The Edge

Every day we march closer to the edge.

One by one, our uncertain steps, though they may aim elsewhere, take us forward.

We watch those ahead of us in line. Their steps never falter, though we might wish them to.

Then, they drop from view.

And still, we march forward.

As we do so, the scenery changes, slightly.

As we grow closer to the edge, we begin to notice the landscape beyond.

We find that we do not really want to go.

Still we march forward.

Once we are close enough to notice the details of the edge, we begin looking back.

We see the faces behind us, their fear growing with their understanding.

We envy their place in line: they have so much more time.

They envy ours: our suffering and uncertainty will be over sooner.

We begin frantically to distract ourselves with word games, songs, banter, and reminiscence about our favorite commercials.

We are still moving.

Now we are quite close. A roar, like a waterfall, can be heard from beyond the edge.

We have to sing louder, laugh harder, just to keep from sobbing.

Some fall to their knees, and yet still are carried forward.

Some go over in a furious struggle, facing backward, refusing to look, angry at the arrangement.

Others pump their fists, or scream, or make obscene gestures.

The person in front of me bows her head, briefly. She has long, dark, wavy hair. The stray hairs tremble in a breeze from beyond.

She slowly spreads her arms.

I am next.

I look over the edge.

There is a radiant smile awaiting me, on a face I have not seen in decades.

I look back, and blow a kiss to my children.

I look ahead, and let myself fall toward the embrace of all who have awaited me.

--Mr. Gobley


Alison said...

This reads like a dream ...

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Beautiful, Mr. G. I'm reminded of a parable told by the Zen writer Charlotte Joko Beck in her book NOTHING SPECIAL: life is like a man falling from a ten-storey building. When he passes the fifth floor, he says, "So far so good."

karen said...

I never used to be aware of the Edge- it was beyond Time's peripherel vision. Now, i think- what if my daughter ends up dating my first love's son? What if I leave my house and never return?

It also makes me think of elves- they age backward. Born old-born? And the youngest among them the wiser. I wonder about their thoughts of the Edge?