Launched into Eternity

For my grandmother, may she be with the angels she believed in…

***

There is a great precipice not far down the road. An open chasm that seems to go down for an eternity. All along this route you’ve wondered how you got to this point. How many roads did you take to lead you here? How many did you ignore that would have taken you away from this point? Or perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered. There are some who believe in predestination; the idea that no matter what we do or say or conceive of, we are doomed for a set course that cannot be deviated from. You wonder if there was ever a choice at all.

You walk along the dirt road. The sun is right over your head with no cover of a cloud. You feel sweat dripping down your forehead. The bead runs down your nose and gathers at its tip before dripping off. Your clothes cling to your form, they feel like they’ve melted into your skin. You’ve heard it said that the desert is a dry, empty place devoid of life and that it brings death to all that traverse it. But along this road, that hasn’t been your experience. Rattlers sing in the moonlight and cacti jump to the beat of your steps. Owls burrow in old trees and lizards and scorpions take flight across the arid landscape. This is their home, they can all survive here, and as a human, you can adapt and find beauty in an otherwise ugly atmosphere.

You thought you’d be there by now. It didn’t seem that far off when you started walking but there are still miles to go. You didn’t think it would take this long and you begin to feel tired. You’re ready, but still your feet carry you on. Your shoulders droop with the setting sun and you start to stumble, kicking rocks and nearly falling. You begin to wonder if you want to reach the end or not. Is it even your choice? Finally, with the setting sun behind you, you peer over the edge and suddenly you’re afraid.

What you thought was a void of nothingness is the galaxy peering back at you. The stars above your head match the ones you see below you, but so much closer. They shine with a thousand different colors that you’ve never even heard of. You think you can hear them sing. You’re no longer tired but you’re still unsure. Is this your doom, or your salvation? For a long time, you stare into the depths, and think of all that you’re leaving behind.

In truth, your decision had been made long ago, and by a force stronger than you. It’s not something you can run from, and it’s not something you should run from. Everything has its time and its place. It ceases to matter. You’ll do what you have to whether you want to or not, but it’s ok. You’re not worried, or afraid anymore. It’s time.

You jump.