"Funny thing about life. It has a beginning, middle and end," Adeimantus said with the certitude of a philosopher who believed he had announced  a previously unknown truth. 

Then he added, "Life is like walking through a tunnel. It's the hyphen between the dates of birth and death etched on tombstones." 

Adeimantus, my lifelong friend and I, often took walks in the afternoon. We both came to Japan about the same time 50 years ago. Over the years we lived close to one another in Yokohama. "Look at the flowers, Charley," he said, pointing his walking stick toward the hydrangeas. "We were in full bloom once."

Fifty years ago, Adeimantus had a lion's mane of black hair with thick eyebrows that accentuated his fiercely brown Greek eyes.  "I could stand apart from the others, Charley."

The breeze blew through the  remaining strands of white hair on his head. He leaned heavily on his cane. "I never thought I would be wearing a diaper again." His mournful eyes  became lost in thought. "Damnit, Charley! I never asked to grow old."

"Why couldn't I be like a perennial  flower that dies only to grow again."

"I'd give anything to come back. This time I'd cooperate to create a more harmonious pattern of life."

"I know I am dying," he said. "But there will always be someone younger to take your place," I said, more to remind myself.

Last month nearly six weeks after our last walk together, Adeimantus passed through the tunnel to the other side. 
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