On My Last Living Day

3 min

I'm 5ft. 5in. tall, so I'm pretty sure that makes me an experienced professional in the field of keeping it short. The other stuff just takes practice  [+]

Image of Spring 2019
Image of Short Story
I woke up on my last living day. Early, if you could imagine that. I figured losing a few hours of sleep wouldn't hurt, not today. I made coffee to drink on the porch step while the sun rose. The tired machine crackled into the dense quiet of the kitchen. The house went up-and-down with the breath of my family, asleep. The steam from the coffee fogged my glasses and tasted bitter. The breeze was cold. And maybe I was also bitter and cold. I figured it was somewhat my right. I would die by next morning. Why should I be cheerful, with no time left? I had plans and aspirations the same as anyone else. I had wanted to leave this house, this town, these people. Marigolds broke the horizon, the surface tension of humankind. They would all start their cars, start their lives, but not me. 

I made breakfast on my last living day. I made a feast of continental proportion. Bacon and eggs and pancakes and biscuits. I never cared much for them. But the breakfast wasn’t for me. The truth is, I had no heart to say goodbye to my family, but I figured ‘good morning’ would do just as well. I said it the best way I knew how. They laughed like idiots and kids. The kids laughed more like animals with feral grins and open, mischievous hands. Faces were red, hair was askew. In every pair of eyes was a sheen of rose gold. I took it in with a smile.

I cleaned my room on my last living day. I swept away the dust of day-to-day. I straightened the frames on my forevers. Postcards, drawings, and pictures. Ticket stubs to snowglobe-places, snow that swirled on still in my mind. I opened up the curtains and I made up my bed. I never did that very often before. I always knew I would be messing it right back up that night, so why bother? But I wouldn't be sleeping in this bed again. I placed my childhood stuffed animal on her perch, beside my pillow. 'Childhood' is such a big word for 'yesterday'. I left the covers uneven.

I wrote letters on my last living day. Handwritten, naturally. I had five hand cramps before I was done. I wrote one for everyone I could think of and then some. Some for those I knew could never read them. Some who wouldn’t be interested. I said every thought I thought to say, and some that I’d never thought of at all. I put my loves and fears and sorrows and frustrations in a box on my desk where no one would have to go looking to find them because that’s just the worst part, isn’t it? People go looking for you when you die. It’s a twisted game of spectral hide-and-go-seek that doesn’t end until you’re ‘it’. I figured I’d give them a head start. 

I took a trip on my last living day. I drove in my car, picked up all my friends, and drove some more until the roads were new. We sang until our sinuses buzzed and said whatever came to mind. The feeling tugged and yanked and pulled, as it does, until I took another breath and leaned on someone else awhile. I felt their colors on my shoulder, a reminder of what was to come. I let myself forget and we laughed until it hurt. I saw things I never had. Would never see again. The clouds drifted by, soaking up my seconds. I knew my time was going. I wrapped the thought in foil.

I went walking on my last living day. I didn’t go walking often. No matter where to, I never thought it was safe. Safe meant something different yesterday. The sun was heavy red with dust, clouds singed magenta like candyfloss. My life, a painting. As I walked to the edge of my city, I looked back, and someone had poured hot water all over that painting of mine. The paint ran in drivels down the canvas as if it never stuck at all. Figures. The wildflowers bubbled up to my ankles and said their piece. Some a curious hello, others a knowing farewell. I walked until the last of the lamp oil sunk between the shadows of a wind farm, and then I laid with the earth one more time.

I saw the stars on my last living day. Though it felt more like they saw me, as my vision faded. What I could still feel of the breeze was warm and humid, warning of a summer storm that, for me, would never come. Any other day, I'd worry about being alone and without any way to get home but on my own in the dark. But as it was, I was too pre-occupied with leaving my body to fuss over the condition in which I did it. I began to drift away, but where to? I gathered up what little of me was still around and I said 'goodbye' to my last living day.

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