A Conversation

Is death the only thing worth thinking about? Or should it just be put out of our minds? I ask you this over dinner, casually. You are eating salad with spinach; I have a plate full of untouched pasta in white sauce. I don't outright say it, of course; that would be crude and I am trying to let you know that I am a gentleman, honestly -- my intentions are good. But there are questions pulling at the edge of my attention all night, so it is only fair I ask them: If death is not worth thinking about, inevitable as it is like heartache or constipation, how does one *not* consider it? Is it not like the old line about the elephant -- someone says don't think of him and there he is? Is death like an elephant, who never forgets, or like the stars, who never knew we were there? You chew thoughtfully. I am pretending to ask you something about your parents, but if you know me -- and I know you are trying to, or, I think you are -- then maybe you can hear the words under my words, saying: What is meaning of love, if death is waiting? Once while walking home from work it struck me that this was it: my one life. Quiet houses and the dark bodies of trees rose up around me. I don't know what world comes next -- but how could it be anything like ours, with its red evening skies and church bells and soda cans and mudhuts and fires and wide open fields?

I don't think I will find you there. When death comes to cancel out the distances between us there will be no room left for you, or me; and so we will have to say goodbye to love and seperation when it is time. Don't you think? I pour you another glass of wine and suddenly the whole room falls silent. We are looking each other in the eyes. If in death there are no differences, what does that say about life -- I mean this life, the one we are living right now? Are there things you want to know? Sometimes there are so many I can hardly think of one. Tonight, though, there is light falling on our table and our hands and and I see it in your face: you are tired. I am too. The room fills up with life again and that's when I realize I haven't really said anything at all, I don't know if we'll fall in love, I don't even know what I look like in the dark. So please -- ask me anything. Questions are all I have.


No comments: