Day Sixty-Five: Excerpt

by Tom Noonan

The news wasn’t as numbing as I assumed it would be.  I’d already lost sight of Mr. Grant as someone who could really die.  Dying was something kids did in high school, when they were changing a flat and got erased by a tractor-trailer or fucked around with lined coke and overdosed.  It was something that destroyed dispositions, that made you slouch, that humbled you.  Death meant something was taken; something still owned had been stolen away during the night, evaporating somewhere beyond the touch of your streetlights.  By the time he died, Mr. Grant didn’t own his life anymore, those machines did, his doctors did, his family, his nurse, his last case of beer did.  There was nothing left to be taken.  Back when he used to dress up in a patched-up Santa suit and pop by the houses along our street on Christmas Eve, his beer gut doing most of the acting, it would have been different.  But, when I finally hung up the phone and took my seat back on the bus, focusing on the trails left behind on the windows some time before by scurries of acid rain, I began to think he never even had that drink, that he knew what I knew, that he had chosen to redeem his life by actively deciding not to prolong it.  I fell asleep listening to music, imagining the lyrics were someone else’s dreams, “Now the way we hold each other so tight, would look more like a noose if held up to the light.”