Once, many more years ago than I care to contemplate, a girl broke my heart and subsequently – unrelated to me – ran away to another country.
The night her plane left, I had a dream…the only one of my life I’ve ever had of it’s kind, the closest I can, to this day, say that I’ve ever come to a spiritual encounter.
In the dream, I knew it was a dream but I had to play it out. I did not know what was to come, only that it must.
I found myself in a massive, unimaginably massive canyon, in a rusty desert against an orange sky. I knew this could only be Mars.
I started walking – I don’t know how or why, but I knew I was heading west, the sun small but bright in the sky.
I left the canyon and came into a desert plain. I walked forever.
Finally, on the horizon, I began to see the shape of something…it was long, wide and dark…and as I drew near I realized it was a tar-paper shack. As I approached, it took on the L-shape of an abandoned motel. I went to the main room. The rotted door and windows were boarded up, but still I found my way inside.
I swear, I could actually smell the old, stale wood and other earthy smells of an ancient building…there was nothing but a counter, a door to either wing, and a door out back…and an old man behind the counter.
It took me a moment, but I recognized him…he was me…older, much older…but it was me.
“He’s out back,” I said to my lifetimes-younger self, “Waiting for you…like he always was.”
I left through the back door, into more Martian desert…and then on the horizon, a black shape…I walked towards it, and watched it resolve into a shadow…the shadow take on the form of a hooded man holding a long staff…proximity giving the shape detail: A skeletal, Angelic creature, in a hood and carrying an ancient weapon from which the farmer’s tool the scythe must have evolved from.
“To see Death is to Die,” the Angel of Death said to me, in a voice like dry, October leaves on the pavement. Then, he swung his scythe through me.
I’ve tried countless ways, through countless metaphors, good bad and astute alike, to describe the physical pain, the strange sense of stretching I felt as the scythe went through my chest…and failed to reap my soul.
Death stared at me a moment, putting a pondering hand to its chin. Finally, the Angel of Death spoke a prophecy to me…one I have never been sure has come true yet, or not, in that dry voice of autumn leaves dragged along in the wind.
“You cling not to Life, as you do to Love and to Hope. You will find fortune in your Greatest Wish.”
What I’ve thought was my greatest wish has changed countless times in the nearly-three decades since that…event…Some have borne fruit…most have not…and many more are those who bore fruit that withered on the vine…
I feel cheated by the Prophecy, and Death. For Death has evaded me more times than I can count, since that fateful night.
Right now, I don’t want to say what my greatest wish really is.
I’m going to sleep.