I wonder what Death is like as my car slips easily over the tarmac, tread grasping firmly on this dry winter day still masquerading as autumn with gold, red and copper leaves gracing the sidewalk and drifting lazily over the windshield.
Is Death a skeleton in a black cloak, hood pulled up high and a scythe over the shoulder, blade a dull aged silver except for the sharpened edge where a thin platinum gleam beckons for your soul, the Grim Reaper indeed? Or perhaps a young woman dressed in black clothes, whimsically picking her fashion from whichever era she fancies just for the day or for that week or the next month, not caring for propriety so much - hey, she’s Death! Why should she? As long as she does her job her choice of clothing, her choice in anything, is hers as she pleases.
It’s something to ponder. Something that rattles away in the back of my mind as I perform this routine task, travelling from point A to point B as I have so many times before. It’s a route I know well - not quite blindfolded but well enough my mind wanders somewhat, finding questions within that wouldn’t come forward at any other time. Like this one, right now.
I think I’d like for Death to be a gentleman. In a fine three-piece suit in a fabric so dark it could be black but could also be the night sky caught on the edge of midnight, every inch perfectly fitted to his gaunt frame, he’d stroll through the masses with a steady gait and a leather-gloved hand upon a silver topped ebony cane. His overcoat would be of the same shade as his suit, the buttons slightly glossy and sewn with thread the colour of old memories long faded into pale and distant times. He’d stop outside a café, elegant fingers retrieving a silver filigree pocket watch from its cosy spot tucked into his waistcoat pocket on the left hand side, checking the time in a carefully practiced habitual motion. He knows the time; he doesn’t need to check. He doesn’t need to look around when he steps inside, simply divests himself of his gloves and tucks them in a pocket as he settles into a seat opposite me. We dine on whatever he wishes to sample - homemade eight ounce beefburgers with bacon and cheddar, salad too, and seasoned wedges on the side, washed down with a vanilla milkshake at first then a pot of tea to finish - and we talk, quietly, politely, me asking him about the past and history and what the forgotten places were like, and he freely answering, no hesitation or obfuscation, because it won’t matter if I know soon enough. When dinner is over and I have paid - a condition of this quaint meeting - then he shall open the door for me as per the gentleman he is and I shall be grateful, taking his proffered arm graciously as befitting the moment, for the final stroll along the byways of society.
I ponder what Death will be like as the treads of the tyres slip upon the dampened leaves strewn so carelessly across the tarmac by nature herself. I ponder if our meeting will be but a flash never to be remembered rather than a time of wonder. And as the car in front skids, sliding out of control, I cannot help but smile at the word so obvious upon the number-plate - Reaper.
I wonder if he fancies that burger.