Death wanted to play a game. He sought out a child lingering in sleep, reeking of innocence, brimming with life. He found a boy, curled up in a ball, dreaming of what could be. Death made a piece of paper, and on it he wrote a message. He folded it twice and kissed it. When the paper parted his lips, Death placed it in the child’s pocket.

He then entered the child’s dreams, and intruded. He told the boy about the paper and to never forget what he was about to say. “Give this note to the one person in your life you care most for, and only when it’s time. Choose her well, do not be mistaken. But beware when you present the note, as everything you know shall change. Your fantasies will become truths, and your truths become but a fantasy.” Death left the boy, and the boy remembered all Death said.

Only days later, the boy was with a girl in a meadow, surrounded by cypress and yellow acacia. They were laughing on the grassy ground, and their hands were becoming dirty. This girl was the boy’s best friend, knowing her all his life, and not imagining his without her in it. The boy knew that the girl was the one Death had told him about. He felt the note in his pocket, and Death’s fumes swirling about it. It is time, the boy thought. Death heard this, stopped him and said, “Is it?” The boy thought. The note shall change everything. The girl was his friend, and he did not wish for that to change. So he let go of the note and continued to play. “It is not yet time,” the boy said.

Time passed by, and the boy grew into a man, and the girl became woman. Once again, they were in the meadow, and nothing had changed. The man looked at the woman, and she brought back childhood memories. The care he felt for her back then had evolved, and blossomed into love. But she did not know. He remembered the note in his pocket and the scent of Death about it. It is time, the man knew. Death asked, “Is it?” She was the one the man wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Death heard this, and wanted to play. He sculpted a man, superior to the other, and gave him to the woman. She took him. She was happy, and her childhood friend knew it. The man thought. The note shall change everything. The woman was content, and he did not wish for that to change. So he let go of the note, and congratulated the couple. “It is not yet time,” the man said.

Decades passed by, and the man grew old, and so did the woman. Their skin had wrinkled, and their bones were weak, but nothing had changed. The man was on his deathbed, and the woman was close by, holding his hand. Not able to speak, and struggling to breathe, the man felt the note in his pocket and the presence of Death. There was not much time left, and this was his last chance to give it to her. Death hovered above the man and asked, “Are you sure?” The man was sure. He pulled out the piece of paper from his pocket, which had followed him all throughout his life, and presented it to the woman. As he did so, the man took his last breath, and Death cradled him in his arms. The woman opened the paper to reveal Death’s writing. The note shall change everything. And on it were the words, “I love you.”

Written by

Kurt Abela

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