Pondering the imponderable.

You want to talk about death, again, but your mother's not into it.

Lately death is staring you in the face at every turn. You look down, and there's a deceased earthworm baking on the sidewalk. Look up, and WHAPPO, your cat just murdered a fly. You go for a drive with your mom, and there's another cemetery, on your left. That's where all the people go to die.

"Not to die," your mother says. "Those people were dead when they got there."

"What got them dead?" you want to know.

"They were very old and very sick," she says.

"How old? Grandma old?" You bite your lip.

"Nonononono. Older. Much, much older. Hey, look at that funny guy doing that, uh, thing!"

What funny guy? What thing? You can't see from the car seat. What were we talking about, again?

Die, death, dying, dead, you hear it all the time, it pops out of conversations, like your name. "You're killing me," your mom says to your dad. That's an expression. She won't die yet. On the television they're killing each other but then they bounce right back up. Your grandma's friend dies. You tell her, "I'm sorry your friend is dead. I hope she gets better." After a little rest, you think, she'll stand back up. So why do they bury people?

You keep asking your mom, but something happens and you don't get the answer, or at least not the right answer. You say "even when I die" a lot, testing it out. "I will always love you," you say to your best friend, "even when I die." Your friend gives you a funny look, or maybe that's just his face. After a day at the beach, you tell your mom that you will always love the ocean. "Even when I die," you add. Your mom mutters something.

"I want my grave to be in the ocean," you say. "I want to be buried on a surfboard."

"Wow," your mom says, "you really DO love the ocean."

"And maybe your grave can be in the ocean, too, and we can be buried facing each other so we're kissing, because I will always love you—"

"Oh boy," your mom says.

"—even when I die," you get out.

"Can we not talk about death right now?" your mom asks. "No one's dead, no one's dying, we're all here, let's talk about something else. Okay?"

"But someday," you say.

"Someday, but not now. Not for a long, long time."

So: not now. But someday. And what then?