The Way to Go

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I've had an image of an old man, who takes small shuffling steps, who is mild and invisible, orchestrating his own dischordant death in broad daylight. He shuffles down a relatively quiet city street of his home, through a busy tight apartment building, down its claustrophobic halls to the roof. The movers he hired earlier that day, under the pretense to his neighbors of finally moving to the country farm to prance in the fields, have a pulley all set up to get his threadbare furniture down through his luxuriant bay window. His piano is hanging outside the building from the pulley assembled and braced on the roof. Slowly, with arthritic hands the geriatric suicidal saboteur connects a release lever to five stories of stiff twine.

He shuffles back down the cramped stairwell to the sidewalk, one step at a time, carefully using the railings and his cane near the false step on the third floor. He steps out into the sun, the same one that illuminates the dust floating in his ancient apartment. He shuffles to a spot under his window, three stories down. Tulips grow there during the spring, dandelions sublet during the summer. He turns around, with the street on his left, people brushing by on the sidewalk. A few feet away he is passed faster by cars with anonymous drivers. He waits patiently for the side walk, pretending to be senile. The sidewalk takes 90 minutes to clear. He takes as deep a breath as he can manage, puts on as big a smile as he can manage. He tries to think of people to say goodbye to as he realizes that he is about to say hello to every ancient face that came to mind. And then he pulls the rope.

I thought that old man would be me. But Yelena proposed 'overdose of knowledge' as the cause of my death and now this dream must fade as I paint a new portrait of the end.