Schoolwork became a constant search for knowledge. Toby approached every subject with a strong desire to find out everything his teachers could tell him. Some of his teachers felt he demanded more of them than was proper but most were encouraged to have a student with such a strong desire to learn. When Toby entered college his need to know amplified and he plunged into any subject that professed a search for the unknown. Every major religion received his attentions. The sciences, both practical and theoretical, the mathematical or speculative captured hours of his daily life. He was respected both by his fellow students and his professors. But even with his devotion to these disciplines he found time for making friends and having fun. It became a daily concern of Toby’s to know why he had come in this existence, was he here for a reason or was he just here? He asked the question of everyone from the professor held in the highest esteem to the man on the corner with a sign that read will work for food. Many people had ready answers. Some were short and to the point. Some of the people he asked seemed very sure, without any doubt at all as to the reason for mankind. Others he asked gave long carefully thought out answers that led in circles and were the same as no answer at all. But Toby continued to search for the true meaning of life. While he searched he also found his one true love, married, had two beautiful children, provided his children with the best of educations, then spent years living in an almost empty house looking forward to visits by the grandchildren and then he stayed by his wife’s side as she quietly left this life, still in love with Toby as he was still in love with her.
Toby still had his books, he still had intelligent friends, he still watched the news for clues; it seemed impossible that in all of life he could not find the reason behind it. And then one night, while lying in a soft bed in the home of his eldest daughter’s house where he could get the additional care he needed during these days, he understood. The great grandchildren had come for a visit and he had tried to keep up with them. He had gone to bed feeling very tired and very content with the way his life had been spent. He closed his eyes and was very still. He could smell the smell of the clean sheet that he had pulled up around his chin. Then he knew. The reason for his existence was so simple he had almost missed it. He filled his lungs with the air he would need to call to his daughter and give her the news but the universe had been waiting for him to come to know the answer and now that he had it the universe no longer needed to be, and so it ceased to be.