildly in the air as it caught wind and brushed past my face. I couldn’t help but smile, despite what was going through my mind. How ironic that sounds right now. As a child I took an early appreciation of the trees and grass, of life in general… but nothing like I did at that reawakened moment. It was all new again, and all more wonderful than it had ever been before.
To state it quite bluntly, seeing as there’s no point in keeping you from understanding what’s going on: I was dying. My body was fighting a pointless war against an enemy that could never be killed nor held at bay, and I knew it. Every moment went by all too quickly, my mind replaying my short life before my eyes as I sat on the steps of my beach house, over looking white sands under a spectacularly beautiful blue sky. It was quite extraordinary. Not that it hadn’t ever been a blue cloudless day before, but that it was one of my last. When I bought this house my reasons to choose it amongst any other specifically mainly revolved around the scenery. So, of course, I spent a good amount of time watching the sun set, the sunrise, and the breezy gorgeous days in between. This was different; this was a truly perfect day. I couldn’t tell where the crystal-blue water ended and that glorious deep blue sky began. They just merged at some unseeable horizon.
I remember the view become blurry and hazy as my vision was interrupted by tears. This couldn’t be happening to me, was my thought. Not me – It’s simply not possible. But it was, and I was unable to do anything about it but wait and see. A disease that apparently no man had ever contracted previously was going to kill me. It was as if some God was insuring my second wish in life would never come true. I would die in my prime. I even remember thinking that I wouldn’t even see the turn of the millennium. 2001… sounded like suddenly so far away now, thousands of years distant. It was presently March of 1992.
Everything in life became pointless and sacred at the same time. How I looked upon that world for those last precious days – I didn’t want to leave it, but fighting and crying would do me no good. To be honest, life was always pointless, but with some kind of weird determination we all move forward. It’s call instinct, and it really gets annoying some times. We struggle to live no matter how shoddy of a life we each live. People who live on the street and eat out of trashcans are direct examples of this. I was far from a bum, however.
I had a six-figure salary courtesy of my hard efforts at a computer-programming job near San Francisco. I had a house on the beach, as I’ve already mentioned, right on the coast of the Pacific… I even had my own private ten acres of beautiful white sand and palms. The only other soul in that ten acres was my life-long companion, my first true wish in life, Robin. Oh God, I thought Robin! She wasn’t yet aware of the direction her life was going to suddenly turn in less than a few months time. She wasn’t there that morning I received the phone call, she didn’t know yet… and I remember thinking, I didn’t have to tell her – Not yet. I could wait at least a week or two more so we could at least have that time together.
I sat on that beach for seven hours straight, contemplating what men contemplate, and just enjoying the reality of reality as it walked briskly by. Again, how ironic that sounds now.
That night I awoke to the face of an angel.
Shortly beforehand, I found myself walking in a place, a city. It’s streets were crowded with millions of cars and sidewalks with thousands of people. The men were wearing identical business suits, the women in business skirts and blouses. They were all going the opposite direction as I was, but for some reason I persevered in my chosen path. I realised I was wearing a bright purple. I’m not a big fan of purple, I’m just telling you like it was. The sky was dark and cloudy, full of turmoil as if on the brink of a storm. As I pushed through the crowd, being knocked this way and that, I felt what I could only refer to now as a presence. In the sky, above me, a crack in the dense clouds formed which allowed retina damaging light to shine down on me. I stopped my pushing through the crowd, which really wasn’t getting me anywhere anyway, and stared upwards. In the distant light, which was magnified by the fact the clouds around that crack became as dark as night, a small blur moved about disrupting the rays.
The occasional man or woman, always the same one really, bumped into me as I was now standing perfectly still, staring straight up like a deer caught in head lights. The figure floated down quickly, silhouetted against the light as in such a fashion I was unable to see what I was looking at. Moments later I panicked, and ran five feet before it got me. When it got close enough I had realised it was death. The angel of death, scythe and all, picked me out of this crowd and was coming to get me.
I woke to an entirely different angel, though.
Robin was shaking me. Reality came back to me in a flash of light, moments before my nightmare had gone horribly wrong. When my eyes opened, I never have forgotten the mental picture I caught of her and kept stored in my mind, even to today, despite the attempts to shake it out. If it weren’t for that moment I may not be telling you this now.
She smiled down at me with the most sincere, innocent, honest look. Her face was lit by moonlight, her skin perfect, and her brown eyes shining and revealing that gateway to her soul. I fell in love all over again.
“I couldn’t’ wake you up,” she said, “I thought something was wrong… you sounded like you were having a nightmare.”
I hugged her harder as she spoke over my shoulder. “Mark, what’s wrong?”
“As of right now, not a damn thing.”
In contrast to my four-hour nap on the couch, I didn’t sleep a wink that night. The face of death, to which I stared directly into, haunted my mind. At one point in time the whole incident made me laugh aloud, to which Robin stirred in her sleep. She rolled over to face me, but never woke. I thought of many things that night. My life, how things were. For awhile the whole idea of me being dead soon didn’t seem real, that it wasn’t or couldn’t happen. That I wasn’t dying. Tomorrow I would wake up and, as usual, I would go jogging. Tomorrow was Sunday, so I’d take care of the usual errands, get some groceries, and do a little work from home. Robin would get home around seven and we’d spend the night together. Tomorrow would be a good day, I lied to myself.
I was pretty sure, although I can’t remember now, that Robin had to work the next day. I do remember thinking how ridiculous it was. I was wealthy enough for both of us five times over, and she didn’t need to work. Not only did she insist on working, but also it wasn’t terribly important work. She was, after all, a waitress at an upper-middle class restaurant. I knew it was important to her, to have some purpose, to do something with herself and feel like she had some control. I could relate. It’s partially why I loved her. Many women and men alike would be happy to have all of their financial woes taken away, but she wasn’t about to just let me give her money. Getting her to accept a loan for five bucks was a pain in the ass, to tell the truth. And even in my death my money wouldn’t be hers. When I did die she would put my money to something useful and really find herself, really live. I noted the time on the clock on my nightstand and realised it was nearly sunrise, so I waited for it. After a display of beauty, revealing golden light onto the ocean in striking bursts, I passed out. Robin left that morning without stirring me to say good bye, and I missed that early morning jog. I don’t think I cared.
For the first time in about a year I woke up after noon. My answering machine revealed I had slept soundly through twelve phone calls, all of which could wait for an answer, except the last one.


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