In some way I knew. I had it all figured out. On the morning of my twenty fourth birthday; I became Death. It was a sort of apprehension, a feeling, there really wasn't any room for doubt, no room for the imagination to run wild filling in the blanks of a conjured sort of bump an old house might make on a particularly windy night. Nothing of the sort. I just knew. The sun was warm that morning. I suspect it might have awoken me. I remember feeling calm. That day really was a day just like any other, it'd be a lie to say I remember it all very clearly. It all progressed as otherwise expected, with of course, the exception, of that one very odd little fact. Work was incredibly busy, It didn't really leave me a lot of room for idle thought.
That night I made a particularly uncharacteristic effort to catch the news. I'm not sure if I was surprised or not. There had been a bad traffic accident, at least two people were dead. What would you think? Would that be evidence for or against my morning epiphany?
I guess in a way, I had to have known what was coming, and so I decided to believe. As time passed I came to my own sort of understanding and it was as follows: despite the lack of any particular effort in the pursuit of it, I had become the world's absolute worst mass murderer. No contest. Sobering thought isn't it?
That night I decided that I would no longer watch the news, not that I ever really did before. Yelling "Over here!" when a crying family appears on the camera wondering aloud why tragedy strikes really wasn't the sort of macabre humor I could bring myself to. I guess I wasn't a very funny Death. I'd like to think I wasn't a very mean one either.
Only once did I try to soften the blow. He actually worked in my office. His retirement party was only a few weeks away, and so once more deciding to act uncharacteristically, I went out of my way to befriend him. He wasn't married, slightly overweight, practically alone in the city. A painfully average man for his age, but still no otherwise majorly obvious cause of death. I agreed to take some time off to travel with him and if you can imagine counting down the days I'm sure you can imagine it wasn't very pleasant. Still, we had fun. The last place we visited was a quiet beach: sleepy, quaint, and decidedly off season.
They asked me to speak at his funeral. It was a relatively small affair, some family, a few old friends that had fallen out of contact. Can you imagine the irony? I felt awful. Wouldn't you? That moment had made it real. Real may not be the right word for it, tragedies on the news are real too. Faint and distant they don't really effect us. No, I guess a better word would be reality. It had become a reality I was now truly aware of.
It wasn't too long after that I just so happened to happen across you. I assure you it was purely chance; crowds passing crowds. I had known how you would go, and I'm sorry to say that after my experience I just couldn't forgive you. It was an unforgivable waste. You can't make change with time and you certainly can't give it out to the more wanting. Perhaps I was meddlesome. I'd like to think that waking up on that hospital bed you're feeling a little uncertain. Maybe though, you feel just like I did, and so I wrote you a letter.
It'd be a relief for you to feel grateful to me for having given you a bit more time to rethink your decision, but in reality I have given you a terrible curse. I do not think I'd mind it very much if you hated me. Let me just say that I now know for certain that nobody would ever stay Death for very long. With this formal apology that reads a bit like a life story, I'm wishing you the best.
I do not know what you believe, but from my perspective, this may be the only chance you get to truly change things. In my experience fate is a terribly scary thing. This may be the one hickup in the way things happen. A very real magic trick, a copout that leaves a curse. It's up to you now to decide what's next. Who's next. I wouldn't squander it. I really have played an awful trick and won't even be around for you to get even. Well, maybe you don't need to. You can laugh knowing even Death gets a funeral and I can tell mine will be quite soon enough. It would seem after all, that the price of Death is death. It's all rather poetic. I like that. I think death should be poetic, beautiful. Knowing may be a blessing or a curse, I'll leave it to you to decide. Even so I wish you well.
Your one time guardian angel,