Dying Young

Mike knew he would die young.

I remember the first time he told me that. We were in my dorm room cuddling. As he nuzzled my hair, he said he would die in his late 30s. The comment had nothing to do with anything that was going on – totally out of the blue.

“You don’t know that,” I said, trying to change the subject. “No one knows when they’re going to die.”

“I’ve always known,” he said. “I think it’ll be around 37.”

I pushed for details, but he didn’t have any – just the thought that he would die before 40.

Through our 20s, we talked about it occasionally. But by the time we were 30, neither of us brought it up again. Maybe it was too close to home. Maybe he forgot he ever told me. Sometimes I would think about it, but I’d always quickly dismiss the thoughts. When he turned 38, I was relieved. He died 2.5 months after his 38th birthday.

I don’t know if he ever told anyone else. I certainly never said anything to anyone. I’m not even sure why I’m writing this, other than I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days.

Did he really know he would die young or was it a coincidence? How much did he know? Did it contribute to his drinking (thinking – knowing – that death was coming anyway)?

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