Interrupting my writing of a new novel I feel compelled to report the brief phone conversation I had with a terminally ill high school alum (class of 1956), diagnosed to have only a few days to live, if that.
“You are a fighter and will fight your way out of this,” I say, though keenly aware of the hollowness of what I say. “Anything to tell the boys like what you would do first thing once you get up and walk out of there?”
“You want my deathbed confession, right?” he grumps.
“No, no…” I protest.
“Don’t lie. I know my end is near. I would go in peace wherever I am going if only I could visit with those I have been mean to and ask for their forgiveness. But there are so many of them, mostly deceased but some still living, starting with my parents, grandparents, siblings, alums, …”
The phone goes silent and then another voice comes on.
“Sir, I am his daughter,” she says. “He has no strength to keep talking. Thank you for your call.”
“Sure. Tell him we K boys all love him and are rooting for him,” I hurry and hang up.