He and I sit on a hill.
The lake beneath us a sea of diamonds flickering beneath an encroaching sun.
The air still crisp with night chill.
Below us a distant, joyous laughter of lives starting. Of lives being lived. No thought given to the end, no thought given to the man on the hill.
“I have to go soon.”
I choke back tears and take his hand. “I know. Will you miss it? All of this?”
He looks out at the lake shimmering beneath the sun. At the people dancing around the water’s edge. “I’ve sailed those waters. I’ve walked that shore. I’ve felt the wind on my face. I’ve laughed. I’ve danced. I’ve had my moment in the sun. But yes, I’ll miss it. I’ll miss them. I’ll miss you.”
I squeeze his hand. “Are you scared?”
He looks over his shoulder. Only he can see what lies on the other side of the hill. “There’s beauty on the other side, different, but beauty nonetheless.”
“I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than this.”
“You will.” He stands, his knees crackling with age. He’s tired. It’s time.
I drop my head, the tears falling freely now. “I wish I could walk you down.”
“So do I.” He holds a hand out.
I take it and he pulls me to my feet. We embrace as the sun rises on my face and sets on his.
The air grows colder between us.
“You seize every moment.” He grips the back of my neck, holding me tight. “You laugh. You dance. And you smile when you think of me.”
I let him go, making him a silent promise. We part for the last time, neither of us looking back.
As I descend the hill the breeze dries my tears.
I take the hands of the revelers and we dance across the shores of the shimmering lake. My sadness turns to laughter and hope.
Seize the day.