What is a lifetime? Well, it was as long as she could remember; the actual numbers don’t really matter; it’s all relative. It was a long time to her...all her life. What mattered was that it was time to move on to the next stage of...what? What’s it going to be like over there? Obviously, she didn’t know anyone who knew. No one had ever gone there and come back to give her any news or any clues. All she had to cling to was the conviction—okay, more of a wish than a conviction—that Mother Nature knows what she’s doing.
It was definitely time to move on, no doubt. All the signs were lining up. She wondered if her experiences amounted to anything. It seemed as if it was just one day following another, each one filled with pretty much the same activities. Now and then some novelty came along and she enjoyed it, but did it mean anything? The changes were gradual, and then one day she noticed that she was drastically different and that she was older…and that it was time to go. Could she have learned more if she’d tried? Could she have perhaps interpreted things differently and grown more as a person? Pointless questions at this stage of the game.
She tried to keep her thoughts positive but they kept ricocheting off a wall of trepidation. Okay, I’m ready. This is a logical and necessary next step. There’s nothing to fret about. No! Wait! I’m not ready! Changed my mind. Don’t want to go. Not yet.
She was reluctant to leave her familiar surroundings. She was safe. She never went hungry. Her little home was sometimes cramped and uncomfortable; sometimes the plumbing made weird noises, but so what? It was home. For all she knew, the next place would be even better, but that was the problem: She didn’t know for sure.
She was assisted by a salubrious seraph (“Call me Sally”). She didn’t recall Sally ever being a stranger, didn’t remember their first meeting. It was like Sally had somehow always been there. Sally professed great confidence in Mother Nature, but Sally was sort of silly sometimes, too relaxed, didn’t take things seriously enough. Even so, you’d think that having a really cool magical helper would ease, if not erase, the anxiety. We can get used to anything, can’t we? Never underestimate a human’s capacity to take anything for granted.
She’d outgrown this place. It was time. She felt herself traveling down a tunnel. Sally called out, “Go to the light, Little One!”
Like I have a choice!
Damn, that was a bright light!
She heard Sally calling after her: “In about eight decades we’ll have this conversation again. Meanwhile, I’ll be standing by. Holler if you need anything!”
Do what? Oh, right...sure will.
Then she heard another voice, a strange and loud voice: “It’s a girl!”
I’m no longer there, but I’m still here.
------This is one of The Lonesome Wizard Boys’ Campfire Tales. You can find the others here.