Tis the draw of an eye, tis the wink of a breath, how long is a lifetime if you’re having the time of your life? Many are cut short, others last longer than expectation, and some seem to finish right on time, as though their allotted time is a predestined perfection. Of course the longevity of a lifetime can only truly be judged by the liver of said time and the quality with which they lived it.
It is utterly amazing that no matter how long a life-time lasts, it passes quickly for the one living it. Especially as the end draws nigh, as the curtains draw slowly, yet steadily to a close at the finale. It seems like overnight a person goes from feeling like they’ll live forever with an unprecedented sense of immortality, to the fearful realization of their frail mortality and inevitable end. Time passes swiftly when it’s almost up.
Equally amazing is that after a beginning filled with a world of wonderment, the amount of change a soul can witness and withstand while running its course. From the start the world around constantly alters and changes. For a short while a body finds the rhythm, goes with the flow, matching its pace to that of the human race. Only to eventually be outrun, left behind and forgotten with passage of time.
Yes things most certainly change. Current case in point- He can recall, with an uncanny clarity, these strangers who, during those first few crucial months of his life, watched over him. Protecting him from…what…themselves? He is uncertain now, but somehow knew that it was never meant for him to know or understand. With time these strangers became teachers and friends. Then they stopped protecting and instead encouraged him onwards, towards one crucial goal – to live. So he did, and so he has, and now the world has turned and things have come full circle. Now they are strangers once more, strangers with a new goal for him which is the complete and total opposite of the first. He is old now and should (according to these stranger friends) accept his fate with dignity- to depart as he has lived- as a man. But still he is only human, so he is afraid and thus he has run.
He has survived the seasons of life. In the Spring he learned, he grew, he blossomed and love found him. In the Summer he relished and basked in the glory of love and his youth. In the Autumn, as he began to wither, he slowed his pace and relished life a little more. With the Winter he has found discontent as the darkness embraces him.
Pausing now, catching what breath he has left, in front of the theatre where he met her, his legs and walking stick find a moments reprieve in memory. It was raining that day so long ago and two fools had found each other in a downpour; neither with an umbrella or a clue. They sought refuge together over a bucket of popcorn in each other’s arms. From the moment he saw her he knew that she was the one. Somehow she knew it too, for they were wed in less than a week’s time. Romance bloomed with fires of pure passion and their love was insatiable. Within the first month they conceived… shortly thereafter she was gone. Swept away by promises from another of a life he could not make. He was left only with the knowledge that it would be a boy and the child’s date of birth would be close to his own.
Reminiscence is replaced by reflection as he sees himself looking back at himself from the glass in the ticket booth. The firm jaw and ruggedly handsome black stubble have been replaced by the long flowing stark whiteness of new fallen snow. Eyes once so full of life lay sunken into an ever darkening bed of wrinkles. Strong broad shoulders weakened and withered with the passage of time… which is rapidly running out.
Drawing closer now they will soon be upon him- these strangers who love with their loathing and so he runs. His heart labors relentlessly in his shriveled chest, struggling to make the next beat. Each breath is more labored than the last, becoming nothing more than a gasp for air. Every step is pure unrelenting agony, as his worn muscles are subjected to this brutal marathon of survival. Why do they bother in their pursuit? Can they not see as well as he, do they not realize he is almost finished?
Do they fear in their infinite wisdom that he may draw one extra breath too many and chaos will ensue? He laughs at this, at the insanity of it all that only in a lifetime one can learn. The fates rest on his respiratory functions. Merely a simple chuckle issues from his pale lips, that turns into a hacking cough akin to pneumonia, racking his frail form with anguish. Losing his balance, the cane slips from his grasp skittering away, knees buckle, falling, brittle bones snap but he feels no pain. Falling into the strangers’ arms he finds comfort in relinquishment as they enshroud him in their darkness, after which he feels nothing more.
At that very moment, a life-time later, in a world far away; a ball drops and drunken people cheer while dancing in the streets. In a small sterile hospital hallway strangers gather gazing affectionately thru glass at a small bundle in a basinet. The nursery card proclaims the child’s date and time of birth- January 1 / 12:00:00 a.m. It also bears the name Benjamin Nolan Yoder, which is impartial for those who have assembled- they will simply refer to him as 2019.
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