Often, when I write about something that happened to me, I cannot help but wonder about what almost happened instead. Take, for example, the time I ran into a barbed wire fence while hiking with schoolmates at camp when I was in the sixth grade, and was badly cut just below my left eye. What if it had been my eye? And how different would my life have been if one of my very best friends had not died of cancer when we were eighteen, and I had not served as one of his pallbearers? What if my uncle had not been killed in the Second World War? I was born ten years after the tragedy, but there is no question that his death was something that also happened to me. And yet, it�s easy to take his absence for granted, and the absence of the children he and his fianc� would likely have had. After all, they were never born. They never existed, except, perhaps, in the minds of my uncle and his wife-to-be, and other members of the family. Now I am thinking about them:
Dreams not dreamed,
seeds not sown,
pleasure�s laughter unfulfilled.
What makes that person walk around that corner, at that moment, just as I approach?
Why do I love you so?
Why do you love me?
Is what we think is happening, actually happening? Or is it too subtle and complex for us to see?
Moments, inextricably linked.
Beating hearts, pink rejoicing lungs.
A greeting inside each farewell.
One by one, we ripen and fall, but the tree itself lives on.
April 9, 2006
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