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  1. What it means to be the one who has to listen for the bell.

    What does it mean to be the one who listens listens listens as a monastery-mate, a colleague-in-prayer, a friend? slowly, gently, robs his body of its life forces, simultaneously nourishing and poisoning the very flesh that has harboured his being since before he could remember?

    At the same time, does he not rob Death of his carefully-cultivated accoutrements, his material manifestation, his millennia-old aesthetic of green and black, of yellow and purple, to be triumphantly, silently replaced by white, pink, and eventually gold?

    What if a brief, involuntary moment of inattention meant that I missed his daily ringing signal, and sealed the sacred space before its time?

    Would he know my error?

    Would I?

    Is he so far beyond, so close to the other side, that the speeding of his demise would mean so little and the result be the same?

    Or would the spell be broken and the process ruined? Would I usher in Death in all his putrid glory, maggot-flesh and reeking liquefaction, the ultimate humiliation?

    Why is this wait killing me?

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