You know you’ve officially reached middle age when people you knew in your youth start dying of adult things like heart attacks and cancer. I got an email from a friend today; a man who’d graduated with him, with whom I’d ridden to school from 7th through 9th grade, died recently of cancer.
He wasn’t a friend and I never really knew him, even though we were sitting next to each other practically every day for three years. (In other words, there is absolutely no need for expressing any condolences.) I didn’t dislike him, but I didn’t like him either. I can’t say I’d even thought about him one single time since he graduated the year before me more than 25 years ago. But, by all accounts, he turned out to be a good man, a good Christian, and a good father.
And yet, it seems impossible that he could be in his forties, lead alone dead. When I think of him now, I still picture a slightly overweight blond guy, 17 years old and of average height, wearing a t-shirt that is a little too tight and an air of calm superiority. Of course, when I look in the mirror, I wonder who that weary-eyed Lovecraftian monster staring back at me could be.
Our time here is short. Make the most of it, in the knowledge that one day you’ll be accountable for it.