*

I sometimes believe or want to believe that I can wake up from this dream. I sometimes think that they’ve got to be kidding, that there’s just no way things are the way they are.

I don’t know how to understand the luck I’ve been blessed with so far. I don’t understand why I sometimes believe that because I’ve been so lucky so far that I’ll continue to be lucky. I think that’s what everybody thinks, until the big smackdown. I mean, you can take that Jack Abramoff for example. Two years ago he had no idea he was headed for a fall, and now he’s going to prison for six years. And, sure, he did it to himself and I don’t even feel sorry for him. But a million times a day some kid gets hit by a car or a girl gets cancer or a dozen machete weilding men hack their way through a village in the jungle, leaving behind a pile of arms and legs and headless bodies and who saw that coming? Who went to bed that night under a thin blanket and a wide sky of stars thinking that they’d soon by lying in a puddle of their own blood while they watched their children slaughtered next to them?

It always happens somewhere else.

*

In this shooting a couple of weeks ago this Grandpa was eating with his wife and the little granddaughter when a man came in and started shooting at folks. The old guy gets shot in the leg and just sits there in the booth, bleeding. His wife tells him

“Oh relax, Jim. Nobody ever dies from getting shot in the leg.”

Of course, the bullet transected his femoral artery and he was dead two minutes later.

*

I remember holding this girl’s head still after a car wreck and she was probably sixteen. In a car with a bunch of friends at lunchtime and the driver was speeding and lost control, flipped the truck over and out they flew all over the road.

Anyway this girl, she wasn’t hurt too bad. A busted leg or something, and a cut on her forehead. A little trickle of blood running down her face and onto her shirt. But she trembled like a bird in my hands. She was shocky and breathing ragged, her eyes jittery in her head.

She never saw it coming.

*

That Dobyns was talking about how somewhere the hole’s already dug, the shovel is leaning against the wall.

Maybe the guy that digs your grave hasn’t been born yet.

Yeah, that could be.

*

One of the things I love best is to get in bed with my wife and lie there in the dark and feel her body close to mine, the heat of it and the way we fit together. Then I remember the most isolated and lonely moments of my life- standing midwatch at the helm of the cutter in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska, heavy seas and taking on ice and the wind hammering at the pilothouse as if to rend it from the deck. Or huddled under a tree on a barricade call, peering through a rifle scope in the pouring rain, watching a shadow cross behind the drawn blinds.

The sweetness of your own bed and a whole dark night ahead of you, tied to the body of your wife as you make your slow way towards dawn and another precious day.

*

This world will break your heart.

You’d better demand that it does.

*