Jared Henniker

As I lie here, my vision starting to fade, I know I likely will not live to see my home again. The approach of death is terrifying, to be sure, but scarier still is leaving words unsaid to the woman I’ve spent so much of my life with. Should I not make it back to her in time, I need you to do something very important for me: If I die, you must go see my wife and tell her I wasn’t really that super into her.

Yes, I’d rather say those words to her myself. But in the event I cannot, please tell my loyal wife of 20 years, the mother of my children, that while I suppose we were okay together, at the end of the day, we were never anything all that special.

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Promise me that you’ll make it out of here safely, and that the first thing you’ll do when you get back home is knock on the door of my house, sit down with my adoring wife Martha, and repeat to her everything I’m telling you now. Even if it’s hard, I need you to look her in the eyes and make sure she understands that even though I don’t regret our time together per se, I realize there may have been other options for me out there and people who would have made me happier.

Please, you’re my only hope. Without you, my dearest Martha will never know she was pretty much the first woman I dated after I decided it was probably time for me to settle down. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her. No sparks flew at all. We didn’t have much in common, either. But there was nothing wrong with her, she was okay-looking, and she stuck around, so I figured, what the hell. Why not?

Now, two decades later, a little wink or a kiss from that woman can still fill me with complete indifference. It’s hard to believe, but all it takes is a single glance and, just like that, she transports me to another world in which I’m suddenly very bored and extremely tired.

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God, I remember our wedding as if it were yesterday. I stood at the altar, watched her walk down the aisle, and whispered a little prayer that this wouldn’t be one of those ceremonies that drags on and on forever. As I placed the ring on her finger, I was overwhelmed with emotion, imagining how our lives together would unfold in a predictable and tedious fashion. How right I was! Then, as we kissed, I realized I probably could have done better had I not been too old and exhausted to keep looking.

Of course, all I want is to be able to say this to Martha myself. If I could see her one more time, I would thank her for giving birth to our three kids and helping me raise them into mildly disappointing adults. I would tell her I’m sorry I won’t be there to see those kids walk down the aisle themselves, or hand them off to whatever ho-hum partners they decide to waste the rest of their lives with. I would explain how I always thought the two of us would grow old together and how I always pictured myself becoming more and more resentful of her with each passing day.

One final thing: Tell my dearest wife that when I’m gone, it’s okay for her to move on and find another. God knows I moved on years ago.

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Now, with my last few breaths, I’ll simply say goodbye and hope she knows that, whatever else has transpired between us, in my eyes she remains a companion who, while adequate in some respects, was ultimately unremarkable. The next world beckons; I know when her time comes I’ll see her there.

So long, Martha. We’ll be reunited in Heaven. Unless, of course, something better comes along.