The old man and the sea

Once I imagined myself adrift at sea in nothing but a tiny sailing skiff.  The sky was roiling with a thunderstorm and the waves surging against the weak hull.  At the bow was an ancient, withered man — me many, many, many years from now.  “I need you,” he said to me.  “Only you can bring me to my destination.”

As I piloted the skiff toward a distant shore, he outstretched his arms and seemed to embrace the storm, the raging sea, the uncertainty.  He bathed in the splashes of saltwater and laughed.

Finally, we landed on the beach.  Further up the shore was a jungle, into which we walked, he leading the way.  We talked like dear old friends until we finally came upon a cave.

“I have arrived,” he calmly declared.  Then he turned to me, and with a warm smile in his eyes, said, “We lived a great life, didn’t we?  Full of passion and friends and lovers.  Thank you.”   Then he turned back to the cave, took in a deep breath, and walked steadily into the darkness.