The old man lay in his deathbed, adrift in a whirlwind of fading memories. Random images would come to him, rippling across the stillness of his mind. Echoes of long-forgotten moments. Enveloped by the sound of a ticking clock, he remembered a conversation about the nature of time.
“There is no such thing as the present, the past and the future,” he had told his students during a lecture. “Time is just a number, like height or weight. We are its prisoners, constantly pushed forward by the relentless invisible wall. But our understanding of time is as incomplete as that of drawings perceiving the sheet of paper they live in.”
“Everything has already happened; everything is always happening. It is always our first day of school, the moment of our death, the instant of our birth.”
Looking at a fly moving along the white ceiling, the old man caught a glimpse of himself on the other side. He turned around to look at the bed and saw himself lying in wait; locked eyes with himself, unable to tell if this was real or not. But now he could see the people gathered around him to say goodbye, all of them holding hands in a circle around the bed. The faint sound of a jazz song he loved.
The man’s lips moved as he released the last breath from his lungs.
“Together,” he said before parting.