My friend, Harold Daniel Cherney would’ve been 70 today. He passed away three years ago, due to the fact that polio had left his body in an unfavorable condition, and if I remember correctly, he was also suffering from muscular dystrophy. Toward the end of his life, he grew increasingly frustrated by his physical limitations. I however, prefer to remember him as the Paratransit Prophet. Harold was the epitome of a modern-day Renaissance man. He was a disabled rights advocate, an artist in both the traditional and digital sense, storyteller, a poet… But above all that he was the no bull shit Sage. He’s one of the reasons I finished my Associates degree in multimedia, a program which focused primarily on 3-D graphics and animation; something he was extremely handy with. He often gave me a much needed trip to his own dark places, and as we commiserated, he showed me that there was a way out. A proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It’s for him that I write this.
Paratransit Prophet with your futuristic space chair,
Hydraulics abound, it’s as if you were floating on air.
Artistic vision the likes of which I’d never seen,
the beauty of the mind’s eye shines a light like heavens beam.
Modern-day artist, and digital revolutionary.
I write this tell you that the burden was not yours alone to carry.
Your light, it shines, it continues burning bright.
I’ll continue to illuminate those dark places,
That we spoke of day and night.
I’m sorry that I wasn’t there toward the end.
I felt there was nothing I could say, do, or recommend.
I hope you can forgive me, because in the end…
I’d like to believe that it’s what someone does after the end, how are memory lives on that marks a friend.
There’s nothing in the world I can ever do to thank you enough,
For being there for me when times were truly rough.
Except to carry your memory with me,
And carry on your mission,
To make the world a better place, and stop this shitty cultural fission.
And maybe one day I’ll take your place,
As the Paratransit Prophet in this time and space.
But the man known as Harold Daniel Cherney, I can never replace.
First of all, I want to thank everyone for their kind responses, regardless of if our opinions may differ on the subject. It means a lot to me to know that I’ve actually touched people’s lives. But that’s never been what this is about. I wanted to be very clear that this is not a decision that I arrived at out of some feeling of incompleteness, or a feeling that I’m abnormal, nor do I feel that I don’t belong in some way or another. I have been more clear headed lately, than I have ever been. And what most of you don’t realize, is that I made this choice for myself long before we had even met. The obvious exceptions to that statement already know who they are. I know my worth as a person, and I know that I am special. I know this because I have known lots of amazing individuals so far in my life, and I know with complete certainty, that I will continue to meet more. And to these amazing people, I have become special. I also know my worth as a person because I see how different I am in the way that I treat most of those I encounter, and the things that I’m willing to do for those that I allow in my life.
I know that I’m a person who is intelligent, I have an agile mind, I am fiercely loyal and compassionate. I’m also aware of my less than desirable amount of stubbornness, my love of arguing for the sake of arguing, the fact that I can be infuriating sometimes for various reasons. All of these things and many more not mentioned, make me who I am. I arrived at this decision in light of this question of basic human dignity, and because I know with utmost certainty, that I have the right to choose how I live, and how I am remembered. And I refuse to leave this life utterly dependent on other people to survive. I refuse to subject anyone to that responsibility. And for those who have joined the discussion from a theological standpoint, for me it takes far more faith to believe in a God that is contrary to the way I was raised, that is, a God that knows my heart, motivation, and intentions so perfectly… Perhaps better than I do, that mercy would be shown on my behalf. This isn’t about a lack of purpose, I know what my purpose is, and I intend to achieve it. All too often, I see people take their lives for granted, because even though we intellectually understand that life is an unknown finite period of time, we don’t live it that way. I’m merely giving myself a soft deadline, with room for padding. I don’t know what the afterlife will hold, nor do I really want to. What I know that I have with the utmost certainty, is this life. What is here, now in this moment, and the moments to come. And I will savor them all.
What you are about to read was never intended as a monologue. These were real thoughts that I confronted during a certain period of my life. I wrote it in the form of an open letter, which essentially caused a firestorm amongst a lot of my friends. I have thought long and hard about whether or not to include this as part of The Gimpy Monologues… It is an intensely personal thing to include her, but the entire project is intensely personal to me; therefore, I have decided to include it as part of the project. Every person with a disability at some point or other, regardless of whether or not their condition is either degenerative, terminal, or considered stable will consider these types of things in their lives. It is for that reason that I share this with you all.
This isn’t some half assed statement. I thought about this a lot, and I’ve realized that overall, I need to learn to be kinder to myself. And the only way to treat myself more kindly, is to stop hiding the ugly parts that I don’t want to deal with. Mind you, I’m not talking about tomorrow, next week, or even next year. It is simply a statement that at some point I would like to make true of my own volition. It’s a decision I actually made a long time ago, that very few people know about… And the ones that do, have tried to convince me that I should change my mind. But I don’t see that happening.
I have seen death take many people that I’ve cared about in my short 28 years of life. Some of them were taken by a series of seemingly random circumstances, some due to natural causes, and others still taken by a series of horrible choices, of which they could not reverse the consequences. I’ve seen the struggles that come with old age in my own family. The senility, the persistent pain, the mood swings and so forth. This has made me think a lot about what I want out of my own life, and consequently, out of my own death.
I was born with cerebral palsy, and for those of you that don’t know, it is a neurological condition brought about usually after or during the birthing process as a result of brain damage, either due to slight hemorrhaging or lack of oxygen. The condition is not a disease… It is just that, a condition. It is not degenerative, and as far as I know cerebral palsy in and of itself is not hereditary. There are however normally other conditions that are present in cerebral palsy patients that are in fact genetic. The way this condition presents itself in me is that it affects my ability to move my lower extremities, and it affects the coordination of my left hand. This makes it difficult for some common everyday actions to be performed in a manner expected of a more able-bodied individual. This is the basis for my decision. I have seen the clutches of old age take otherwise vigorous and vital members of society, and reduce them to little more than children with a greater understanding of what they should be capable of. This places a burden on everyone around them, whether we lie to ourselves or not, the truth is that the burden does in fact exist.
This is why I have decided that I would like to end my life at the age of 60. Before senility has the opportunity to set in, and before further impairments to my movement can further degrade my quality of life. This is also one of the reasons I decided that I don’t want children. Not because I don’t love them, and not because I don’t think I would make a phenomenal father. I’m certain of both of those things. But I could not bear the thought of passing a genetic condition on to a child who may face greater difficulty than I ever could’ve surmounted myself. If I do have children, they will likely be adopted. There are far too many children in this world who go unloved, and uncared for simply because as a species, we thrive on the purpose of selfishly passing on our own genetic material. Whereas in my case, the likelihood of my genetic material being inferior as it is, is significantly higher. So I find myself not to be plagued with such selfishness, but rather only with the desire to show a child love.
The thought also occurs to me that I may never even have to make this decision to end my own life, because statistically speaking the average life expectancy of an individual in my situation is around the age of 51. So this forces me to ask myself, what do I want out of life? I have no girlfriend, at least for the moment. I have an amazing group of friends. I have a fairly rich social life, a fairly fulfilling means of employment, and then embarking on future projects that promise to be life enriching. So the only thing I want out of my life, is to live out how many ever years I have left in happiness with those I love. I don’t want to be remembered as someone who saw the end of their life embittered by the trials of becoming elderly. I want to be remembered as someone who inspired those around him, made him laugh, then cry, then laugh some more. I want to be remembered as someone who lived his life by one principle; the principle of unconditional love. I hope that admitting this to a group of people potentially larger than I will ever meet in my own life, will help me take that step to be just a little kinder to myself and in turn, a little kinder to those around me.
And I hope that to those that read this, even if you do not like what you’ve read… You learn to accept the art, regardless of the flawed artist that creates it. Please be and live well.
I feel like I can breathe again. No, I wasn’t suffering an asthma attack nor was I buried alive. My brain has granted me a brief, lucid moment of mental focus that can insidiously slip away. Memories, what memories? All I remember is a void as endless as prim
ordial space. However, there are no atoms, no matter, electrons, neutrons, no ingredients for a big bang. There is only a lonely, starless universe. And I’m trembling, because, words do not obey me like they used to. I’m scrawling whatever thoughts come to mind. Because, I have Alzheimer’s. Nature’s cruelest torture. I used to teach entomology, the study of..of bugs, insects. And I had a vast knowledge of the scientific world, I was an amatuer astronomer; my boy, I think his name is Dean, and I used to sit outside and watch the stars. I knew the various constellations, but now that person who had all that knowledge is a memory that fades away with each passing moment like a ghost. I don’t know who was present when I try to recall specific memories, and those memories are torn plotholes of my former life. My wife, at least I think she’s my wife, cries almost every night. I would cry too if I could remember who she was because it is a condition that never gets ‘better,’ it only degenerates, consuming my thoughts, my dreams, my hopes, and those I love and leaving in its wake a trail of black.
Disability and Relationships: The Family Component
I recently had a very interesting conversation with a good friend of mine, and he made me think about a component of relationships and disabled persons, that I hadn’t thought of in a very long time. Thank you for that.
I remember being about 17, and I was dating this really beautiful Asian woman (read: girl) I have to remember I was only 17. Anyway, we had been getting pretty serious. And the time was on the horizon for me to meet her family. She had talked about me with glowing reviews like I was some GRADE A restaurant on yelp or something. I thought that was pretty awesome.
Well, dinner night finally arrived, we had dinner at a local PF Chang’s restaurant. Her parents were a very traditional Asian family, and that usually means in my experience, that if they don’t like you they aren’t very polite about it. The dinner was horrible, they kept talking to each other in Vietnamese, never looking me in the eye. And then in English, my girlfriend and her parents began to argue. The main theme of their argument can be summed up in the following sentence: do you really think he can take care of you? Just look at him! He isn’t even a whole man. I felt like Ashton Kutcher on Guess Who?
My young naïve ass was thinking that we might get married, but eventually her decision essentially came down to me or her family. Let’s just say, she didn’t choose me.
For a culture that claims to base its paradigm of romance and romantic relationships on love, we sure don’t adhere to those lofty values too often in the face of pressure, and who could blame us? We’re only human. But when were in a relationship with someone, we often don’t think about the amount of pressure our family or friends may put on us.
There’s nothing unique about the circumstances in this story, except for the fact that I have cerebral palsy. In many circumstances I’ve heard of, this kind of behavior would be considered bigotry, but in my case it ultimately came down to what a lot of people claimed was “common sense.” Just food for thought… Anybody care to share any thoughts or stories? Let’s talk!
I’ve seen wars, famine, death, birth, love, and utter hatred. I have seen the rise of angelic humans, and some that would make Lucifer himself cringe in complete disgust, and quite possibly even lose his lunch. Who am I, you ask? I’m not even sure I know anymore, not after all the garbage I’ve seen; but here’s who I used to be… absolutely no one special; I was just a web monkey and a painfully average college student. I’m a guy
who would spend half of my time in front of a PC, and the other half buried in a book, all the while thinking about two things: sex and the fact that my life had no real purpose.
But one day, as I sat in a coffee shop contemplating my “oh so wonderful life,” as was a usual part of my everyday routine, I noticed this guy staring at me as I sat down with my coffee. I tried to ignore it, but he kept on looking at me, and this wasn’t just a normal look, it was a look that said, “I want some of that homemade sausage and eggs you’ve got going on.” That look made me extremely uncomfortable, so eventually I walked over to him to find out exactly what his problem was.
“Dude! What is your deal?” I asked under my breath.
“I don’t have a ‘deal’ except for the one I’m about to make you, boy.”
I didn’t even know this guy, and here he was assuming that I would take whatever twisted deal he had in his demented ass mind. He looked like a cross between something out of GQ magazine, and Professor Snape from Harry Potter! He wore all black, as if he were part of some Gothic reject movement; some kids that needed to grow up and get a real damned job. He wore black slacks, and a formfitting black button up. And to be honest, as much as I wanted to hate this guy, he always seemed to speak in a calm, authoritative tone.
“What makes you think I need some kind of deal, dude? I asked dubiously.
“Well, first off, here in a coffee shop 11 AM… when most people your age would either be at work, or in some godforsaken college class trying to figure what the hell they want to do with their lives. And if you must know, the most obvious sign that your life utterly lacks purpose is the fact that you’re clutching a copy of the Purpose Driven Life, as if it were an inner tube being thrown out to a drowning child.”
Who was this guy? And what gives them the right to say things like that about me after only having talked to him for about five minutes? As if someone were pushing my shoulders down, commanding me to sit, I took the seat across from him.
“I see that finally got your attention boy, or should I say Zak.”
“Wait… How did you know my name? “I asked in a nervous tone.
“I know great many things about you and a great many things in general… it comes with the territory. For example, you were born October 8, 1993, in Stockton California. You were born to parents who you feel don’t understand you at all, mostly because of your random “gifts” that you tend to see as a curse. And that woman over there has been looking at the both of us for the past 15 minutes, and she’s wondering if you can last longer than her two-minute boyfriend… not that that concerns you, as the last time you had sex you nearly suffocated in your ex-girlfriend’s Venus fly trap. You’re thinking about giving up sex altogether after that, and I can’t say I blame you.”
I studied this guy closer, and I noticed the shiny silvery light emanating from within him.
“Oh, I see you finally noticed it… my aura. Now takes a closer look.” He demanded firmly, yet calmly.
It can’t be! I started noticing something that looked like wings made of energy. I’ve seen these before, on myself in dreams and visions.
“It can’t be! I started noticing something that looked like wings made of energy. I’ve seen these before, on myself in dreams and visions.” He said mockingly, as the words ran rapidly through my head.
“Do you have any doubts now boy?” He snapped in a sarcastic tone.
“Who are you?” I asked nervously, yet again.
“I don’t really have a name, but my function is to usher souls who are stuck, either here, or in what your people would call limbo, into the next life, whether it be for punishment or reward.”
“Wait, so you’re telling me that you’re the God damned angel of death?”
“Well Zak, you’ve got it half right, but I don’t think God has damned me just yet.”
“Now I’d like to talk to you about the deal, boy. You see, I’ve been very… busy for the past 40 millennia, and I need to take a vacation. So I was thinking I could give you this ring, which you haven’t noticed has frozen time…”
He’s not kidding! Everyone in the coffee shop is frozen their tracks! He’s not trying to mess with my head. He’s been completely serious, and come to think of it, what the hell am I doing with a copy of the Purpose Driven Life anyway? He interrupts my soliloquy yet again,
“I’ll tell you what you’re doing with that book. You’re thinking maybe it will give you some sort of guiding principle with which you can discern your life’s purpose. But let me tell you something, young one. No one man, no matter how wise can tell another what he is destined to become. But you will learn that in time. Do we have a deal?”
Before I could voice my answer aloud, he calmly removed the ring from his ring finger, and placed upon mine. Suddenly, I was overcome with a sense of dread, but it wasn’t as though it was entirely overwhelming… there was a kind of peace intermingled with it. I felt stronger, somehow.
“10 years then, my young prince.” He muttered self-assuredly.
“Oh, and I forgot to tell you; the reason I chose you, that is. You said it yourself… you’ve seen yourself emitting the same type of energy as I do, you say all the time in jest: Genesis 6. You are one of the few creatures left on this planet who can handle the ring at its full capacity. I’ll see you soon, young prince. And before I go, don’t forget to snap your fingers. They don’t like it much when we stop time for this long.”
I looked around the motionless coffee shop, and I notice that same girl who was looking at me before was still staring at me, only she was stopped right in the middle of licking her lips. It almost looked as though she was sticking her tongue out at me. I wouldn’t mind seeing that again somewhere else, but I’ll have to check on that later. I quickly snapped my fingers, and the little café in which I found myself soon returned to life with the kind of vibrant exuberance that only Mother Nature herself could have ordered. No lie, I felt like a God. But I told myself, with this piece of tacky looking costume jewelry came a responsibility. I left the coffee shop and decided to head home for the night.
I didn’t sleep much at all; I kept hearing the screams of people all around me. I began to wonder if it was the ring that brought the curse upon me, but then I thought maybe it isn’t a curse. Screw it, time to return to old habits. I sat in zazen position, as I’d been accustomed to in my days of martial arts training, and began to quiet my mind. Soon the screams became echoes, and soon I focused in on one. When I open my eyes to wake from my meditation, I found myself in the same stupid coffee shop that I had been in prior. And I was wearing that same ridiculous metrosexual all black outfit that the angel of death had been wearing during the day I encountered him. Great, I put on a ring and all of a sudden, I look like a Gothic Prince. No time to think about that now.
There was a man sitting across from me at the table at which I was seated. He was in his mid-30s, of Asian or Pacific Island descent, with broad shoulders, and Manny Pacquiao mustache that made me laugh. I reached out to shake his hand and introduce myself, and as soon as our hands grasped one another, I knew why he was here; I was supposed to usher his soul into the afterlife wherever that may be. It’s strange, I felt a link between us like I can never remember feeling with another human being. It was as if I could sense my relationship to him, as well as his relationship to everything else… and when I say everything, I mean everything. Suddenly knew what I had to do.
“You know why you’re here, don’t you Ramon?” I asked in a calm tone.
“Yes, God has decided to take me home. And you are his ambassador.”
His degree of self-assuredness was startling; I had no idea what to tell this man. I had no idea how to explain to him that I had no idea where the hell he was going, that it wasn’t up to me, or even God. His judge would be the universe; fair, impartial, and sometimes even downright cold. But how do I know this? I think I’m beginning to understand why that guy needed a break. That question alone is both nerve-racking and unavoidable. I guess that explains why most people don’t bother to think about it, it makes life so much simpler. So I kept my mouth shut and got up from the table and proceeded to walk to what look like a staff entrance into the kitchen area, as if I were being led by instinct. Ramon followed me, and I opened the door and took his hand. I led him down what I can only describe as a gigantic stereotype… a long tunnel, with the light at the end of it. I kept thinking to myself, “big deal this is.” We get to the end of the tunnel, and all of a sudden the look of fear and shame flashes across Ramon’s face.
“Ambassador of our Lord, I have a favor to ask of you, though I’m not worthy to ask it.”
“What is it Ramon?”
Too ashamed to speak, I placed my hand upon his forehead, and suddenly a bunch of random events, seemingly scattered, rushed into my mind. It seems our Manny Pacquiao wannabe had a gambling problem, and he left his family with nothing. Wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong… it seems Ramon had a plan.
“You want to go back and find the money you hid away for your family, don’t you?” “But why did you hide it from them?”
Ramon sat silently for a second, and replied, “You see, I know I haven’t been a perfect man and I know that I’ve done a lot of wrongs to my family, but I won really big last time, $20,000… but I knew if my mother-in-law found out, she would take it and tell my wife that I was a good for nothing, and that I would just spend it. If that happened, they would have nothing.
I closed my eyes and tried to fix my mind on the location of the money, and before I knew it, both Ramon and I were standing over the spot where his little treasure was buried, and I could suddenly feel the energy of the universe coursing through my veins as if to tell me, “hey moron, this is the spot you’re looking for.” I reached deep within, then cleared away the dirt revealing a small box made of wood. The second Ramon touched it, we were transported to his deathbed, and I could see his spirit returning to his dying body, surrounded by his family. His family turned to look at me. Shit, I didn’t think anyone could see me. This must be part of the deal. I had to make something up, so I told them I was Ramon’s bookie and that I had owed him a payout that he hadn’t come to collect, and that judging by the situation, he wasn’t going to need it. I left the $20,000 in the capable hands of his loving family, and when Ramon’s spirit finally passed… I. guided it toward that oh so cliché tunnel. And his soul was finally at rest.
It’s been almost 10 years since that first day, and I’ve seen a lot of shit. I’ve seen a woman who wouldn’t cross over until her cat got out of a tree, I’ve seen a man wouldn’t leave until he relived his last spectacular murder of a 16-year-old girl, where he raped her, killed her, ground her body up into a fine mess of human meat, and then proceeded to feed it to the neighborhood dogs. I once ushered the soul of a Wall Street bigwig who refused to pass on, until he knew that final trade had gone through. None of this is making any sense to me. What the hell is the point of all this? I mean, one of these guys is clearly going to hell, but why are there so many different ways to end a life? Why is it that some souls want something profound and lasting, while others are perfectly content to pass on? And others still, want to have one last epic moment before they go on to the afterlife. These were things I would have to talk to death about, along with one other thing; each time that I touched a passing soul, my being was filled with energy unlike any I’ve ever felt, and for some reason I kept having flashbacks to the moment of creation… weird. One day left, and one more soul to collect.
As I have done countless times before for damn near a decade now, I put myself into a meditative trance, focused on my target soul, and transported myself to that cliché of a coffee shop that somehow served as limbo and conference hall to the newly departed. God must have a sense of humor, because he for damn sure knew that I was way too addicted to coffee for my own good. Sitting before me this time was not an old woman, or a man who had lived well beyond his years, nor was this an individual who had clearly bore the marks of too much time under intense stress. Standing before me was a young 18-year-old girl, with skin a golden brown, with wavy hair that reached to about shoulder length. She had beautiful, big hazel eyes, and as soon as I set out to introduce myself and take her hand… I saw everything. A tear came to my eye, I couldn’t take this soul. She died of a rare kind of lymphoma, her parents subjected her to countless rounds of chemo in order to preserve her life, but it only made her sicker, the harder they fought to keep her alive, the more pain they unwittingly put her through, and the more she yearned for release.
I also saw her as a little girl, playing happily with dump trucks and G.I. Joe’s, all the while playing house, wrestling with her brothers, and throwing down on some Halo as she grew older. I saw all of her aspirations, she wanted to become a doctor and treat cancer in Third World countries. Her mission was to become part of Doctors without Borders. But she knew that was a long way off, so she told herself that if she survived this ordeal, she would become part of a cancer awareness group and talk to young kids about what it was like. And for the past three years of her life, she had been active as a counselor for a summer camp comprised of California area cancer patients. This young girl was the closest thing I’ve ever witnessed to a living saint, only technically she wasn’t living anymore. I was the angel of death, and I could not bring death to this girl. That’s the tricky thing about knowing everything about someone; you either instantly loved them, or hated them within five minutes of meeting. And I think I loved her. Or at least I felt guilty of robbing the world of something so good, beautiful, and pure. There was another thing too; I knew what she wanted in order to pass on. You see, being diagnosed at a young age, and going through chemo for so many years, had pretty much shot her immune system to hell. Most of the time she was kept in a sterile environment. She was 18 years old and had never had sex. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that. Weren’t there rules or something? I thought back to the movie dogma, and about how angels had no dicks, and I’d mistakenly chuckled out loud. Apparently, she was also special in another way… when I touched her to read her, she could also read me. She knew what I was thinking too. She knew just as much about me as I knew about her and that scared the crap out of me.
“So, is that a yes or no?” Corrine asked impatiently, her voice was surprisingly angelic. Her words seemed to float from her mouth, like the notes of an outdoor orchestra floating into the midnight air.
“I don’t know. To be honest with you, you scare me… a lot. I’ve never had anyone read me before, not in my entire life. And the truth is, with you knowing so much about me, and I about you, I don’t know of any other response other than to love you. But it seems stupid, we have communicated mentally, with the other 50% comprising of a mix between verbal and nonverbal communication apart from that, it’s been two hours… by now I’d normally be home and finished.”
“Don’t you realize that you’re a treasure to this universe too? And to me? You’re the only person who hasn’t looked at me as just some pity case. And the worst part is, I don’t even know if I can technically call you a person. I mean, you are the angel of death after all.” She looked down slightly, searching for courage.
“Only for another 24 hours.” I thought to myself.
“You thought your life had no meaning before, that creepy guy really gave you a gift. You’re different now.”
I finally decided to speak, “you know, if we decide to do this I don’t know what will happen to me, but I can tell this is what you really want. And all I want is for you to know that before you died, someone somewhere loved you deeply.” I closed my eyes, and tried to find a suitable location, and before I knew it, we were there. The walls were a rich blue, with white crowning. And the sheets were made of silk and had the same tint of blue. She stood at the front of the bed and sat down as she slowly made her way out of the black-and-white polkadotted camisole and blue jeans she was wearing. I’m not going to lie, she had the perfect body. Every inch of her was golden brown to perfection, with a complexion reminiscent of the smoothness that is apparent in the most perfect cup of hot chocolate. She undressed me, and we made our way to the bed, and I kissed her lips gently. Her lips were soft as velvet, and as moist as freshly picked strawberries and equally as sweet.
I gently bit her ear lobe as I stroked it gently with my tongue, I kissed her on her neck, and as I pulled my lips away, and gently blew cool breeze onto it. She bit my neck in the excitement, this girl is a natural. I gently kissed her collarbone as I placed my hands upon her breasts. Gently caressing, when my mouth had finally reached her left breast, I bit her nipple ever so slightly, and she moaned with utter delight… such a sweet sound. I slowly made my way to the area just above her heavenly flower, and kissed it slightly. Her back arched with anticipation, and I began to massage her clit with my tongue and she instinctively placed her hands atop my head, and pushed my face in deeper, and I slid one finger into her slowly moving in and out. I could feel her becoming more moist, and it was becoming harder to control myself… I have never tasted anything so delicious in my life. I went back up for air, and I kissed her again and whispered in her ear that I loved her. When I can no longer contain myself, I entered her and we ravaged each other like rabid animals that have not seen a member of the opposite sex in months, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth for me anyway. When we finally came, I laid my head on her chest to listen to her heartbeat. And it slowed to a crawl, and then suddenly, it stopped.
Her soul was ejected from the body once more, and she thanked me. I guided her down the tunnel, as I have done every other soul before; but this time, I told her that I would miss her.
“I’ve never felt as connected to anyone as I have with you.” I said aloud.
Okay, first of all I can’t believe I said that. I’ve never been known to say anything like that. But I have to admit it even to myself, it was the truth. And if I had denied it any longer, I knew I would grow to hate myself eventually.
Corrine looked at me lovingly and said, “I know, it was the perfect moment.” And with that she disappeared, and for that matter, so had I.
I was back in that godforsaken coffee shop, with the original angel of death sitting before me.
“Well boy! That was a wonderful week off you gave me. So how did you fare?” He asked feigning seriousness.
“You and I both know that you have no need to ask me that.” I said self-assuredly.
“Oh, I see you have learned a thing or two. I was beginning to wonder whether or not you’d ever get the hang of this. You were such a mess when I met you. Oh, and that thing with Corrine, perfectly fine. No worries. I’m surprised you did it, actually. I know the first couple hundred times I had that offer I refused it. But what surprises me more, is that you did it out of love rather than lust. When I met you, you were so obsessed with sex solely for the sake of sex, I thought you would never understand.”
“Understand what?” I asked with a sense of incredulity filling my voice.
“The mystery of the human universe. Ask away boy, I know you’ve got a few questions.”
“That energy I felt when I would transport souls through the tunnel… I kept seeing the moment of creation over and over, on one with different possibilities and outcomes. Why?”
Angel of death smiled, and he motioned for me to take off my ring, or rather his ring. “You see, humans are a rather rare kind of thing. Much like the creation of the universe itself, humans are endowed with the same boundless energy that sets the world in motion. When a human being is created, and born to this earth, he or she possesses the same infinite number of possibilities as the universe, and they are always expanding just like the universe. The only thing that gets in the way are societal constraints. These are mechanisms of control that seek to tell people what they are capable of doing and what they’re not. But if these people can learn to open their eyes and reconnect with the universe whence they came, they would once again realize that life is limited only by their perceptions of it.” He looked down puzzled, and then looked up at me again.
“That’s what she wanted to teach you, you know… Corrine… the other thing you’ve been wondering about. The origin of all things that happen in this world. They all stem from love. Whether it’s a love of power, a woman, a home, or anything for that matter. The greatest heights of men, and their greatest fall; both are motivated by love.”
“Death, or I think your name is something else… so what you’re telling me, is that love is the root of all goodness and all atrocity, all at the same time? If that’s true, then we would do best to love at least one person unabashedly, and without shame. Then maybe one day, that same love would extend to those around us; with us wanting to better the lives of others in the same way that we want to better the life of our beloved, and then that will lead us on a quest to attain the knowledge that would make us capable of doing so. Did I get that right?
“Plato would be proud son, Plato would be proud. Well Zak, I really must be off, but I have something for you.” With that the Angel of death brandished a letter from his breast pocket. And then, he was gone. I unfolded the letter, and this is what it read:
I know that the past 10 years have been an ordeal for you, and I also know that it has forever changed you, and made you a stronger person. You’ve understood the mysteries that I was sent to teach you. What? You didn’t really think that I would need a vacation did you? If more of us were like you, perhaps Earth would have been a better place. We have our regrets about that. I’m glad that you finally managed to find love, even if it was with the passing soul, even angelic souls need love.
One day I will come for you, as you came for all the souls that you took in my stead. And when that day comes, I hope you will finally understand what I’m about to say. Death is not something to be feared, nor is it something to be embraced by a fool. The point of life is death. By this I mean that I will give you the answer to the question you were too afraid to ask: so many seemingly random tasks that all of the souls gave you before their passin;, what do they have in common? I shall tell you my boy. When I say that the point of life is death, I simply mean that one lives in order to create the perfect circumstances in which to die. That perfect moment, as Corrine put it, that moment that you gave her. That is all every human soul seeks, to be able to die in that perfect moment; and that is the point to life. So live young prince, so that when I come for you, together we can create your perfect moment.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Angel of Death
So what will I do now? Well, maybe I’ll go see what’s up with that tongue chick; you know, find out if she’s really worth knowing. And thank God I’m not dickless like those clowns from Dogma, Because until my time comes, I’m going to enjoy life with someone who may someday give me my perfect moment, and I don’t think she’d want a Ken doll.