I held her hand until it regained warmth; I watered her with all of my tears but her breath wouldn’t seem to grow.
“I’ve been thinking of you often,” said the young man.
“I’m aware,” replied Death.
“I choose to fear you so much, why?”
“The choice is yours, not mine…” she calmly says.
“But you don’t give a choice,” he pleads, “look at you – your sheer look imposes fear!”
“It is not I that chooses nor is it someone else – you judge me only by what you see, by what you tell yourself – but is this true? If I was a vibrant light or a singing angel would you feel more at peace?”
“I don’t know…” the young man nervously ponders.
“See me for what you want to see me as and when your time comes it will be as it is supposed to be…”
“How is it supposed to be?”
“Peaceful… either way – resisting or not, what is natural eventually takes over…”
“And then what?”
Death takes a deep breath, “For that I don’t even know…”
“If you don’t know and I don’t know then who knows?” he pleads.
“Maybe there’s nothing to know…”
“Will I be with those that I love and have lost?”
“Who’s to say you’re not with them now? – that they reside within you?”
“But they’re gone. They’re nothing now.” Tears fill the young man’s eyes.
“Who’s to say they’re nothing if they’re still everything to you?” Death replies back.
“And when I become nothing – then what? Are they gone? If I’m the last being to hold onto our memories do they all just cease to exist in their entirety?”
“If their emptiness fills you so much then why would you becoming nothing not be filled with the everything that you hold near and dear?” Death turns to walk away; her cloak glides along the reflective stream as dead leaves gently flow, some hanging onto stray twigs.
“Wait!” the young man cries. “Take me with you…”
She stops walking. “That’s not how this works… but now you will truly live.”
“You no longer fear me – now tell me what you see when you look at me…” Death turns around and reveals her face, pulling back her draping and frayed hood.
He stares to her perplexed, “I see your beauty – but I also see a mystery within your eyes…”
“There is no mystery within me; Death is the one inevitable event of life itself – it is the only definite card dealt even before the game is to be played.”
“You answer no fucking questions! You just dance with paradoxes!”
“I have told and even shown you everything yet you still accept nothing.” She retorts. “Let this be your liberation: in your emptiness there is fullness and in your nothingness lies the world – with that said – within death there is life – just as the eyes are limited so is the mind…” And with that she disappeared.
The young man gazed upon his reflection and cried – he saw that he was no longer a young man but now a gray and old man. He then realized the time that he had wasted but didn’t punish himself for it. From that day on time didn’t exist to him – nor did his reflection – nor did his shadow – and within this he discovered life.
© 2020 Michael Angel Loayza Jr.