A conversation with a friend

Not that long ago a long-time friend of mine visited me one Friday. Standing over the sink as I washed the dishes after our dinner I heard a knock on the door. It was not the loud, brazen knock I had grown to expect. This rapping carried with it a rather timid timbre but, I knew who it was. I shook my head with a resolve to pretend not to hear it but he would have nothing to do with that. He rang the bell and I could no longer feign my ignorance of his beckoning. 
"I knew it was you," I muttered as I cracked the door just enough for him to show himself in. 
"I know," Death whispered almost apologetically as he closed the door behind himself following me into the kitchen. Cold was his stare to my back and I thanked God for the warmth of the water on my hands and forearms. 
"What are they to do now?" I asked his reflection in the window. "You realize that his son needs to leave school. Surely you know how young he was. Are you moving them along in their faith? Are you inviting me to pray more? Couldn't he have just been injured? Would not that have been disruptive enough?" 
"Shhhh...." he admonished. "Don't you hear what He's saying?" 
"Oh your awful, deafening wake, was that to silence me? Was that the care you bring to my soul to show me the Father? This? This is your lot? This is mine?" 
Taking stock of my demeanor my humiliated friend found his way even closer to me and reached for my shoulder. I recoiled and stiffened my neck towards him. Retreating to the head of my table and sitting in my chair he placed his hand on his chin as he fixed his gaze on me a while longer. Breaking the silence far too early Death signaled that he wouldn't leave me alone.  
"Will you quiet yourself and allow me to serve you? Or will you continue to shake your fist and wag your head at me? Let me show you His gift. Let me show you what only I can." 
I straightened my back and dried my hands issuing an invitation. "You can go now..." I started as tears welled in my eyes. 
"No. No I can't. I dare not beg my leave of you. He won't have it. Not yet anyway," came the retort as he lightly shook and cast his eyes to the floor. 
"You weren't there from the beginning. How could you be part of the plan?" I countered knowing that it was somewhat useless to argue. 
"You and I know that. But what of me now? What day goes by that I am not pressed to serve?" 
He was an excellent servant. I had to admit the walls he built were fine walls so very thick and tall. Many were the mornings that I sat in their shadow admiring them and thankful that they restrained horrors that sought my soul. I shot a strong glance toward him.  
"Then teach," I sneered through clenched teeth. 
"Sit with me," he invited pushing the chair from the table with his foot. Placing myself to his left Death reached out his hand. As I brushed against it I felt its familiar sting and burn. I winced and tried not to cry out. "Hold onto it. Feel its fullness," he pleaded. 
I wrapped my fingers between his pressing our palms together. His bony, barely skinned hands made me take a sudden deep breath and though there was the growing taste of honey in my mouth I dared not swallow.   
"Please," he begged closing his eyes so that he would not have to look at me, "please let me show you wonderful things." 
Broken and abandoned to him I shivered as I pictured the two of them, their farm, their children. "Do it quickly," I begged. 
"No," my friend, Death, answered barely audibly. "I can only do it well."  
As his hand enveloped mine his instruction began. 


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