Monday, July 31, 2017

First Word: Mary Judith Ress: Pencil


She penciled in the date: May 16, 2042. She’d be one hundred years old. Her birthday and her death day. Yes, ff she hadn’t died already, that May 16th would be “a good day to die,” as the Sioux were wont to say.

            She still had a few years to think about the method, so she wasn’t particularly anxious. But it would be important to go out in style—dress for the occasion. Dust off her wedding dress? Oh, dear, no. Terribly tasteless. Her shamanic robe with the chakra symbols woven into the purple fabric? Perhaps.  Or maybe she’d go in for some body paint—her 100-year-old body could surely use some color.
            She’d make her death into a ceremony. That day, she’d take a hot bath with all her favorite scents—especially lavender. She’d eat her favorite foods:  beef bourguignon, raspberry cheese cake and the most expensive bottle of Carménère she could find. But she’d have to watch the amounts: she definitely didn’t want to die of indigestion or intoxication. She wanted to die conscientiously—slipping over the threshold like a thief in the night. She’d brew something that would nudge her over peacefully. All her life, she’d been an advocate of non-violence.
            But then, once over—Yaaa-hoo! It would be her turn to float over her dead body and see who gathered to mourn her (she hoped someone was still around—a grandkid or two). Then she’d see the tunnel and the light at the end.  Who’d be waiting for her, she wondered. There was always a guide. Good heavens, what if it was Jonathan, or Petra or Doris—and they wanted to settle the score? She doubted it would be Jesus or St. Peter or even her grandmother. 
She put down her pencil and sighed. She’d just have to take her chances. 

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