Dusk of Dawn

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'This is the beginning,' I thought as I left the high school building behind me. Six years of elementary school and life was still a seed just barely poking out its little sprout. Two years of middle school and life was growing, pushing its way centimeter by centimeter up towards the surface. And now, after four years of mind-numbing, heart-stopping monotony, life had finally reached the light of day. I could feel its tiny, translucent leaf uncurling and soaking in the sunlight. Now, life could begin.


But it didn't. Life didn't start. I moved away to college, got a part time job, found a few good friends and settled into my little niche. But it was just the same as before: monotonous, boring, uneventful, repetitive. I could go on. Life was a balloon with a hole in, no matter how hard you blow into it, it never gets any bigger. Still, I shrugged it off; college wouldn't last forever, and when I was finally out of school then my real existence would begin. Then I could patch the hole and life's inflation would commence. 'Just a few more years,' I thought, 'then all that practice will come in handy. It will be the biggest, best balloon the world has ever seen.'


But it wasn't. I got a job as an administrative assistant and leased a small loft downtown, but still, nothing happened. I woke up, went to work, came home, fed my cat, watched TV, occasionally went out to eat, then came home and went to sleep just in time to wake up and do it all over again. I couldn't understand it. I had a good education, was getting valuable experience so that I could get a better job, I had a few friends at work, acquaintances really, but for some reason life just refused start. Life was an old car with a shoddy engine and no matter how many times I took it to the garage, it would never start. I had jump started it half a dozen times, but for some reason it refused to get going. 'Just wait,' I thought, just wait. In a few years I will be able to afford to buy a whole new car.'


And I could. Several actually. That assistant job had helped me get my foot in the door, now I was one of the head lawyers at my firm. Hell, I was in line for partner in a few years. I had traded in my tiny loft for a two-story house, I had two new cars, and I had got myself a handsome, kind boyfriend who adored me. But no matter how much money I made, I couldn't seem to buy a life. Don't get me wrong, I was happy -- but in a distant, contented manner, not in that explosive, scream-out-loud-just-for-the-fun-of-it way that I wanted: that feeling was always slightly out of reach. I was a dog chasing it's own tail. And no matter how long I chased it, life never got any closer. 'Eventually,' I thought, 'I'm going to get tired of chasing the impossible.'


And I did. Not in a few weeks, not in a few months, not even in a few years, but decades passed and time slipped away until, finally, I realized I was tired. Dead tired. I didn't want to waste any more time fishing in the lake for the stars that never seemed to bite. Life looked so near, but now I saw that millions of miles separated us. And it was too late. I was old, my boyfriend had long ago turned into my husband and my husband had passed away years before. My children were born and grown and married. My fourth grandchild was born last August. I was finished with my desperate search for life, just in time for my death. And there it was: death, sitting beside me in my rocking chair. Life had always eluded me, but now, death was never far away.


And now, when death taps me on the shoulder and nods its head toward the tunnel that opens in the wall of my knitting room, I am not afraid. I walk towards the tunnel of light, of dark, of gold, of iron, inside that tunnel is everything and nothing at all, but I am not afraid. And as I follow death toward that immeasurable oblivion, I can feel a new life, not not my life, but life all the same, sprouting in my shriveled chest. 'Now,' I think, 'now, this is the beginning.'





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