Locust House Variations, A Weekly Fiction Column by Adam Gnade, A Letter to Death on a Spring Evening

The wind quit finally after blowing all day and the night is still. Out here on the prairie the wind blows hard and often, and it’ll wear you down. Nights like this? They’re what you want most. The windows open. The house quiet.

I imagine the universe humming. Not singing or shouting or talking like normal. Humming, soft and low.

Frankie, Willy, and Johnsy are asleep upstairs.

Alison sits at the old wooden table next to a lighted lamp reading something.

I’m here in the farm’s library writing this and listening to the sound of the frogs and the crickets coming in from the window and thinking how sometimes I dream of fine moments like this but don’t get them often.

One day I will die and I will be gone. Every note and tone of me extinguished. I will spend a few troubled and sometimes good years living this life then an eternity dead.

On nights like this–nights this good–I don’t care. Let death come for me. Just not now. Hold off a while. I will be ready for it when it comes and I will accept the terms. But not tonight. Later. Push it back. Let me enjoy this. A night without wind. All things in their place. A spring evening in April, when all is good and the universe hums and hums and hums…Adam Gnade