I got on the subway today, an express train, and in the two handicapped seats at the end of the car was a mother comforting her screaming toddler. He was having a meltdown- a snot dripping red faced bleary eyed tantrum, he was beside himself with hysteria. His mother was keeping it cool, just rocking him and gently rubbing his back. I gave her a knowing glance, understanding that at times children just throw fits and you have to wait it out. As he caught his breath after what seemed like a few minutes, he gasped enough air to cry out, “but I don’t want to die!”
Obviously he wasn’t in imminent danger, he simply had just learned, for the first time, of his own mortality. It was so pure. We all feel like that kid when we think about the one sure thing in this life that we will experience, if you reeally think about it, it’s enough to make you want to break down and sob. We just can’t let go and freak out like he was. I just smiled to myself and looked out at the local station, whizzing by in a flash, as we entered the next dark tunnel.
I feel ya, kid.
Perry Smith, Truman Capote