Biographical Non-Fiction posted February 12, 2024

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Two friends talking.

Love. Life. Death.

by Terry Broxson

"When was the first time you fell in love?"
"Does the fourth grade count? Her name was Susan Dollberry, if it does."
"No, nothing counts until after high school unless you married your high school sweetheart." 
"I didn't have a high school sweetheart. I had two, maybe three, while in college. Well, Lou Ann and Linda, for sure. But technically, Susan, not Dollberry, happened after we graduated, and it only lasted a week." 
"A week? That doesn't sound like love to me."
"You weren't there. We had a very tense week of romance. It followed the breakup with her boyfriend, Lynn." 
"So it was a rebound thing for her, huh?"
"No, more like a blocked shot, and I took her away from him."
"It only lasted a week?"
"Yeah, she went back to law school, married a couple of guys, and became very successful. I got a job and never saw her again."
"Sorry, but none of those relationships sounds much like love to me. Do you still think about them?"
"No, Lou Ann, Linda, and Susan have all died."
"Interesting. And your wife died, too."
"Yep, more than five years ago now."
"I know you loved her."
"For a long time, soon to be fifty years. I don't think it's possible to unlove somebody."
"Sure it is. People fall out of love all the time."
"I know they say that, but I'm not so sure. It never worked that way for me. I think the girls I dated in college were like romances. Love never fully bloomed, as a poet might say."
"So, if it doesn't last, it's not love."
"Something like that. Love needs some roots to make it grow. Time can be important but not essential."
"You know weeds can grow roots, too."
"You're getting philosophical on me now. First, we were talking basketball metaphors, and now we are talking weeds and flowers. I'm just saying love can be a process."
"So your only real love was your wife."
"No, that's not true."
"What, you met somebody new?"
"No, I dated someone for a couple of years before I met my wife. There was never a question that I loved her."
"I didn't know that. What happened?"
"After two years, she told me it was time for us to move in new directions. She broke my heart, but time and a new love conquered all."
"Is she still alive?"
"Oh yeah. She married after a while, had kids, and now has some grandkids. She has had a happy life." 
"So, you're still in touch with her." 
"Sort of, Christmas cards and email here and there. I haven't seen her in fifty years, and I doubt I ever will." 
"But you said you could not fall out of love. Are you still in love with her?"
"I've never fallen out of love with her—or my wife. The death till we part thing means I have to die. Somewhere, it's in the fine print of life." 
"So, you ever think about dying?"
"Oh, sure, when you get as old as me, you think about it a lot. Old guys like me gotta get our affairs in order, and I'm not talking about matters of the heart."
"I get it. You mean money, and who gets it?"  
"Yep, not much family, but we figured out a plan years ago. I haven't seen any reason to change it."
"What do you think dying will be like?"
"Not sure. I hope I just don't wake up one morning. But a word to anyone who finds me. I don't wear pajamas." 
"Good to know. I'll be out of town that day."
"A little while back, I woke up in the middle of the night. A bright flash of light woke me. It was like an electrical short had occurred. The light disappeared real fast, and I thought, this is it. I couldn't move my arms. Slowly, I rolled over and looked at the bedside clock. I knew then I hadn't died."
"Did your life flash before you?"
"No, nothing. I just thought it was over, and then it wasn't."
"So, no great insights."
"Only love, life, and death, Yogi Berra said best: It ain't over till it's over."    

Dialogue Only Writing Contest contest entry


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