Old and Wise

by Miles Rost

88 years of life gave Emil Jacobson lots of wonderful memories.

He sat in his bed, looking out the window as the dawn started to rise. He couldn’t sleep that night, he knew that he had to write down his thoughts. He was in the last moments of writing his memoirs, “The Long Story of an Ordinary Man”. Emil had many years as a writer, and many years as a father and husband. As he went through his memories, he knew the last things he wanted to write.

To those I’ve left behind in my life, I wanted you to know that you always have shared my deepest thoughts. No matter where I have been in my life, whether it was in the shadows Dongdaemun with my brothers in arms, or in the people around Northridge after the ’94 quake, you follow my life where I go.

He set his pen down again, looking out at the garden below his window. He looked at the pumpkin flowers as they were blooming. He smiled as he saw the autumn winds lightly blowing the leaves on the trees. The tall oak tree that he saw behind the garden was gently swaying its branches in the breeze.

He picked up the cell phone next to his bed and slowly typed a message to someone listed as “Publicist”.

Stop by in a few hours,” he said out loud, with a creaky voice, “The manuscript will be finished. No need for edits. Publish it raw.”

He put down the phone and picked up his pen again. He looked at the brightening sky and smiled. His eyes became bright and glowing.

To those I leave behind, I want you all to know that you’ve always shared my darkest hours, no matter where I’d go. My sons and daughters, you saw me in the darkest of hours. When your mom passed on, when I held that 15 year old girl in my hands as she died in Northridge, when I was hospitalized after my beach house collapsed into the Pacific; you all were there for me, and saw me in the darkness. You lifted me out by just being nearby. For that, I will always be thankful.

He smiled, as he thought of his last sentences. As he thought, his lungs spasmed and he hacked. For a good 10 seconds, he hacked, his old age showing through in each cough.  Even with the coughing, he returned to a smile and he wrote again.

Shadows approached me in this last portion of my life, and I see them surrounding me. My life has been a good one, as I see it now. From being a father and being a news writer, all the way to being the old and wisened man that I am right now, I feel as though I have lived the best life that I could. It is time for the new generation to write their stories, as my generation is finishing. As the final curtain is lifted from my eyes, I can see my life in 20/20 vision. It has been good.

He put his pen down, and breathed lightly on the page. Making sure the ink was dry, he closed the book. He sat back in his bed, pulling the covers up to his chest. As the sun started peeking over the neighbors house and the hills of the small coastal town, he closed his eyes and smiled. He breathed in the air and sighed contently.

He took in one more breath, and the smile from his face slowly started to fade. He grew still and stony. His hands still holding the book on his lap, his body sat like a statue’s.

——-

Emil Jacobson looked down upon his body. He smiled, seeing the completeness of his earthly life for one last moment. He turned his spirit towards the rising dawn and smiled, as he was lifted up above the trees and above the houses. He continued to fly upwards above the earth. With a quickening pace, he flew upwards through clouds and through space. As he flew upwards, the years that were apart of his earthly life started to melt away.

Within what seemed like moments, he stood on a rocky cliff, looking out over a vast ocean. He looked down at himself and saw himself not as the old man that he was, but as a strong built young man.

“Welcome!” he heard someone call from behind. He turned around and looked at another man.

“Is this Paradise?”

The welcoming man looked at him and smiled.

“Emil, welcome to Paradise. Your arrival is the talk of the folk here. Let’s go meet them, eh?”

Emil smiled at Paul, and joined along with him as he walked from the rocky cliff over to other heavenly folk.

He had arrived.

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