At 5:00 a.m., the old man sat down in a lotus position, brought his hands together in front of his heart-center, and began to breathe mindfully. Closing his eyes, he took in a deep breath, and he was gone.
His mind opened to a patch of grass at the edge of Kaanapali Beach. He imagined the grass-cutters and sand-rakers would be arriving soon, to put nature back in order.
He breathed in the aromas. Like a sommelier, he detected hints of citrus and eucalyptus in a bouquet of spicy plumeria. There was no sewage smell contaminating his senses; he had escaped that filth. Here, his focus was love.
He scanned the world that lay out before him. A sea of blue-green waves rolled beneath an infinite sky. Behind him, tropical breezes danced with fronds of palm tree sentinels that guarded his high-rise home. He basked in serenity, knowing that seven floors up, his soul-mate was sleeping.
Each time he came, he stayed longer. Soon he’d be free of the walking-dead pensioners and disinterested staff who haunted that Other Place. Every day he felt their stares and saw their head-shaking disapproval of his yoga pants and flip-flops, considering them undignified for an elderly gentleman. But they had no idea where he was going.
Returning to his lackluster room, he bathed and put on a white linen suit, taking pleasure in the lightness of the fabric against his tired legs. He imagined Her wearing a pink sundress, preparing morning coffee and fruit plates. They would indulge in turquoise days and passion-fruit nights.
He scoffed at those who said he seemed confused. They told him not to go out alone. Nonsense, he would leave whenever he wanted, for as long as he wanted. Sure, he was gone longer each time and had to re-acclimate himself when he returned. But that wasn’t confusion.
There was a knock at his door. A woman who was not She entered and set a breakfast tray on the table.
“Good morning, sir; I have your medication.”
He despised this reality, where his beloved did not live. But through meditation, he had found Her. His only intention, to permanently leave this dismal existence and forever be with Her.
He accepted the pills with a paper cup of water, while contemplating the difference between medication and meditation. It was much more than that one letter.
The nurse, whose name he could not remember at the moment, said, “I’ll come back with your lunch at noon. Please don’t leave your room. Look outside, it’s a beautiful day.”
When she left, he walked over to the window. He saw an overcast sky and a billboard that was yelling, “HEY CUBS FANS THE DODGERS ARE COMING TO WRIGLEY!”
He closed the blinds, changed back into his yoga pants and sat down in a lotus position. Bringing his hands together in front of his heart-center, he began to breathe mindfully. He closed his eyes, took in a deep breath, and he was gone.