We had played a game of hide and seek, he and I. We danced around each other, but never acknowledged the other’s presence. I had expected his visit sooner. I was far from surprised when he finally came.
His strides had purpose. He was graceful. But proud? I saw no sign of such a trait. He came closer and offered a hand to me, palm up, fingers extended.
“It is time.” Death informed me. I looked into his hollow but not empty eyes and smiled.
“You took your sweet time. Where were you when I begged for you?” I asked him and stepped away from him.
“Your cries did not go unheard, but it was…”“Not my time.” I cut in dryly.
Death stepped closer and reached for my hand. I took another step away from him and placed my hands behind my back, out of his reach.
“Not so fast.” I admonished him. “If I’m to spend an eternity who knows where, at least indulge me with one last request.”
Those not empty hollows of Death’s eyes studied me. His head tilted slightly forward; a silent request that I continue.
“I want one last cup of my favorite tea and biscuits. Will you join me?” Wordless, he nodded.
I set the table with my best china. After all, what guest would I ever have more important than Death?
We sat down to Red Zinger tea and short bread biscuits. I served my guest with all the indulgence due royalty.
“Do you take lemon or milk?” I asked while I poured the hot fragrant brew into his cup.
“May I have cream?” Came his timid request.
I brought the cream to the table and watched Death pour a healthy dollop into his tea. He then proceeded to load his plate with short bread biscuits.
“I love short bread too,” I confided as I placed a few on my plate. “Please,” I encouraged, “Help yourself.”
In all my imaginings of Death, that of Death smiling with pleasure while indulging in Red Zinger tea and cookies never crossed my mind.
“Can I tell you something?” Death’s tone was conspiratol as he leaned forward. “I have met many since life was breathed into this planet. They cry, they beg, they fight, but you are the first to share a respite with me. Thank you. I will do my best to bring you comfort.”
I hesitated. I had made a friend of Death. I had a feeling I was about to lose him with my next sentence. “I want to make a bargain with you,” I admitted. I could feel Death’s warmth withdraw from me. Wordless, he nodded once more.
“I will tell you a riddle. If you can answer the riddle, I will go with you willingly. If you cannot answer the riddle correctly then you will not return until I call for you. Does that not seem fair?”
Death sat back in thought. He still nibbled on a short bread biscuit. After a moment, he nodded.
“The riddle is ‘When is Death not Death?’’ I asked.
First minutes, then hours passed with no response from Death. The sun rose and set, but no reply came. The sun has risen for the second time when Death at last spoke.
“I do not know. When is Death not Death?”
“When Death is a guest to tea.” I answered. Death laughed and I smiled.
“How do you like your eggs?” I asked.
I want to give a heartfelt Thank You to the beautiful people of Bella Czar for the wonderful video.
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