If you are reading this, then I hope Death was never your friend. That was one persuasive, enabling son of a bitch.
But damn, he used to be a “friend.” He was the bad influence “friend.” He was the one who always urged me to drive a little faster down winding canyons roads and a little closer to freeway dividers, to walk on the street-side of the sidewalk, to cross at the very last second, to jay-walk, to hold my breath just a little longer underwater, to swim a little farther out into the ocean, to run down steep stairs a little too quickly, to leave my inhaler at home, to drink just a little more.
He was always there in those moments, skeletal face in the barest of glimpses of my peripheral vision, ghostly whisper in my ear. And when I listened, he was there with a bony hand on my shoulder and frosty air on my neck. And if I obeyed even further, if I grasped sharp edges and pressed them to soft skin, then his cloak of shadows would threaten to envelop me oh so softly.
Death is dangerous. He was there when I wanted him most, and he was there when I didn’t want him at all. His presence was invasive, his whispers infiltrated every nook and cranny of my mind, and I was stuck in his grasp, and his shadows hid any escape route, and all I could see was Death and every single path leading towards him. At the time, it made sense to follow those dark roads.
But once I escaped his hold, I realized how close I was to falling into his realm, how near I was to saying goodbye to Life forever. And I hadn’t even met her yet.
So I turned around and walked away, even now I can’t help but glance back and see his inviting arms, but I push onwards in search of Life and her musical laughter and bright face and shining smile and scarf made of knitted flowers and leaves.
I am always one step behind her, and Death is always one step behind me. But like you should with any toxic “friend,” I cut him out of my life and do my best not to look back.
I cannot deny that he was there in my darkest of times, but for reasons far more sinister than solace and comfort (which is what it seemed like at the time). But Death is no longer a “friend” of mine, not that he ever really was.
I said goodbye to Death, and I hope not to say hello to that bastard for a long, long time.