I sought Death.
Death isn’t an easy fellow to find, not if you’re trying that is. If you’re not expecting him, he’ll surely come knocking at your door but for me he was elusive. I’d been searching for him since I was a child. I admit he scared me but he utterly fascinated me all the same. Death was exotic and unknown. Other girls could make do with the rough and tumble boys from the wrong side of town but not me. Motorcycles and gangs, sex and rock’n’roll held no interest for me. I wanted the greatest high there was….I was a foolish girl.
I can admit that now after these long, long years. I’ve spent a lifetime, possibly two by this point, searching. And now I simply wait as the years go by. I wait and watch as the world around me changes to something unfamiliar and new. I wait alone with no one around because everyone I’ve ever known has already met Death.
They call me Donna Paura. They whisper my name in the streets as they pass by. It doesn’t matter that they’ve not seen me before, that nobody has seen me for at least 25 years, they know I’m still here. The children cross to the other side of the street when they see my house. “Donna Paura”, they say. It doesn’t bother me. Nothing can bother me much anymore. The longing takes over everything I am, consuming me till there’s no room for whispers in the wind.
The clock chimes now, three a.m., the witching hour, the hour he should appear but never does. I sit in my rocking chair bundled in quilts, the stitching wearing apart, the colors faded with age. Everything in this small room, this small house is fading. The yellow flowers in the carpet have turned brown and the red roses of the wallpaper have turned to pink. Even Old Faithful, the clock itself is starting to fade. Each chime rings fainter and fainter yet.
Then one… two… three knocks on the front door that are barely audible. I wait as the door knob turns slowly and the door begins to creak. I have no fear of what or who might be coming into my humble home. Fear leaves a person when the consummation of their being cannot be found.
He enters quietly. He does not shut the door behind him.
“You found me,” I say in my quavering voice.
“Indeed,” he replies in dulcet tones.
“You’ve finally come, my love,” I whisper unable to cry out with joy like I would have had I been young and spry.
“I must admit I was curious.”
I am intrigued. I had no idea he even knew who I was. I had assumed that we were to him what ants were to us, nothing but small, unimportant, nameless creatures.
“You’ve been seeking me for a very long time,” he says. “Did you never wonder why I didn’t come?”
“Of course I did.”
He slowly walks around my small living room, examining the few photos in frames on the walls. He pauses at one of myself taken when I was sixteen. “So young, so vital,” he reaches out and touches the unsmiling face of the girl in the picture.
“Nothing mattered though, nothing but you,” I whisper.
He does not turn to me as he replies. “You wasted your life.”
I am speechless. How could he not understand how I feel about him? How could he think that my love and adoration all of these years have been for naught?
“You wasted your life looking for what was not yours,” he says. And now he turns. “This is why I have never come for you. And this is why I will never return again.”
“But you’re here now,” I cry, unwilling to let him go. “You’re here now and that’s all I need. Take me with you and finally I can be happy!”
He shakes his head slowly. “You could have been happy long before now had you not reached out for things that were not to be had. You never understood the cardinal rule. One does not seek Death, Death seeks you.”
I stare at him utterly heartbroken, tears unable to come at this point because age has left me withered and dry.
“You have tried so long to find me and for what? You could have been living. You should have been living. Instead you’ve been dead for many many years. But you will never truly die. Not now, not ever. “
I look at him with fear widened eyes. I thought fear had no hold on me anymore but I was wrong. “I don’t understand….please?”
He gives me one lingering look before he turns to go. “Goodbye, my ever wandering soul. We shall not meet again.”
Then he is gone and I am left alone in my faded and withered room trying to grasp his meaning, trying to remember my one and only glimpse of the face of the one I have loved for so long….
And so I sit and wait for the day that will never come to me now. I was a foolish girl.