Reverb is back with monthly prompts, I found out the other day. March’s? What would you do if March was your last month to live?
With 31 days left I would immediately and without hesitation stop waiting for things to get better.
Time is an odd thing. With the impression of leagues of time, we believe in the barely possible. With the benefit of hindsight, appearances are positive; time creates beauty and progress and change. The scales of justice are balanced and equal punishment is meted out to all transgressors. Grand Canyons are formed, skin color overlooked, polio cured. Long spans guarantee a tomorrow, a next day, a later. Limitless horizons of future opportunity allow for procrastination, or pushed deadlines; a surety that we may try, try again, believing in that slow train of evolution.
But to cut that length short? To know, somehow, that your length is edited, curtailed? Quite a different story. With little time, small moments are momentous. Change the proportion, and nothing remains equal. Suddenly, the idea of WASTE grows in the foreground, an ominous check making sure that what that specific moment is being spent in pursuit of will hold against hindsight and historical scrutiny. Nothing can change fast enough, progress is gauged impatiently and only hard, sought after results are rewarded with praise and contentment.
With leagues of time, I stay here in Pasco, WA, quietly (?) biding my time for something better. I allow the Old Man his opportunity to grow in his new profession, knowing that this is a stepping stone for him. I maintain my gaze on the cloudy and unknown distance, willing myself to believe that there awaits something better, some future adventure/happiness/pleasure/contentment. I overlook my dire boredom and lonely, friendless solitude. I plod on, making do with my bookshelves and Skype and this lovely community I’ve found in the blogosphere. I regard my marriage as a whole, as a process, as what it CAN be with work and elbow grease and…time.
But take away those leagues, and it isn’t the amalgamation of moments that matters anymore. It’s the moments themselves. The tiny things. Without eons or years, the landscape changes and so do my priorities.
With 31 days left, I will pack my flip flops and a couple of dresses, my Tweezers and some books and I will get the fuck out of dodge. I will stop waiting for Happiness At a Later Date and begin indulging only Things That Make Me Happy Now. Piled in the car with my dog and my cat (and the Old Man if he so chooses) I will drive, stopping only briefly to see Old Faithful or the Grand Tetons and some old friends in Salt Lake City. With a quantity of marijuana sufficient to see me through my end of days, I will head stalwartly east, back to my home, back to my heart.
For one week and change I will surround myself in my parents’ love. I will listen raptly to my father’s guitar and to the songs of my life. I will teach my mother how to make an actual Cosmopolitan-not those horrendous things she came up with on her own. I will tell each of them in no uncertain terms how dear they are to me and how much I love love love LOVE them.
We will have a huge party and all who are able or willing will attend. I will pour my love out in buckets and laughter and hugs and rue. I will tell each person with direct eye contact why I’ve kept them in my life and what their friendship has meant to me. I shall hold Blondie’s baby boy in my arms and whisper secrets to him about his momma that he could only learn from me.
And then, I will adjourn to the beach. Maybe Costa del Sol, perhaps South Beach or Wrightsville. I will spend the rest of my days by the roar of the ocean, insisting that those with me treat it as a holiday. There will be bonfires and beers and quiet naps in the sun. Strolls along the shore arm-in-arm, dancing in the sand, glinting smiles and sun-baked skin. I will charge each person in my company a task; to each visit a place I had longed to go and to perform a local tradition of remembrance.
And on my last day, someone will take a picture of me. I won’t worry about it, or fret that it will turn out badly. I’ll turn toward the camera and smile a genuine smile. Me with my giant sunglasses, perfect tan and a joint, passing on in a cloud of love and hugs.
(Post Script: I felt the need to make clear that I’d also have put my financials in order and bequeathed my body and it’s organs to wherever they could be used.)