For a long time I stood there. For a very long time I stood there. I stood and I thought, “Does the sidewalk really end?” For a long time I watched my shadow grow on the sidewalk. For a long time I watched my shadow grow with the setting sun, only to fade and disappear with the night. I looked for Orion, my constellation in the starry sky. I watched him rise and then I watched him dip down in the sky to return to his slumber. I watched people come and I watched them go. I saw them walk in lines along the sidewalk. After a while, there were no more people. I thought about people I knew who were dead. I thought about people I knew that I never saw, I would never see again. I thought about spent fortunes and lost empires. I remembered words I would soon forget, words I knew everyone had forgotten. I looked for faces of friends in my mind and knew they were no longer there. I thought of seasons changing, or growing old and dying. But I watched the sidewalk keep going, forever.
As I stood there, a bus drove by. On the side of the buys were the words, “The future is here. We are it. We are it. The world is not a tomb.” The world is not a tomb. “No,” I thought, “not yet.” But I thought about where the sidewalk ends as I watched the day end and then the night. Everything ends. These days end. Friendships end. Love? Everyone knows that love ends. Everything ends, and one day, I will end. One day, even this sidewalk will end.
And, as I watched, I saw the trees die. I saw the buildings crumble. I saw the stars twinkle away. I watched the world end, but I kept my eyes on the sidewalk. And, finally, against my will, I saw the sidewalk end.
April 11, 1996