KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Micro-Fiction: 375 words

More Life

by Tim Hawkins

As the new kid on the block, I am just getting to know some of my fellow residents. (Started to call them inmates. Ha!) As I do, I notice that few seem to have achieved, or even convey the appearance of, the preternatural calm one might have expected. These are not the wise old ones you see in films, not the ones I thought I knew back in my former life, not the ones I imagined as a young man—calm, accepting, pleased to look back on a lifetime of achievement and experience, to reminisce and nod with sage wisdom, comfortable with their accomplishments and impending demise.

Instead, if you take the time to look deeper, as they edge closer to the precipice, they become more grasping and infantile, afraid to let go, dissatisfied, fearful and greedy, over-protective of the few remaining possessions hoarded into their private or shared room at our skilled nursing facility, fearful they will fall victim to some petty crime, that a staffer will disrupt their Pez dispenser collection or pocket some of their few remaining marbles.

Hungry as children for sweets and petty comforts—not enlarged, not enlightened, just wanting more: more stuff, more to cling to, more life. They ought to be walking on the high ridges of consciousness, not cringing and whimpering in the gutter of accumulated longing.

For most of us, it is the body that has gotten to be such a drag. We might all be better off as pure mind. For some time, I have felt the heaviness and sluggishness creeping into my confused twenty-three-year-old consciousness as my old arms and legs strive to do as they once did. When I am tired, as I am so very often of late, my lungs feel too heavy to breathe, my limbs too torpid to lift, and I reach for some small material consolation—even if it is nothing more than a memory:

You and I climbing down the rocky cliffs to the beach in Monterey, where we spread our blanket to feel the warmth of the new day, dozing as light peeks over the bluffs behind us and the ocean spray hurls itself toward us, unconcerned by the rage of the incoming tide.


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