From a watery beginning bubbling through a fissure in the ground, Tyler’s Brook fed the dark earth crowned with Elm trees, whose leafy arms spread into the Tennessee night sky.
The brook flows peacefully towards the southeast on it’s incessant journey to MotherSea, complete with the essence of life itself.
Somewhere south of where Theresa now lay, Tyler’s Brook would join with the grand Mississippi River!
As Theresa lay on the earth, listening to the brook speaking softly and incessantly of its wonderment of the beauty of the night sky, she noticed that the stars were winking their enchantment with what lay below them.
A breeze blowing from the south caused the Elm trees to frolic and dance slowly, before its’ advances and caresses.
She thought to herself, “How I wish to be on one of those topmost branches that tickle the night sky, breathing the fresh winds. To look upon the star-lit-earthen carpet from that height would be more than I could pray for, in the little time I have left.”
Several hours ago, as she wandered by the brook, she remembered her childhood and how it felt to have the dark soil at her back.
It was difficult to get into that same position as an elder, but she did with several grunts and one or two colorful metaphors later. She found herself surrounded by the trees, and her world lit by the pins of light, far above her head.
Just yesterday morning, Dr. Jorcheav had entered the examining room. He is a young vibrant man of fifty, who has little time for his patients. With coal dark hair, a face free of worry lines, and a personality chock full of energy, he is a man any younger woman would want.
At that moment, Theresa found him neither vibrant nor handsome. He had patronized her in the past, which she deeply resented it.
Dr. Jorcheav began with a unique question, “And how are we today, Mrs. Allison?” Though a smile played on his lips, she knew that billing time was uppermost in his mind.
“We may be just fine, but I feel like a racehorse too old to run!” Theresa replied sarcastically to him. “Now, how long do I have?”
Dr. Jorcheav’s smile fell slowly from his face, down into his chin, where it turned into a sour statement,
“If you want blunt, then I will give you blunt. I believe that gentleness goes a long way, towards easing the pain though!”
She really did not believe he wanted to ease her pain, but only to bill her provider.
“Thank you, Doctor, for your gentleness, but I believe that you are squandering the precious moments I have left with your graciousness!”
Dr. Jorcheav’s felt the heat on his face like he had spent too much time exposed to the sun or Theresa.
Dr. Jorcheav removed his gold-wire rimmed glasses from the top of his head and put them slowly over his eyes. “Mrs. Allison, I believe that you have no more than six months. You are already aware of spreading cancer. Most of the treatments we have used so far have not slowed its progress. In addition to that, your erratic heart rhythms have reappeared! You will remember that without your heart medication, your life could end in a matter of hours.”
With his left index finger, he pulled the glasses further down his nose and peered over them, into my eyes. “If! I repeat, if you had come in when the symptoms first appeared, we might have helped you. Now?” as his eyes fell to the floor, his hands came together in front of him, as if they had been apart for too long.
Theresa made note of his white coat, and cream-colored walls, with ivory tiled floors. The sheets on the gurney matched his coat, yet clashed with the rest of the environ.
She noticed the stainless steel tissue container hanging behind him, at her eye level.
There was a reflection in it. There, Theresa saw a gaunt, aged female, with white hair, bushy black eyebrows, and stark-hot fear, highlighting the woman’s old eyes.
With suddenness, surprise, and sadness, she realized that those fear filled eyes were hers!
“God in heaven, that is me!” she thought to herself.
She really did not remember leaving Jorcheav’s office, nor how she drove the car from her 3 o’clock appointment to where she was now.
Lying on her back in the forest floor, with the moon so beautiful above her, she began her recording.
“Now, as I lay here, under God’s blanket, I feel that my decision was a wise one. To replay my life, in a recording.”
“Someone will find me, I am not far off the trail at all. To whom does, my Drivers License will be found in my left pocket so you will have name and address. All my recordings, I began weeks ago, are in my dresser, bottom drawer. Most recordings will have the happy times on them, as I had a lot. Others, less than happy times imprinted on them. But, all will give meaning to my decision to allow my nature to follow its course.”
A slowly drawn breath to continue;
“This little recorder is to be given to my Grandson, Jimmie after he turns 18. He has always treated me with kindness and respect. You can find his address on the recorder. I won’t wait the six months or tomorrow for my transition. I feel it will take place before dawn, this day. This world of plastic and machines is not the one I was born to, and I won’t stay here.”
“My childhood was a good one. My memories of the life I led were the best I could hope for. My father’s bad habits will not be mentioned here as it will cause some dark memories of him to surface. Much better to let those die.”
“But, it was because of him, however, that I attended University and received my teaching certificate. I wanted to help other children through their lives, as I had needed help. I enjoyed teaching youngsters for thirty-seven years until the latest crop of Dr. Spock trained children came into my classrooms. These were the ones that caused me to retire, finally. Their lack of respect for others and ever-present cell phones lacquered to their eyes did not help.”
“I can already feel my eyesight weakening, so likely my heart is giving out like the good Doctor predicted. Please see Jimmie gets the rest of the recordings.”
Theresa had to hang on just a little bit longer.
“So, what is my take on dying? I am not afraid. I believe I have been good to all children and God, and I believe God will be good to me. Praying was second nature for me, anyway.”
“But, regardless, my life has been splendid. I would live it all over again, with as few regrets as I have right now. So, I am very tired now, and believe I will go to sleep, with one more private prayer.”
Later, Theresa became still, with her hands on her chest and her eyes on the sky. The little recorder had run out of batteries, and it too was finally still.
Only Tyler’s Brook still murmured feeding the dark earth crowned with Elm trees, quietly, incessantly, while the leafy arms of the Elm trees still stretched up to the moon and God’s blanket.
Life will continue.