It is a simple wooden dock, floating on a small, nondescript pond in the mountains. I fished there thousands of times, enjoying the sunshine and the view.
Most mornings I rose early to watch the sun rise and the world come alive. That day, though, the crisp mountain air was thick with fog, a mist which seemed to envelope the world. No birds chirped, no fish rose to form ripple rings on the surface, and even the cicadas were silent. All I could see in the all-consuming vapor was the dock, floating in nothingness, beckoning me.
Dutifully, I walked its planks. The shoreline disappeared behind me as I crept along. The mist had a solidity that was wholly unnatural, and which gave me pause. I thought about turning back to await the sun’s warmth, but I felt the summons, not of the dock as I had thought, but of the mist itself. It grew thicker as I approached, until even the wood beneath my feet was consumed and I stood alone amidst the grey abyss.
My eyes adjusted to the void as they would in a dark room. Slowly, shapes began to emerge and resolve into faces. I saw my mother and father, our baby daughter lost to us decades ago, and I saw my wife. Gone too soon, leaving so many dreams unfulfilled. An irresistible yearning overtook me, and my foot moved of its own accord to step off the dock into that oblivion. But some force stopped me, and I saw my Love shake her head and fade away as the sun breached the horizon.
So, now I sit, wheelchair bound, tied to a machine by a plastic tube that keeps me from smelling the freshness of the mountains, and waiting for that merciful sea fret to return.