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At The Most Inconvenient Time This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“What is it?” I asked. I had not seen her all day, and she just said that she wanted to tell me something. What could be this ‘something’? It was so awful that she trembled, shivered, and as she said the word ‘something’, she had trouble releasing the word, almost as if the problem she seemed to have was within her.

I walked her away from the crowd. This was something that would obviously ruin my day, even just seeing her in the state she was now would spoil my dreams. She seemed so sad, so distressed, so drained. I knew that whatever news this was would drain me too.

She prepared to speak, her lips vibrating, her body motionless. “It’s…it’s terminal.” She looked away and cried, tearless, with her face in her sleeve.

“What is terminal?” I looked down to her face, and locked in on her eyes, mine begged to help. I begged to help, to fix her, to fix her problem, and I hadn’t a clue what it was.

“The Doctor…the Doctor said it was terminal.” Again her face was in her arm, but now my arm was around her waist, and she found my hand. She clenched my hand in a strong, desperate cling, like she was clinging to the life of me, or was it just life itself?

“What’s terminal? Please, please tell me.” I pleaded for an answer. Her hand was still tightly clung to mine, the nails breaking my skin.

“The…the cancer…” Her hand released.

There it was, a shot to the heart. But somehow, when the bullet pierced my most vital organ I did not die, but I did stop breathing.

I stepped back after receiving the blow, but one quickly forgets the problems of oneself when they are standing right in front of , and looking at someone who needs the ones they love more than ever. I stepped right up to her, and we embraced. I did not speak, and she did not speak. We only cried.



Years later, and after she had passed, I recalled the first thing she said to me. About the cancer being terminal. What a sorry excuse for a word? I argued angrily to myself. Is life not terminal? Does it not end? Are our lives not all terminal?

Oh, it ends all right. It ends at the worst possible time, the time most inconvenient to you. As soon as your life becomes organized, happy, seemingly never-ending, it is stripped away! And I cannot feel redemption. Even if redemption were possible, my life would end before I could ever think or dream a happy thought again. Life ends, and it ends at the most incovenient of times.




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