The Eternal Game
By David Seiter (USA)
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I run my hands over the pits and valleys of its surface, feeling the strength of the old oak. The rough bark threatens to cut my thin skin from just rubbing it. I remember planting this tree to celebrate the birth of my first daughter, Rose, 50 years ago. The tree is a member of the family, and many happy birthday parties and other events have been held under its strong branches.
Today will be my last day on earth. No don't think me suicidal or crazy, because I am neither. It’s just that I'm an old man and I know when my time has come. My body, once young and strong, is now failing me. I should have known better than to have tried to go outside alone at night, but I wanted to see my old friend one last time. Not only did I make it to the porch, but in a fit of determination, I actually made it all the way to the tree. Then I slipped in the snow and fell. Now I lay immobile under the tree. Quite foolish, I know. Night is quickly approaching and the temperature has dropped below zero. Silly old man, I’m dressed only in a thin nightgown.
I look at the beautiful earth through dim eyes and poor light. I forage under the snow and pick up some nearly frozen mud, rubbing it gently with my fingers. I shall miss this wonderful world that has tenderly nurtured me for a lifetime. A smile crosses my face. How much better it is to die outside in the fresh air than in that stuffy old house! I am content, and even if my broken body could carry me inside, I’m not at all sure I would go. A cold wind rustles through my being. I will freeze to death tonight, but that is okay. My battle with cancer has given me a high tolerance for pain, and I don’t fear the coming night. I think I shall enjoy the splendor of an approaching storm one last time before I join my ancestors in peace.
I'm 87 years old and have not one regret. My 64 year love affair with my beautiful wife, Audrey, kept me full of joy and ended only with her passing last summer. Her funeral, although not without some sadness, was also the celebration of life. One of the first things I plan to do upon my death is to find her in the nether world and thank her once again for her love.
During this journey, the Lord has seen fit to bless me with two beautiful daughters who remain the color and spice of my life. My head dances with visions of them bouncing on my knees, warm bedtime hugs, and their unconditional love. Lying here this evening, I am at peace with God and man. Having lived as a good husband, and the best father I could possibly be, is my legacy, and one of which I’m truly proud. Sitting daily in church, I have often thought of meeting God. Perhaps we will walk together in another dimension across this very field, and speak of things that were and things that are to be.
It's beginning to snow. I can no longer feel my toes, and my hands are almost numb. I take a deep breath of cold air, as if inviting an old friend into my home for the last time. Goodbye my beautiful daughters, Rose, and May. Your mother and I brought you up to be good, strong women, and I know you will carry on my work. Dear Audrey, seeing you on the other side shall be glorious! Oh, and goodbye Bill, my brother and best friend throughout life.