Over the last couple of years, my life has sort of closed in on me. If anyone ever had excuses for that sort of thing, well, I think I qualify. It's kinda hard to carry on a conversation when you have trouble talking; it's hard to get out and about when your legs don't work today. Most of all, though, I've been saying a lot more goodbyes than hellos, in anticipation of the day when the big goodbye arrives. I don't know whether that goodbye will be The Big One or a final slip into uncommunicativeness and unawareness, but I do know that there's something of the sort coming down the pipe.
The thing is, see, that I should be there already, and I'm not. I'm no intellectual giant these days, but I haven't collapsed into a state of simplicity either. I may have trouble fishing for words, but I can carry on a conversation most days—provided that my partner has a little patience to spare. I'm not good with eye contact, but folks seem to make allowances for that, and generally seem less annoyed than I am with that little quirk. And I still have a little bit of experience, strength and hope to share with the world.
Tonight I had the pleasure of attending a little celebratory gathering. I knew exactly one person, the young woman whose achievement we were celebrating, before I got there, and I'd been out of contact with her for, wow, just a little too long. I'd almost forgotten how much I enjoyed her company, and I'm starting to believe that there was method behind that particular madness. It's hard to watch the people around you when you've told them what to expect from the progression of an illness, and the closer people are the harder it hits them. Letting people just sort of drift away with time is the easy way out, but it sure leaves holes in a life.
I was rather surprised to be invited to this little gathering, but I'm more than happy that I went. I found an old friendship still intact, and found that the reason we two, oddly matched as we are, were friends is strong today as it ever has been. She's weird in the right way, and I suppose she sees me in much the same light. She also has a number of, well, quirky friends who are every bit as weird in ways that suit them perfectly, and I've found, I think, the basis for a few new friendships.
I have been telling people for a long time now that the secret to happiness is to take the biggest bite you can out of life's fat arse. Somehow, in the rush to die, I'd managed to forget that. I should listen to me more often—I am a very wise man.