The second we are born, we start dying. This is not life, this is death.
My best friends' grandfather had disappeared one night from his room. His daughter hated him, this I know for she would not look at him as she bathed the thick layers of his skin. And he knew this too where is why he had ran off. I was the one who found him in an old barn way out of town. It was abandoned, falling to pieces. The darkness blanketed the lands where it stood afoot; strong as iron, delicate as the petal of a daisy.
His daughter had not bothered to look for him that night. It was only Claudie, my best friend, and I. It was raining that night, the moon was hidden behind a power shield of grey clouds and thunderous demons. Claudie and I had gone our separate ways; she drove through town and I ran through the forgotten fields of our town. Claudie was afraid of the dark; that thick suffocating sense of being choked by the invisible hands of the unknown. Without a word, I let her go. The darkness terrified me; I felt invisible eyes followed me the entire time I ran through the raging rain and muddy planes. But if you don't learn how to be afraid, you'll never learn how to be brave. That is what kept me moving. That and weird feeling of being pulled by an invisible thread.
When I found the old man, he was a shivering ball hidden in the corner of dried hay and sand. He rocked himself from side to side, drops of rain sneaking through the obvious cracks of the ceiling. Without hesitation, I throw myself over the thin body of the wise misunderstood man; picturing myself as a blanket, willing the warmth of my body to blanket his. When he stopped shivering, I pull away giving him the space to breathe. But that was the problem, he wasn't breathing anymore. Panicking, I drew him to my arms hopefully willed him back to life. But it was impossible, I told myself, he was gone.
His head fell back, eyes wide and crystal. The soul that inhabited this shell moved on. And then I remembered, three days ago the old man sat on his rocking chair in his room and stared out the window watching the birds fly by, singing, and chirping happily. The way the wind moved the tall grass from side to side, the sun kissing on the land he once danced with his daughters' beloved mother. I stood there watching him, admiring the stillness of his body. When he looked back and saw him, he beckoned me closer and patted on the bed where black and white pictures laid scattered on the flower sheets. Smiling, thinking this was one story telling episodes, I gathered the pictures and sat comfortably on the edge of the bed and looked at him. I mean looked; he was crying. The puffiness of his eyes, the dampness of his withered cheeks… He snatched my hand from my lap and squeezed, drawing it to his cheek. The back of my palm was wet with tears as more began to shed.
"What's wrong, old man? Saw another sad flick?" I smiled. He was an overly emotional human being. No one I've ever known has ever been so sensitive. But no one in this town has lost as much as he has.
Scoffing, he shook his head with the ghost of a smile. "As you get older, we learn that there's not always a why or a because to a situation." he looks at me then. "Sometimes there's just not an answer, and it breaks your heart." Something out in the field moved drawing both our attention. It was a light hidden behind the grass, calling out a name that only we could summon. I stand, not believing my eyes and heard the old man whisper, "If no one misses you when you are alive, what makes you think they will when you are dead?"