The Walk Home

          I told the doctor I wouldn’t be seeing him again. “No, I guess
you won’t,” he said. I walked out the door feeling really good. Of
course I knew I was going to die, but still the day looked bright to
me. I walked down to the water. Ducks were circling around and about.
A sailboat sailed by. I walked along the shore. The sun beat down
on me. I felt as though I might live forever. I sat down on a bench
and watched the joggers pass. A pretty blonde walked by and I said,
“Hello.” She looked at me and said hello. A man with a greyhound
on a leash walked by. I got up and started to walk. A woodpecker
was pounding on a tree. An airplane flew over, leaving a thick trail of
smoke. I left the lake and walked on up the road. I crossed at the
streetlights and crossed the bridge. A car swerved to miss me. I
thought, that could have been it, the end right there, but I walked on,
bravely dodging the cars. When I got to the residential district, I
felt relieved. There were large elms and maples overhanging the street,
and people pushing baby carriages. Dogs ran loose everywhere. A man
stopped me and asked if I knew where 347 Walnut Street was. I said
I didn’t. He said, “Oh well, it didn’t matter anyway.” I said, “Why?”
He said it was a funeral notice. I walked on, bumping into a fat lady
with a load of groceries. I said I was sorry. She kept going, dropping
a load of grapefruit. Then, further on, there was a giant explosion across
the street. Police and firemen were there right away. It appears it
was a gas main beneath the shop. No one was there, luckily, but the
firetrucks had their hands full. I left before it was out. The shop
was pretty much destroyed. When I got home I was tired. I made
myself a cup of tea and sat down on the couch. I thought about calling
my mother, but she was in heaven. I called her anyway. “Mom, how are
you doing?” I said. “I’m bored. Don’t come here. There’s nothing to
do,” she said. “Aren’t there angels?” I said. “Yes, but they’re boring,”
she said. “But I was going to come see you,” I said. “Go to hell, it’s
more exciting,” she said. I had fallen asleep with my teacup in my
hand. When I awoke I realized I had thought it was a phone. My
mother would never be so sarcastic about heaven.