I am standing in a line with all the others. There are about 50 people in front of me, and thousands more behind me. I worry about what I am going to say. I practice my speech in my head, over and over again.
As if standing in line to buy tickets to a concert, the people around me quietly start chatting and sharing stories. We wonder what our fate is going to be when we finally reach the long white table. Someone states that one of the questions will be, “What did you do yesterday, and what would you have done differently?” After thinking about it for a few minutes, this is what I prepare to say:
What did I do yesterday: I cleaned the bathrooms and vacuumed the living room. I fed the dog and prepared for my classes. I watered the garden and emptied the dishwasher. I watched the news on TV and drank a half bottle of wine.
What would I have done differently: I hijacked my son and daughter from work and drove them to the airport. They accepted this as though it were an every day excursion. We flew to Virginia Beach, Virginia so I could show them where their father and I used to go crabbing by tying a chicken leg on a string and enticing the crabs to join us on the sand. We watched the day dawn as it rose over the water and shivered in the cool morning air. We experienced a new beginning – a new adventure – the beginnings of a marriage and life together. We feasted on fresh crab legs, Pinot Gris, ice cream, and chocolate brownies.
We boarded another plane and flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was my beginning – where I was born. The Sandia Mountains are my fortress and my strength. They stand tall and emit an ever-changing kaleidoscope of light, orchestrated by the sun as it sinks below the horizon – green, then pink, purple, then dark blue, then black. It will never falter and will always stand strong against adversity. We feasted on enchiladas, margaritas, and flan.
We drove to Lake Powell where family and childhood memories are etched into the red stone like the petroglyphs from years ago. The lake was man made, but the sheer cliffs were formed by a
I realize that I have finally reached the long white table. Everyone who was standing in line before me is gone. Beyond the white table are white clouds that are slowly disappearing into a vortex filled with yellow light. The clouds wrap around me and I move along with them.