This may be the last story I will tell you, but because it is my story it will be more difficult to tell than the others, because I must put the words together for you myself, in a way that makes sense and is true, or more or less true; I am old now and much of what I will tell you concerns events of long ago, when I was your age and a little younger, your age and a little older. And though what happened to me is unforgettable in many ways, my memory must stretch back over years and years, as a result of which some reds may be blue, and some blues red. It doesn’t matter; the story is essentially true, and inherently mine, and where I say a thing was blue even when it might have been red doesn’t make a difference most of the time, even though in this story, some colors are important for what they were and are.
You will find, when you get to be as old as I, as old as the oldest person you know, that stories are never quite finished; one small piece of information, supplied many years after a series of events, can change an outcome that had long ago been decided on into something else entirely. My story is still unfolding, as old as I am and as close as I am to the end. And even then, conclusions are fleeting. You, after all, will soon be a part of my story, if only in the hearing of it, and thus it will go on long after these covers have closed.
My story, if in the end I have told it well enough, may come to you when you are thinking about a thing, making up your mind about something. Making up your mind. It’s not like making up the bed. You haven’t practiced it a thousand times and know how it should look. Sometimes you won’t know if you are right or wrong right away, or for a very long time afterward, if at all. Maybe there was never anything right or wrong about it. Like the way to town: you can go as the crow flies, through the woods, or ride your bike down the grid of lanes. Each will take you to your destination. But your travels will be very different. You will remember that outcomes, however fleeting, hinge on such decisions, that on the lane you will encounter such and so, and the woods will present a different thing altogether, and your story will hinge, like mine did, on which way you went, and why, and whether a thing was red or blue, alive or dead or somewhere in between.
And that is the story. Not what you find at the end, but what awaits you in the woods or on the lane, alive or dead, red or blue, or somewhere in between.