I keep a skeleton with me. Wherever I hang my hat, I hang my skeleton. It is an old halloween decoration that belonged to my grandmother, a silly plastic little thing, but when you look at it, you sometimes see that reflection you see when you look in the mirror with the light off.

It is there to remind me of Death. I read once that in buddhist monasteries, they will often keep a human skeleton in the corner of the meditation room, to remind the monks of their mortality. Waiting, patiently, just out of view. You you can deny and delay, you can stare it down all you want, but you can't win a staring contest with a being that has only dark sockets where they eyes should go.

It scares me, sometimes. Other times it is a comfort. It is difficult to explain the comfort I feel at this grim inevitability. Carlos Castaneda's fictonial Don Juan summed it up like this: "Death is the only friend who will never lie to you." Eyes lie; dark sockets only wait, and receive.

I have some questions for him. First I wondered why, but that is no longer a question for me. The lack of reason, the inevitability, I have accepted. No life without death. But the suddenness scares me. I am afraid of dying before my time. He is not waiting some time in the distant future -- he is with me in each place, observing from the wall as I sleep. He could choose to step in, receive me, at any time. But he never tells me when -- no warning and no remorse. This is where the raw fear comes out -- I would give so much to know that I was safe from him, for a short time, as I used to be safe.

But it is after these moments of greatest fear that I feel most alive. His eyes are the holes that ultimately swallow all I create, good and bad. They even swallow the fear itself.

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