It’s said too often, so often it can’t be true, that the drowning man sees his life flash before his eyes, but what is never said is whether he understands it any better for having seen it. That would be evidence. I have a chance to live the rest of my life in a moment. Instead of counting backwards from a hundred as instructed, I surrender to the waves of anesthesia breaking over me and go down three times, and bob to the surface each time, and see the future flash before my eyes. I see my daughter grown and married, but more than that I see her daring and unabridged. Her hair never grays in my lifetime. I will meddle when she lets me, and she’ll let me. The unintended consequences will set fire to her bridges. She won’t complain. I will tell her once how sorry I am, on a bench by a flowering lilac, and she will say: Dad, please, I have other plans. My son will return from the war alive but transparent and battle to live thereafter. I’ll tell him too, while we work on the mower, how I wish I had kept him out of combat and he’ll say: I wanted to die a hero. My wife makes brief appearances only, for reasons I can’t explain. Maybe she belongs to my present. Maybe she doesn’t change. I never once go to the office. I do see my creeping debility in jerky time-lapse sequences of sinking cheeks and eyes that cook like eggs and cloud. I will have lived a cognizant life. I will have paid attention. I know now I’ll survive this procedure and make mistakes and eventually decide, when all is said and done, to let all things be said and done.

Copyright © May 09, 2007 David Hodges

About these ads