I know the answer to that one, because we all are frightened. Are you frightened of death? Lonely? Bewildered? Well then, we can spend some time together. Maybe have a couple of old Labrador retrievers in to snore and wheeze at our feet. Maybe a Portuguese Water Dog to rest his chin on my ankles. As long as we’re just imagining it, we can have a glass of gin, or a mug of coffee, or we can break the first commandment and have a smoke.

The light will fail. Outside the windows—I think we should have windows, don’t you? —outside the windows, we can see the brightness backing out of the air. We can start out laughing, but as it gets darker, we might  grow less noisy. I can imagine how our voices might drop into a murmur. We can sit and listen to the snoring of the dogs. We can sit there in the darkness. Maybe one of the dogs will chase a mail man in his dreams. We can dream too. We can dream about our lost and gorgeous selves.

Which Reminds Me of a Joke. But I’m saving that one for the book. Two dogs walk into a bar… If you know the joke, write to me at bhcheever@gmail.com. Don’t title it “Dear Ben,” because I already have people who use that salutation for whom I am not a Dear. Pick another way to get my attention.

“This is the first, wildest, and wisest thing I know, that the soul exists, and that it is built entirely out of attentiveness.”

—Mary Oliver

Hear about the dyslexic, agnostic insomniac? Thrashed about in bed till dawn wondering if there was such a thing as a dog.