Brenda was not dying. At least not in any diagnosed way. She was growing older and creeping ever closer to her eventual demise, but she had no solid reason to believe that her end was imminent.
Sitting in the café she sipped her macchiato. She savoured the aroma, the flavour, even the idea of being able to enjoy intense pleasure. Brenda experienced it as if it was her last because she was hyper aware that any moment could be just that, and she didn’t want it to go uncelebrated.
Throughout her life there had been so many lasts that she hadn’t acknowledged, moments she couldn’t recapture - things that at the time had seemed so unimportant, but in hindsight had altered the course of her life for ever. Like the last time she’d seen her friend Mandy. They’d been eleven years old, and had gone to different high schools. They’d promised to keep in touch, but one day they simply hadn’t bothered. And yet at their final meeting neither of them had been aware of the end of their friendship. There had been no falling out, simply no getting together again – ever.
Brenda knew there was always the internet to rediscover lost friendships, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that every day she did a thousand things, and amongst those things were hidden so many things that she may never do again.
She’d gone several years without tasting horseradish. She hadn’t gone off it. She simply hadn’t thought to eat it. So at some point there had been a last time. Of course that was an easy one to remedy. She could simply order a beef and horseradish sandwich and eradicate that last, but what about all the other things she hadn’t eaten for a while? She would have to constantly eat everything, or simply work her way through every flavour she wanted to treasure and savour each mouthful, filling her sensory memory with lasts.
Brenda knew she was spiralling into a dangerously impossible area.
Looking along the street, she glanced at all the buildings of her home town. There had been so many changes over the years. Could she remember the last time she’d bought a bag of pick and mix from Woolworths? If she’d known it was the last time she’d have taken more time to lock the moment away in her ‘last moments’ file, but it had seemed like any other day where she just wanted a cheap sugar rush and a packet of self-stick Velcro.
Brenda was exhausted. If she had a shrink she knew he’d have told her to stop obsessing about the past and to get on with living, but she didn’t believe in therapy – that was for mad people.
Picking up her bag, she stepped out onto the street. And then came a first for Brenda - she was hit by a bus. An orgasm of past experiences rushed through her mind. All her lasts came back to her in a wave of beautiful clarity. Brenda’s last moment of life was her happiest.