My Dear Friend, Take Heart

I recall an autumn morning in a small town where the leaves were changing.  The weather was growing colder, but winter had not yet arrived, and the world had a brisk crispness to it.  I sat outside in the cold sun and drank a cup of coffee.  You were there with me and had a cup of your own.  We sat together and sipped our steaming drinks.  It was nice, I still remember it.

You will tell me, of course, that I remember this wrong, and perhaps that’s so.  But I prefer my version to yours, so that’s how I’ll choose to keep it.  Memories, after a point, become choice.  This is one of the beautiful things in life.  We are sparks, mere flashes on the scales on which we exist, scales so vast and so tiny we cannot comprehend them.  Yet in that flash, we are everything.  For that speck of time, our lives become existence and we ourselves something fantastic.

On that autumn morning I described to you a huge, placid lake.  I said then that for the vast majority of existence we are simply the atoms composing the water of this lake.  And in that, as a part of this magnificent whole, we are beautiful, though we lack the capacity to realize it.  Then something happens.  For some unknown reason, by some phantom hand, we are pushed upwards.  And as we rise, we coalesce, we take shape.  As we near the surface, a face appears, eyes open.

Then suddenly we break the plane, burst forth and open our mouths.  We gasp, one giant frightful gasp of air, and our wide eyes are granted sight.  We see the lake beneath us, we see the sky above us, we see life around us.  Finally, we look down and see ourselves, separated somehow from the universe.  And it is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.  But things change.

We begin to thrash about, claw at the water, try to propel ourselves beyond the surface of the lake.  We lean on other gasping faces, shove them back down, attempt to fly.  But water cannot fly.  The momentum from our push thrusts us out, our heads, however briefly, crest above the surface.  Then the arc continues, our momentum fails, and we slip back down.  We return to how it always was, how it always will be.  When we return to the water we lack even the capacity to lament what we’ve lost.  There is comfort in this.  We go home.

And we sat and drank our coffee, on that cold autumn morning, and we spoke of this.  And on that day we first heard the news, of the rise of the end, though you of course will dispute the timing of the announcement.  But I prefer to remember it this way.  We finished our coffee and our talk, then we heard.  Memory, after a point, becomes choice, and I shall exercise mine with a smile, for as long as I am able.  So goodbye my friend.  I regret nothing and neither should you, for we have been luckier than we could possibly have hoped for.  Luckier than the moon, the sun, and the stars.  Please, don’t be sad.  Though we won’t know it, we will soon be home.

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