One is cherry, one is mahogany. One has silver, one has gold. Both are embellished with beautiful carvings and intricate details. Both doors beckoning me.
From the cherry spreads a moonlight blanket, and from the mahogany, the gold envelops me in a comforting hug.
Each door is extraordinary; is there a right or a wrong choice? I should not have to make this decision, yet here it is. Begging me to choose, but no one ever told me I had to.
As with most things, time has changed me. Not only physically, but mentally. My perspective has changed.
My motivation that was such a constant, beloved friend- has deserted me.
I have always been afraid of this choice, but now that it is here, I feel nothing. Is this the calm before the storm?
As I was saying, it's so interesting how one’s perspective changes over time.
Maybe motivation hasn’t deserted me? Maybe I’m just ready to move on from this stage. This life.
It’s interesting to see your perspective change as you grow old.
Suddenly there isn’t a lot of motivation to keep living. I have my wife, my children, my grandchildren, I have everything I could ever want.
I have always been afraid, but strangely I’m not. Is this the calm before the storm? Or has the storm already passed?
My body is failing me. The doctors diagnosed me with Agent Orange last month. It has manifested in my hands, and I live in pain almost every day, unable to move my fingers much. One thing does help.
I need to wax my hands again, before it grows too painful to bear.
My hands are fine now. As I was saying, it’s interesting to see how your perspective changes as you grow old.
I have always been terrified of death. Petrified of no longer existing. I knew about the afterlife, that part didn’t scare me, but it’s that split second in between that transition from breathing mortal air, to becoming immortal and angelic.
I said there was no motivation, but I lied. I have my whole family. When I said that, I meant that I’ve had a good life, and I’ve come to terms with dying.
Always, have I been afraid of dying, but as I get closer to that day with each labored breath, it doesn’t seem as scary anymore.
When you’ve lived as long as I have, you no longer carelessly toss around the idea of death, because when it happens to you, or someone close to you, it’s no longer as far off as you think.
It is suddenly very, very real.
My granddaughter tossed around the idea of death like it was a rag doll. She would always joke about it. Death was merely a careless, far-off moment in her mind.
That was, until her friend’s father died. A suicide she told me. After that, she seemed more somber, forlorn even. The very thought of dying made her shiver. She told me so herself.
After the funeral of her friend’s father, she was more aware of how quickly life could end, and the many many ways it could.
Everything seemed hopeless.
All life was void. Meaningless.
My granddaughter explained to me what she experienced- this empty worthless feeling- in vivid detail.
She said there was a darkness that constantly watched her. Chasing her. If she didn’t do the exact thing she felt it wanted, it would close in around her.
Soon she couldn’t touch anything black. Not her clothes, not her stuffed skunk. If she touched it, the shadows would envelop her with their cold, unwelcoming fingers.
For black was the color of death. Of Shadows. It was darkness within itself.
It was the feeling, not the appearance, that got to her. It consumed her.
The storm overtook her.
Your perspective does change as you grow. Your whole view on life is altered.
Life likes to be cruel and throw unsuspecting trials your way. It tosses death around, handing it out unevenly to whoever accepts, and whoever refuses. It does not pay attention to racial, religious, or political background. It comes quickly to those who expect it least.
But sometimes it is a choice. Each of us can open the door and walk through.
Each of us can twist that silver knob. Or is it gold?
Which one leads to death?
I could open one and find out. Or I could wait and see.
I debate, staring at these doors and their magnificent craftsmanship. My fingertips reach for the silver knob. The door of the moon.
They touch the smooth, polished surface, and ever so slowly, I turn it. The door swings open, and I step through, bracing for a tempestuous onslaught.
I see my granddaughter in this room. But that can’t be. She was killed in a car accident. The one time she disobeyed her shadow monster.
Why is she here?
She shouldn’t be in this room.
However, as I look around I see that it is no longer a room. There are rocky hills with a glowing red tint to them off to one side. On the other, there are fields of white flowers. My granddaughter stands between the two, looking out over the fields of ivory blooms, but standing on the reddish rock.
“Indigo!” I call out. “Indi darling, look here!” I try to wave and catch her attention, but two things come into action. My agent orange flares up, and the pain becomes immense. The other is that my dearest Indi seems to be fixated on those flowers. Mesmerized.
I stumble towards her, but every step over the red rock grows hotter. And hotter. It burns.
As much as I want to get to Indi, she is too far. I won't be able to make it to her before these burns are permanent, or do much worse.
I turn back and run for the door. I step under the frame and slam the silver, cherry door shut. The sound makes my skin prickle, and I sit, leaning against it. I left Indi. I left her there. I should have brought her back with me.
I could go back.
I stand up and reach out to go back through the door, but it vanishes before my eyes. It was there not a heartbeat ago. I saw it with my own two eyes.
But now it’s gone.
It seems there is only one thing left to do. And so I reach for the golden door, and step through, into beautiful fields of white asphodels.
It seems that the split-second between life and death isn’t so bad anymore.
All I had to do was choose. I hated it. But what I hate more, is the silver door, or . . . what’s behind it.
My granddaughter stands on those red rocks every day. How do her feet not burn?
I kneel on the border of the field (My feet often grow tired), gazing out at the coals, the glowing embers. I see my granddaughter, a beautiful sixteen-year-old woman who died at the mercy of someone else.
Her shadow monster had placed her there.
It wasn’t her fault.
None of it.
But perhaps this was Death’s punishment for her. After all, death is no joke and comes when you least expect it.
The hurricane will consume you, and there is no going back.