The fortune teller was never wrong. If you had the money and the guts, she could show you the last moments right before you died. I knew people who had been to her and told of what they had seen. I’ve seen her predictions come true on several occasions.
It didn’t take too much thought before I decided to see her myself. I’m naturally curious. The vision she showed me was stunning. As I gazed into her crystal ball, the world faded and I was walking down the back road near my house, in the dark. The crickets chirped in the shadows. The crisp, cold air nipped at my nose. And then darkness. I didn’t see how I died. The fortune teller said we didn’t always see our deaths, sometimes just the moments before. The ball, she said, showed us only what we needed to see.
That vision changed my life. It’s easy to take risks when you know they aren’t risky. That back road I’m supposed to die on? It’s not the only way to get to my house. All I had to do is avoid it and I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I could go bungie jumping or sky diving or swim with sharks without worry of lasting harm. I was able-bodied in my vision so I knew nothing bad could happen to me. And the thrills were wonderful. But of course, thrills quickly stop becoming thrills when you take away the danger.
Don’t get me wrong: I still love the extreme sports and the risky adventures. I ran with the bulls last month. I had a blast. But lately I’ve taken to a different type of thrill. Once a month, after the sun goes down, I put on my coat and I take a walk, right down the road. Yeah, that road.
As I walk down that road, hear the crickets chirp, feel the cold wind blowing through my hair, I find myself undergoing a transformation. The solid, fearless foundation I have in the face of cliffs and sharks and charging bulls starts to fracture and crumble with every step I take. As I approach the spot where the fortune teller’s vision goes black, I feel my chest tighten. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. The sound of the crickets gives way to the thrum of blood as my heart frantically pumps. I shudder and then close my eyes, waiting, wondering if this is the moment I die. I continue to walk, eyes closed, and brace for the icy sting of a blade or the fangs of some unknown beast. Fear floods my mind and when I can take it no longer, I open my eyes again, never knowing whether I’ll see the end of my street or the grinning visage of Death.
And for that glorious moment in time, I feel truly alive.