About once a month, hopefully less, I have a dark day. I never know when it's coming, or what brings it on; a sink full of dirty dishes, another job I've failed to obtain, a presupposition, real or otherwise; a sleepless night.
I discover that my jaw is clenched. My eyes feel heavy. I want to sleep; at my desk, the kitchen table, my car. A bed is not necessary. On dark days I sometimes imagine myself dead.
But twice this week I've looked into the eyes of a dying man, trying to understand where he is. "Are you afraid?" But I don't find the answers I'm looking for. This man who spends his days in bed, watching TV, playing video games, last week went casket shopping. I can't imagine.
I try to learn from him, but it's not like the movies, where the dying offers sage advice. He has no answers either. It just is, and will soon be over. What is the lesson? "Before you die, see a show at the Warfield."
A small thing to promise.