Stepping out into the dark, leaving on the last night of the second job I’ve ever worked, hearing my manager say “Good luck” and knowing there’s a sense of confidence and knowing in the way she says it. Walking out to where I left my car, six rows back in an unlit parking lot, I see it. Illuminated only by the flickering lights of nearby restaurants and passing cars, it’s there waiting for me. The truth of this moment is undeniably clear: this phase of my life is over.
Accelerating onto the highway, windows down to avoid the unreliable coolness of the temperamental A/C. With each breath that I take of this midnight air, the revelation comes. As I drive home, suddenly the subtle clarity is all I can think of: that “home” is only a stop on the way to our future. It’s a long stop, and it’s where I’ve made preparation for the rest of my life. Here I have attempted to scrounge through the piles of loose wisdom that my parents have left for me, picking and choosing the pieces of scrap that best suit me. Now I’ve taken all that I ever will, and I know it. This is my last night here.
Pulling onto the nearest cross-street, I contemplate missing my turn to prolong my time of thought, so when I arrive home, I’m not in the midst of sorting through this. I choose not to. I pull smoothly onto the final stretch, the home in which I’ve spent the last eighteen years of my life rests just ahead of me. I pull into the drive, making not a single detour because I know, I finally, finally know, that I’m ready. I’m ready for the future. My future. I only hope the rest of the world is too.
This is life happening.
Someone who falls into a coma is said to be able to hear everything that’s said around them. In fact, in many cases, they wake up and remember much of what was said to, or around them during their time spent in a comatose state. They’re just unable to react consciously. They can think their feelings, but not necessarily feel their feelings. And they’re unresponsive. Like there’s a thick sheet between them and everyone else.
Let’s imagine a man overdoses on opiates. However, by some stroke of luck, he isn’t killed. But he falls into a coma, and is unresponsive. Somewhere during this time, he realizes what’s going on. It’s going on two months when the doctors monitoring his state realize he’s showing signs of returning to consciousness. Imagine that he’s laying in this bed, still unreachable, but he hears the doctors saying that he’s coming out of it. Or at least, will be soon.
Imagine the sheer excitement, the passionate thrill that he must feel to realize that the end to this dream-state is near. To hear that he will soon be fully alive, able to feel again. Speak again. Dream again. Do again. To passionately explore the rest of his life. There are few things, if anything at all, that must surpass the sheer euphoria of that knowledge.
All he has to do is wait.
Childhood is like a long walk up a short hill. As we reach the top we see an edge and realize we’re being led toward. At the point of adulthood we are thrown from the edge and told that we better learn to fly. We swear we aren’t ready, but in life you rarely are.
So some learn to fly before they hit the ground. They enjoy being on top. Others don’t. They hit the ground and stay there. And a few catch a ledge on the way down. Hanging in the balance they dream of the sky but fear what lies at the bottom. Their fate is to live between two fates, wanting to change, but never making it that far.
So that’s it then. I guess I’d better learn to fly.
What if your heartbeat was the last thing that i’d ever hear, and what if you’re eyes are the last thing ill ever see? If you could promise me that, then on my deathbed I’ll swear, that I have lived the fullest life, the most beautifuly lovely and perfect life, that any man had ever dreamed of. And I really need to breathe, would you quit stealing the breath right outta me? And I need blood to bleed, but dont you ever dare give my heart back to me. And I have things to do, but I wont do a thing if that means letting go of you. You are the light, and my world has been dark for such a very long time. You are the truth, when ive only heard anything but, and you belong to me the way that the bird belongs to his wings, and I belong to you the way a city belongs to its king, you have my every street. You have my every heartbeat.