This has become a countdown.

Normally anticipated, watched for, Waiting for something huge and spectacular to launch into space on a cloud of fire, seen for miles. Soaring ever upwards into the stratosphere. Something new and exciting to be explored, to be witnessed, to become history.

A historical event of great magnitude.

But this has become a different sort of countdown. One more like grains of sand falling from a broken hourglass, one by one, ticking off the minutes, the seconds, barely noticeable, little by little but persistent. A countdown that reaches zero only to have, not the beginning of something incredible, but the end of something heartbreaking.

Something only meaningful to a few. Maybe only to one.

It isn’t the splash at the end, where memories are made, studied, looked back upon with fondness and nostalgia. Memories were made, studied, and looked back upon, some, yes, even with fondness and a few with nostalgia. Those were small slippery stepping stones across raging rivers of regret and remorse.

And the occasional stone, skipping across the surface, bouncing, bouncing leaving ripples behind it until it, too, sank below the surface, reaching zero, ending, fading…