Ten Seconds to Live

We were standing in the kitchen, talking. About achievement, and the stories and voices passed down from one generation to the next, about what is worth keeping. About parents and children and friends and lovers and rivers and paying attention.

He was leaning against the counter, mindlessly fidgeting with a wooden nut and bolt from a child’s toolbox; I was emptying the dishwasher, first the mugs and glasses, then the plates and bowls, the knives, the silverware. Late morning, the windows open. I’d been sitting outside since dawn. Now the sun was high.

“What would you do if you knew you had ten seconds to live?” he asked me.

I teared up, closed my eyes, then opened them again. And without a thought, I said, “I’d keep my eyes open, and I would pray, and I would say thank you.”

“You would meditate,” he said. “Meditation is gratitude.”

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