This is a little essay called “Sky’s Fantasy” written from a prompt of eight words (sky, celebrate, wright, waterfall, indoctrination, mystery, library, fantasy) for my local writers’ group:
Your indoctrination into life comes quickly after you are born. Birth is like that. Once you take your first breath, your life has begun. No going back then, unless you commit suicide, contract a fatal disease, or die accidently or by someone’s hand. Those circumstances don’t usually happen that early in life, not at that premature age, not before you know—and understand.
So, your life before you, you celebrate. You look to the sky and ponder the mystery, in awe of the library of knowledge. You pray you succeed. When the waterfall cascades, you persevere and dry your tears. Or you laugh and let your tears flow to nurture that at your feet. People celebrate with you, during those many days before your first candle—and even through your many candles afterward—until your breath is frail and you reach your last flame.
Perhaps you’ll leave your mark upon life, like a Frank Lloyd Wright who constructed buildings in harmony with humanity and environment. Or maybe you’ll be that obscure star shining from the sky—seeing everything, but understanding nothing. Yet, through it all, your star beams. Your warmth enfolds those around you. And you are loved.
And when that last flame flares, ready to be extinguished—after you’ve discovered those mysteries of life—you know your fate. But then it is too late for fantasy. You’ve wasted too long worrying and hating and procrastinating, and not enough time living and loving. The flame rises, fervid and frightening. There’s no more. That last candle looms. Your life flashes—one elongated scene encompassing many—and, as in birth, there’s no turning back. The sands have thickened and clumped. The hands of time have stopped.
Forever is forever. Nevermore, quoth the raven.
God calls. It is time. With your last breath, you extinguish the flickering flame. Those that have been warmed by your candles will be there to send you off. You wave goodbye. “I’ll see you up in Heaven,” you say, “where candles burn forever.”