What it must be like to be an angel or a squirrel, we can imagine sooner. The last time we go to bed good, they are there, lying about darkness. They dandle us once too often, these friends who become our enemies. Suddenly one day, their juniors are as old as we yearn to be. They get wrinkles where it is better smooth, odd coughs, and smells. It is grotesque how they go on loving us, we go on loving them The effrontery, barely imaginable, of having caused us. And of how. Their lives: surely we can do better than that. This goes on for a long time. Everything they do is wrong, and the worst thing, they all do it, is to die, taking with them the last explanation, how we came out of the wet sea or wherever they got us from, taking the last link of that chain with them. Father, mother, we cry, wrinkling, to our uncomprehending children and grandchildren.
From The Cheer, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1980 by William Meredith. Used with permission. All rights reserved.