Sunday, February 27, 2011

How People Die

They do it when you're not looking. When you stepped out of the room for a while to go to the bathroom. Or comb your hair. Or take a nap.

That's how they die.

We hear about the dramatic deaths, that gets all the attention, but really death is profoundly undramatic. It's like falling asleep after a long, long day and forgetting to breathe. It's like unclenching your fist. It's like letting go. A breath out. No breath back in.

You know.

And then you're doing something, I don't know, maybe reading a book, maybe flipping through a magazine, maybe watching a particularly boring documentary on Hell or a re-run of Supernatural, and suddenly you remember.

You pick up the phone and call. You Google the person. Send an email. A text. You call friends of friends. You ask: Where? What number? How can I?

And there is silence at the other end of the line.

Haven't you heard?

Didn't you know?

Didn't anyone tell you?

And you say, tell me what?

And then you find out.

Death came when you weren't looking.

You allowed your attention to slip for a moment; they slipped into Eternity.

And you'll never find them again, not in this lifetime, and as you reach desperately into your mind, trying to grasp some fragment of who they were, smell something they've touched, look at the lifeless pictures in your hands, everything screams:

Death, death, death....

All that's left is death.

All that's left is the absence of life.

It happened when you weren't looking.

It happened because you weren't looking.

It happened when you weren't paying attention.

It happened because you weren't paying attention.

And that's how people die.

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