TO GET OVER IT

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A man was passing through a market place. His progress was slow and he became an object of scrutiny and amusement to the denizens of the place. Sellers and shoppers and idlers of all ages exchanged clever remarks about the pathetic man. Apparently, they they had never beheld such a sight. Occasionally a huckster, unable to resist a passing sale, urged the man's attention to his wares. But the man kept his eyes upon the ground and, though none could see it, he smiled a vague, shadowy smile.

Piled high and carefully upon the man's back were innumerable things. There were houses, furniture,  automobiles,  animals, clothing, statues, boats and bicycles, paintings—equipment of all kinds. The pile towered over the rooves of the town, over its most prized monuments including the town's clocktower, its smokestacks and church spires. As the man plodded on the ungainly heap swayed like a palm tree in the wind or tall stalks of forlorn swamp grass. Some boys, malingering on a wall, watched its passage through the narrow, crooked lanes of the town.

When he came to the edge of the town the man lifted his eyes to the vast, arid plain before him. There was nothing but rocks and stunted trees. Nothing moved and not a bird sang. A curtain of smoke hung far off where the horizon should have been. With a sigh he put his head down and began his trudge across the plain. After a while the man met a traveler who inquired of him as to where he was bound and to what end. Since he could not remember ever having had a destination or purpose he muttered, "Nowhere, for nothing."

"Surely you must be headed somewhere," the traveler insisted. " You must expect to find something."

"Well, yes," the man replied at last. "Death is who or what I hope to find."

Alarmed, the traveler demanded, " Why do you seek such a thing?"

"I seek only what seeks me," the man said.

"But why you fool, why!?" the traveler cried.

"To get over it," the man answered.

"To get over it?!!!"

"To get over it, " the man echoed, dreamily, and he adjusted his burden.

"To get over what, you idiot?!!"

"Oh, you know, the pile of things we carry."

"That you carry, you mean. That pile of junk."

"These are my treasures, the things I have hankered for and hoarded and cherished. Like you, like us all. Only Death can relieve us of the load we carry."

"Oh no," growled the traveler, and his face was the color of ashes. "I have to be off, I have a son about to be born. I must be on hand to welcome him into this world."

At this the man held his sides and laughed, and his towering burden shook like a dog's tail.

Indignant, the traveler stalked off, muttering.

So the man shrugged and continued on into the inhospitable plain. Now and again he tripped but he righted himself each time and went on. At last, after the sun had set and the dew fallen, he entered a stretch of fog and there he met a child.The babe smiled and the man smiled.

When the man turned to look back and to wonder at the time of his death he felt the lack of his familiar burden. The child was gone and the man found himself in a green garden in the arms of a lady in a lavender dress who was smiling down at him as if she found him endlessly amusing.

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