From the author: This short vignette marks, symbolically, a fairly recent paradigm shift in my life.
They're walking with us, surrounding us almost, as we move down the winding path towards the shoreline. We don't talk. We're sad, but calmed by the inevitability that hangs over us. I don't know what higher power has decided that it's time for me to go, or why, but it doesn't really matter. In these last few minutes, the only thing that matters is that you're here with me to say goodbye. You frown, looking down at your feet as we walk, with that look that means you're trying not to cry.
I know before it starts how it's going to happen, and I already feel the cold even though I'm not yet in the water. Either I'll walk into it, or it will reach up on its own, onto the sloping beach to slowly engulf me. My dress will become waterlogged and heavy. The water will rise and rise, slowing my forward progress and numbing me even more. I don't seem able to speak. I wonder dimly if I can write one last message, enclose it in an airtight bag so that will become a message in a bubble, bobbing nearby.
The others have gradually dropped away, giving the two of us our privacy. You hold my right hand in both of yours, raising it to your mouth to kiss, looking deep into my eyes as you do so. I am sad. I am calm.
I am so very, very sleepy.
This story originally appeared in Visions with Voices.