Sunday, December 8, 2013


I was driving down to Charlotte last night to meet some people for pizza and improv. And while I was listening to Pete Peterson's talk on legends, the semi next to me started moving into my lane. It was one of those moments that seems to move in slow motion, icy fear poured into me, and I wondered if this was how my life would end.

Would the final page in my story include, "And she died on a cool night in December on highway 85 in a seemingly mindless accident."

(When you love stories and like to write-that is how your brain works)

Thankfully when I quickly glanced over, the lane next to me was wide open so I was able to quickly scoot over without any catastrophe occurring.

But it made me think and remember how incredibly frail I am. Every moment of every day could be my last. I live and walk on a massive rock that spins through space close enough to a burning ball of gas to keep me warm but far enough away so I don't get burned to a crisp. I see a meteor and call it a falling star then make a wish not remembering that if it was a little bigger I could die.

Or I could be killed driving to work by a drunk driver or thoughtless truck driver who is mishandling a hunk of metal and my life could ooze out on the cold asphalt underneath the blinking lights. The soundtrack of my end could be that of sirens.

Most days I forget this, when you're alive and all the pieces of your body are functioning - it's hard to remember how close every single one of us is to the end.

There is a moment in the latest Ashtown book (Empire of Bones) when Cyrus is woken up by his mentor Rupert, to go on a journey back into the heart of the danger they had just flown from and Rupert is telling him that if things go well they will meet up with the rest of his family by lunch. Then Cyrus asks him, "And if things don't go well" and Rupert responded, "Then you'll never see them again, and that mate is the truth every time you set foot outside your door, every time you sleep, every time you blink."

After I read that I just closed the book for a moment and stared out the window. Every time I turn around, every time I blink, it could be the last time I ever see or speak to the people that I love the most.

That's sobering.

It's one of those moments that sits in the back of your head popping in at the most inopportune moments. About a month later I had gotten in an argument with my mom on the phone, she had made some comment and it made me upset. I don't remember exactly what it was but I remember a hot feeling of indignant anger flooding through my veins. I felt like once again that no matter what I do, it was and is never enough and that the rest of the world could get away with anything while I wasn't ever able to make one mistake. I remember I threw some hot burning words through the phone and then quickly said goodnight and hung up.

I stood in my room and vowed that I would stay angry and not go home for a week. I have never been able to stay angry for long, but I assured myself that this time it would be different. Then those lines popped into my head, "Then you'll never see them again, and that mate is the truth every time you set foot outside your door, every time you sleep, every time you blink." and I thought, "Damn it."

Do I really want the last words I say to my mom to be an angry goodnight? What if something were to happen between now and daylight and I never got to see her again? But I'm stubborn sometimes so instead of just doing the right thing, I tried to stay angry, I tried to stoke the fire of my indignation and hurt, but it was too late. Already time and perspective were doing their work and softening my resolve.

But once again, I'm stubborn so I tried to get away with sending a short insincere text that said, "I'm sorry. Goodnight." I threw my phone across the room into a pile of blankets and tried to read, the Molehill from Hutchmoot, stupid reading choice when you're tried to hold on to your anger and in about thirty minutes I was on the phone with my mom, apologizing for getting upset.


Maybe one day I'll learn.

No comments:

Post a Comment