I cannot predict the future, but I do know what will happen.
This morning, when I set out for my morning dog walk, my calendar told me that the date was November 10, 2018. The sunlight that shone through my window was vast. The air that hit me in the face when I opened my back door was not the bracing, invigorating air of late fall, the chill that brings a healthy rose to your cheeks and energizes your step. It was the unwanted, unwarranted, unexpected, entirely RUDE slap in the face of mid-winter. 21 degrees. I could sense the sun laughing at me. Hahaha, fooled you.
Here is what will happen.
One hundred nineteen hours from now (seven thousand one hundred forty minutes, four hundred twenty-eight thousand four hundred seconds), a man will hold a brutally sharp knife just above my skin. He will have marked the spot. Possibly with a Sharpie. He will slice my skin on a precisely drawn line, and he will watch as six or more inches of my skin separates into parts. Copious amounts of blood will spread from the split. People, ones who are not holding the knife, will have prepared for this. They will mop up the streams and rivulets with highly absorbent sponges.
The fall has lingered this year. It has taken its time, languorous and slothful in showing its colors, the trees refusing to let go of their flaming displays. But after a blustery rainstorm, many trees gave up all at once, raining a thick carpet onto the ground. When it dropped well below freezing last night — for the first time — another miracle. Trees and leaves can no longer cling to one another. Emblazoned leaves let go, one at a time, in a slow motion and silent shower. They spin, twirl, dawdle in their descent, and they come to rest among the thick carpet of their brethren.
Once the myriad tissues have been cut through or pulled to the side, the man will put down the knife. He will remove my femur from my acetabulum, or in simpler terms, he will dislocate my thigh bone from my hip socket. He will then take a bone saw and cut off the top portion of my femur – the largest bone in the human body. He will cut it entirely off.
Perhaps I can predict the future.
On the morning of November 10, 2018, I watch the leaves drift one at a time to their resting place on the newly-frozen ground. Their crunch underneath my feet, even as I walk along with my cane, is one of the glorious sounds on earth. My dog sniffs for the perfect place to plop down and roll back and forth in the leafy carpet.
When I walk among the leaves a year from now, I will not need a cane.