“Am I lost?” Excerpt from “Man in Landscape”

Oh, this damned cough. Out, out, damned cough. I’ve had it for a year. A year? Good enough. A year. I’m sure it presages my death. One more indication of my time passing. Time still operates in its normal way when death is involved. Death is time’s master. Time is but his handmaiden, marking off the ticks of the clock, the long winding down of another life, chucked off into the nothingness of history. I could go to a doctor. I still have some privileges from my former life of faithful service. (Oh, yes, “faithful service”. I wonder if they know about these words? Do they? Well, if they do, they consider them harmless enough. But they can’t discover them, can they? I never leave the room. This is my world entire.) But, what’s the point? A prolongation of a few months? For what? I just need enough time to finish this. Enough time, and then time will be immaterial. I will surrender myself to the transcendent. (That’s a word which, dear reader, may have been expunged from your vocabulary. But maybe it will be rediscovered. Perhaps, at last, the clouds will part.)

***

My mother lived just long enough to see the new dispensation. My father died years before, but not so soon as to not know what was coming down the pipe. It was all quite evident. After a period of spring, winter came down howling, as those who begrudged any openness, any freedom, rebelled. Of course, those who rebelled were those who had the power before the spring: the money men, the men of power, the men of violence, who sought only their own enrichment. The men who had always ruled the world, save for a brief interregnum, when it seemed that yes, things would change, things would go the way of, well, people like me.

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