It's coming, whether you like it or not.
|Ned stared down the length of the row he would be traversing in moments. He squinted and saw subdued lights at the far end. Muffled music reached his ears from somewhere, but he wasn’t sure where.
Beads of perspiration joined into a rivulet that meandered down his left temple and into the starched collar that rose from his dark suit. The collar dug into his neck, but he didn’t feel it.
Someone pulled on his arm and Ned stumbled forward, toward the subdued light. I should remember when I first saw her, he thought. I should. But I don’t remember anything.
Ned became aware of faces, a kaleidoscope of puddling eyes, turning toward him as he walked. Someone reached out to squeeze his arm. Who was that? Why was everything so blurry?
I should remember more about her, he thought. I should remember the first thing she said to me, the sound of her voice all those years ago. I should remember what she said a year ago on my birthday. But he couldn’t remember anything. His leaden feet dragged, heavier with every step closer to the end of the tunnel that stretched ahead through all the people who had come. It occurred to him that he didn’t really want to get to the end. He wanted to keep walking this way and never get there. And he wanted to remember everything about her, but his brain had frozen over and shut down.
He arrived at the far end and felt a pull on his arm. He turned and stared at a young woman in flowing white. She stretched up, placed her lips against his ear, and said, “Thank you, Daddy. For everything.”
Ned turned, took his place in the first-row pew, clasped his wife’s hand, and suddenly remembered everything.
(Word count: 300)