November 10, 1998
From a dream this morning
The dying woman sang “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” while her traveling companion served tea and small sandwiches.
The traveling companion sternly and silently admonished those there who wouldn’t listen. But I and my cohort leaned in to catch every word.
When the dying woman finished singing she explained to those around that the song was about the dangers of drug use. The assembled crowd, growing larger, murmured.
“Even so,” said the dying woman, “there was a young man in San Diego who was new in town and tried some drugs…”
I looked around the room. People were shifting from foot to foot, look at watches, muttering. Some waved their hands to push the dying woman away.
The traveling companion worked the room, pleading silently for them to stay, to listen. Though silent, she was heard to say, “please stay. The end, the end…”
The dying woman talked, carried by her words, and the crowd thinned. I listened and felt a tug at my…