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OPINION: The Last Time

June 17, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Over the past few years, I have found that life with all its subtleties has gotten in the way of living. Therefore, and it has been some time coming, I made a decision to savor the experience of living rather than devote treasured time contemplating the complexities of life.

There have been moments in my life, so very special moments in time, when I knew that the moment would never come again. But then I suppose that's what made those intoxicating moments and their memories so very, very special, and that's alright.

There are times when, and in the evening as the sun rests in an orange sky just above the tops of the trees, I find that one solitary tree captivates me. There is nothing particularly unique about the tree. In fact, it is quite ordinary and much like the others a short distance from it. But there is just something special about its shape, or the color of its leaves, or maybe just its impulse to grow apart from the others.

If there should come an evening when I stare into the orange splashed western sky and find that the tree, that solitary tree, is no longer sprouting from atop the hill, well, that's alright; I have gazed at the beautiful tree many times before.

I once felt the soft breeze as it touched my face then moved on. I have seen that gentle wind as it moved through the treetops only slightly moving the leaves to and fro. I stood motionless as it moved quietly across the meadow and watched as the moving air moved the tall grass as if the movement had been choreographed. I didn't know where the wind was going and maybe it will never again touch my cheek, but that's alright.

I stood alone in the field with my face looking upward toward the night sky as the light from a million sparkling points fell upon my eyes. The night air was cool and, although the music of the serenading cicadas came into my ears, the sound became almost unnoticeable as I tried to count the many softly glowing lights that decorated the black sky. If that was the last night I looked into the great expanse of the dark sky, well, that's alright; I have seen so many stars.

I remember the cooling summer rain that once fell on the back of my neck. Those welcomed drops softly fell on me but only for a moment. I guess the rain somehow knew that summer rains don't last long. I suppose I may never again feel those cool droplets of moisture, but that's alright.

Is this the last time I'll gaze into the mirror and wonder where the little freckled-faced boy went; that curious and naïve little red-haired boy? I sometimes can't recall him as clearly as I once did as it has been many years now since he went away. But if I never see his face again, well that's alright, because he had a wonderful time here.

I recall dreams of the wedding to my high school sweetheart. I remember the good things in my life like the birth of two sons and, although I choose not to dwell too long on sad things, there are dreams of funerals and deaths. If last night was the final night of dreaming, that's alright for I have dreamed enough for one lifetime.

I guess it just isn't meant to be. I cannot know when that last time might come and I find that a shame. You see, I want to appreciate that moment more than any other. I want to remember all the wondrous things and places I've seen and I want to see the faces of all the people I once loved. I suppose I want to somehow let them know that I never forgot them and in that final moment, I was thinking of them. But I know my fate isn't for me to know and that's alright.

No thing and no one can last forever. I would rather smile when I think of the last time I saw my friend than let sadness fill my heart when I consider I will never again see her face. Maybe this is the last time I will think about her. But that's alright, as I will never feel the stinging sadness that comes over me when I think about how much I miss her.

I have learned to push the regrets of lost moments aside and cherish the wonderful moments that once were; and do you want to know something, that's alright.

Maybe these are the last words I will ever write. Possibly, if not now, some day, some time and in a twinkling of an eye, that moment will come. Well, when that time comes I will remember how wonderful it was to have shared my life with you, and that's alright.

Stan Fine is a retired police officer and Verizon Security Department investigator who, after retiring in 2006, moved from Tampa, Fla., to Noel. Stan's connection to Noel can be traced back to his grandparents who lived most of their lives there. Stan began writing after the passing of his wife Robin in 2013. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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