Sometimes I really don’t know what to say

Was just sitting on a bench on the campus when old Roberto sat down next to me.

“I got some good news,” he said. “I think I might finally be able to move into an apartment.” He paused for a moment and then said, “But it’s a little ironic. Because my lung cancer is really starting to act up. So I don’t think I’m going to make it.” Roberto rubbed his hand on his chest.

Sometimes I don’t know what to say.

Me and Roberto talked for a bit. It was one of those things where it started out a casual conversation and then suddenly wasn’t so casual. It was life-and-death stuff.

“It happens to everybody,” said Roberto. “Life comes to a bad end.”

“Well you know what they say,” I said. “Life is a lingering sickness cured only by death. But at least there’s a cure.”

“That’s pretty good,” said Roberto. “Who came up with that one?”

“Me,” I said.

“It happens to everyone,” Roberto said. Taking it philosophically.

“Sometimes it seems like 90% of the people I’ve known over the years are dead,” I said. “It makes me wonder why I’m still here. Everybody else is gone and yet I’m still here.”

“You drink all that beer,” said Roberto. “It pickles you. It preserves you.”

“Ha ha. I believe when we die we go to heaven. Or at least we’re reincarnated on a higher plane.”

“I hope so,” said Roberto.

“It’s got to be better than this life.”

“Yeah.”

I said goodbye to Roberto. As I was wandering off I wondered how many more times I’d see him. Or if I’d see him again. You never know.

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