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April 3, 2007
Do you train for your own death? Does a person make sure he's in good shape, that he's not tired, that he's had enough to eat and enough to drink? Does he wear an extra layer of clothing, in case the weather turns cooler?

How was he feeling? What if he had a cold? What if his head ached anyway, and then he was taken away for more pain, inflicted by people who didn't care how he felt?

Such thoughts must have been in the minds of many who loved him -- his mom, most of all, the woman who had cared for his body since he was too little to do anything for himself, the woman who had called after him for years, as he left the house: Don't forget your lunch! Did you take an extra pair of socks?

Begging him to reconsider the whole thing had not worked. We have a hint that there might have been a desperate ploy on her part, a visit to the place where he was speaking one day to try and get him to come home, maybe even a hope that she could cover him in some way by making people think he was crazy. Maybe if they thought he was just another lunatic they'd let her take him home where he would be safe. But he wasn't crazy, and he wouldn't come home.

How he felt, whether he was warm enough, whether his cold was better, all of the things that had filled so many of her days for so many years -- all beside the point now. Once in a while she approached him with a question; once she even felt his forehead, and he all but brushed her aside. It was too late now. He was intent on a process had begun that couldn't be arrested.

And so she became part of it, too, without a word. Took her place among the women who were shopping, indeed, already cooking for the meal on Thursday, making his favorite foods just the way he liked them. If it were not to be his last meal, it was certain that it would be one of them; she was sure of that. She tasted a dish, and it was like sawdust in her mouth.

But she knew it was perfect, because hadn't she been making it just this way, and her mother before her just this way, for years and years? And she turned it out into a serving bowl and covered it with a cloth. There was still much to do, here in this kitchen that was not her kitchen, in this city that was not her city. Nothing is where it's supposed to be, she said to herself. But still, she would make sure he was ready.
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