I have been thinking a lot, lately, about what might happen. In the course of that thinking, I have come to accept more than ever before that things happen unexpectedly; even the things we expect most of all.
That being the case, there are some things I want to be recorded, as my safety net.
If I go, know that I wanted to stay. I wanted to see you again; I didn’t choose not to.
No one is invincible, however. Regardless of what my impressively narcissistic internal monologue would have you believe, I am not the central character of the universe, and the narrative will not bend to ensure that I can participate in tomorrow’s episode. Freak occurrences, shoddy components, rogue cells – I’m as susceptible as anyone.
And everybody goes, make no mistake.
I have my hopes for science; perhaps it can deliver a longer lap for me, for others who arrived with me and afterward, but that’s all it will be. If I get to run the 200, the 400, or the 800 where my ancestors only got a short, sharp sprint I’ll count myself lucky. Once we start to dream of running marathons, we’re forgetting that the longer the distance, the more the chance increases that we’ll just randomly lose a shoe or twist an ankle; it’s unfortunate, but our race will always be at the mercy of an unexpected occurrence.
With luck, I will go after we’ve been able to do a lot of things together. I hope to have passed on the values which are important to me, and to have shared a secret: it’s possible to enjoy all this despite the fact that we have to go. In defiance of it, more to the point.
But if it’s the other way, and it could well be, please don’t spend time dwelling on it. Quite possibly, I didn’t know I was going, which means I was fine as I went; or if I did, I was thinking about you, which is the best I could have hoped for under the circumstances. Don’t ever let the wondering haunt you, or the imagining twist you, however it happened.
I will not have any use for regrets when I go, but the closest thing will be this: that when you go, I will not be there to hold you. I cannot lie, that was difficult to type – but there it is.
If I go, my solace is that you continue. Run your own race, preferably a longer and more interesting one. Leave the track, go cross country, do it with skis or speedboats. I don’t know – invent your own overstretched metaphors.
Everything we ever shared persists in your memory; take the essence of it and use it to help you make new memories. Perhaps you’ll include new people with whom you share the same bond, but from a new perspective.
If I go, nothing can undo all the days I spent loving you. They are safe, locked up in our history, untouchable by any force we can imagine.
And if I go, the Love doesn’t go with me.
Like a cell in the body, I was part of it while I lasted, but I don’t own it, or define it. The next cell takes up just where I left off.