Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Will Die With Me The Day I Die?--The Witness

They say that your life flashes before your eyes before you die.

A gleaming blade.

What if you see nothing? Does that mean that your life didn’t matter?

A drop slowly forms.

What does it mean to “matter”? Who decides that? Fate? God? Is there even such an entity? Is your life worth based upon who remembers you? What if there is no one?

A rounded bead.

What if instead of what you’re supposed to do—go to college, earn a career, find a mate to marry, have kids, get the house with the white picket fence and the lovable Labrador running around in the yard—what if you didn’t do any of that? Do you then not count?

A stain widens.

Is your life worth less than someone who leaves behind a lineage? But what if you don’t leave behind a lineage? What if you don’t matter to anyone?

A trickle down.

Does that mean that all of your emotions and all of your experiences were all for naught? There must be some impact left from a single life, right?

A dull drip.

What if you impact life in a way that you don’t even realize? What if you wake up late one morning and in the rush to get to work on time, you cut someone off who was going no place in particular at no particular hurry? What if that same motorist was someone who all their life has been bullied and harassed and belittled and when one car cuts them off, it is the last straw? What if they decide they have had enough and decide to stop and pick up an AK-47 for a special surprise at work the next morning for their bosses?

A pool collects.

What if he was successful and a police officer, 30 years on the job without ever firing his weapon, had to take the kill-shot? What if he wasn’t able to cope and turned to alcohol? What if he thought he was okay to drive one night and wasn’t? What if the father of the children who were killed because of that accident was a man who was bullied and harassed and belittled his whole life and now that he has nothing to live for, decides that this was the last straw and goes out the next day in search of vengeance? Should you, who have started this vicious cycle, should you never have been born?

Or is it because that man purposefully went around speeding until a cop pulled him over so that he could shoot that police officer, all done so that the son of that slain man would grow up to join the highest ranks of government and enact stricter regulations to prevent what happened to his father from happening again? Are you to then be applauded?

What if you feel nothing? What do you see?

What will die with me the day I die? The hopelessness of my murderer staring back at me in the mirror.


  1. Brandi,

    I am very impressed and interested with this writing and I think it is the most creative one I have been able to read so far. I liked how basically the entire paper was a series of questions: questions that, although thought provoking - could still be understood and somewhat answered by the reader. The imagery of a single water droplet forming and inevitably trickling down to a puddle is a great metaphor that was a bountiful addition to your essay. I know that adam will say, "in order to improve your essay you might want to give more examples" (however true), i would also agree that this paper could greatly benefit and have deeper thoughts brought out by some more life realting scenarios and rhetorical, yet still philosophical - questions. Great Job!

  2. I enjoyed this greatly, and I'm not sure I have very much intelligent to say. Sometimes good work does that. I'm not 100% convinced that the violence here was needed – given your interest in the lack of important or necessity, a traffic accident or, say, congestive heart failure might have worked better. On the other hand, the image of the pooling blood was very well handled, so I could argue either side.

    Like Luis, who is, as usual, an effective reader, I wanted to see the end developed a little more. What you are beginnig to do, very effectively, is explore consequences and meaning from unexpected angles – our real impact may be indirect more than direct. That's good in concept and, so far, in execution, but it seems like it could benefit from elaboration (is this what Luis means by examples?): I want to see the narrator's death leading into a much more elaborate (although still not long, of course) account of the life of the politician which it shapes, for instance.

    This is excellent work, especially stylistically, and very much in the spirit of Borges – it's good enough to earn a more elaborate, and perhaps (as Luis suggests) philosophical ending.