Before I Die
Written as part of Sadje’s What Do You See? picture prompt.
They sit outdoors, huddled in crooked rows;
The octogenarians and septuagenarians.
They have aged gracefully;
The bitter-sweet embrace of a life well lived.
One foot closing up on the grave and one smugly here;
Some holding on to dear, precious life,
Some impatiently waiting to kick the bucket into light.
Their instructor for the day is a ruddy fella from East Coast.
He speaks about death and dying with ease and elan.
Though they have seen it all,
Up-close, and as personal as it gets.
His job is to inject a glimmer of hope,
To spark up the insipidity of their lives.
He explains how death and birth are preciously entwined
Hand in glove.
A circle of life, merging with the divine in mirth
A process of becoming star-crossed and stardust.
And if there was that one last wish to be fulfilled
What would it be?
Before our lights go out to die.
He invites them to the board;
“Before I die I want to….”
Mr. Dash walks with an upright gait and measured strides and writes:
“To dive into my darkest desire of skinny dipping in a crowded beach.”
The gaggle of oldies laugh out loud.
Some roll their eyes in dissent.
Mrs. E. Nair hobbles with her crooked walking stick.
“To meet my grandchild, and my estranged daughter.”
Everyone lets out a deep sigh.
Mr. Ramchandran meanders in, on his wheelchair.
His attendant writes on his behalf:
“To walk unassisted with Stella, one last time.”
Mrs. Anjana Bose in her crisp, cotton saree, ambles over.
“To eat my favourite Roshogollas* from Rash Behari Avenue, Calcutta.”
Everyone giggles in glee.
Ms. Sudha Gaekwad who has always lived a solo life, writes,
“To ace baking, gluten free and vegan banana breads for my sister’s, sweet granddaughter.”
Mrs. Lata Varma’s unsteady hands scribble:
“To visit the Golden Temple.”
A few nod in hopeful assent.
Mr. Rebello hops, skips like a musical note, only to write:
“To watch “It’s a Wonderful World.” for the 99th time and then the 100th!”
Many a quivering lips curve into million dollar smiles.
These wispy wishes and unfettered desires;
Some floating in the air, some scrawled on the board.
Everyone yearns and deserves a loving good bye;
A life loved and lived, better still wondrously cherished.
And sometimes all it means is to simply watch the clouds float by,
Without much of a hue and cry.
Before we close our eyes and die.
*Roshogolla/Rasgulla: A popular Bengali-Indian sweet syrupy dessert.
Here’s the writing exercise which I mention in my comments below that we can all do for ourselves.
I am still to do mine. 🙂
What would I do if I just had:
- Last 9 months of my life
- Last 9 days of my life
- Last 9 hours of my life
- Last 9 seconds of my life