I was lying on the floor, thinking about death. I was gazing vaguely out the window and all I could see was the sky, full of clouds, just fat with big puffy fluffy clouds, and I wondered if death was more like a cloud or more like lying on a floor that was a little dusty and apparently needed vacuuming. I sneezed.
Out another window there was nothing to see but trees. A leaf fell, and that was like death. You appear suddenly out of nowhere on the tree of life, pushed out to the outermost edge, and dangle, flimsy and helpless, and the wind blows you around and it’s all you can do to hold on to the branch until, someday, you fall.
I looked at the ray of light pouring through the window and a fleck of dust that blew up into the middle of it, passing in and out of sight in the shadows between the panes and then finally blowing out of the light into the darkness of the room, and that was like death.
There was a table beside me and there was a book on the table, and that was like death. Once it had been a part of something full of life and energy, a tree, a great whole. Then one day death had come to the whole and torn it apart; and some parts had gone on to become this book, something else entirely, something perhaps better.
I looked at the floor beside me and saw a spider and screamed. I jumped up, ran out of the room, and grabbed a tissue. I came back, kneeled beside the spider, looked away, and jammed the soft tissue down on the spider. I crumpled it up, squeezed it tight, and held it for a minute, looking at it between my fingers. That was like death. That was how life ends, not with a bang but a whimper. Strangely the whimper was mine and I wasn’t dying.
After a long time kneeling there I got up and went outside, I dug a little hole, I put the spider in the hole, and I buried it. Then I sat for another long while staring at the little freshly-pressed mound of earth.
“Goodbye,” I said softly.