Note to world # 51

It was a simple case, really: He was an old man and he died alone.

And yet, the coroner felt it necessary to assign a cause of death – possibly “heart attack” – which seemed more valiant than quiet surrender to the world and less frightening than aching loneliness. For the old man bore marks of both in the deep creases of his heart.


It was an early morning flight, a nearly empty terminal. She was one of the very few people heading toward a destination even colder than the one she was in presently. But then, perhaps in protest of the cold, she lost her shoe at the airport security checkpoint and for a moment it was a near international incident and way too much excitement for everyone at this hour.

On the security camera overhead, she saw several smudgy gray security people sleepily hurrying toward her – well before she heard them – and she cringed at the unwanted attention. She hadn’t even brushed her hair yet and now she might be on camera because of a wayward shoe wedged in the vast airport security machinery.

Luckily, when the guards arrived, looking in real life as gray and smudgy as they appeared to be on screen, they saw her haggard features and tired frown and immediately realized she was simply too tired to have plans for mischief or destruction. They halted the wheels of safety and took turns crawling inside a big black box for a while before emerging with her shoe, chewed and mashed from a turn in the conveyor belt of national defense and civil protection.

They asked to see her passport and questioned her to make sure she was the rightful owner of the sad bit of leather. They donned rubber gloves and funny masks and swabbed the torn article with special liquids and held it at different angles for better examination.

When they were finally satisfied, they let her go and she limped toward the gate, one shoe ripped and moist, to catch her plane, her flight to frigid northern climes – which was already delayed.


She attended the wake of
someone else’s mother,
knowing that her own mother
would soon be dead too, and
that it might still be easier to
grieve for this complete stranger.

She imagined that she would not
recognize her mother
in the words of the stricken visitors,
more people she didn’t know either –
that she would be the interloper,
unfamiliar herself with the deceased.

Note to world #8

She had presided over nearly every kind of failure and disaster one could have in her line of work. Luckily, they were mostly of the “hey, this is the wrong font!” or “there was a typo on page 653 in the footnote!” variety….and with LOTS of time and experience, she had now learned to have a little perspective about these things.