Encounters with Death
This afternoon 160 years ago, Emily felt a Funeral, in her Brain. Have you noticed how death lingers pacific large around you? It behaves like an omnipotent existence, fairly beautiful, sat bound to the earth, to the grey of one’s ashes and hug your chest while the rain seeps through the soil, your decaying human skin, carpeted with moss and worms, through your bones and into the canals of your insides. It was a bitterly uncomfortable summer, smelling of sweat. I wanted to leap and open my skull, take my mind out and leave it out in the rain, let everything move back to the rocks in my garden, let it dry and leave it to be only a shell of a dead autumn leaf and stitch it back, that my head hurts a little less and abandons its intention to crush me inside. The outside was a little chilly this morning (this requires essential confirmation that waking early only leaves me lethargic for the rest of the sunny hours), winter must be arriving. Finally. We were at the brink of autumn, slowly spilling into winter; the day I was born. The dead returns the day I arrived. The dead, they celebrate their perennial presence, for life is only momentary and the dead stays, forever.
I could keep staring at the orange chest of the October dawn. Maa keeps calling for breakfast. The warm rice smells maniacally intoxicating. The faint shadow of the steam rises around it. It is nearly the end of October and it was the time I tend to think a lot about things. I was limping last summer. While the summer was lingering in the escalating twilight, crowds of caged humans were revealing themselves in the streets after infinite hours of dismal isolation since March. While hunting for a certain medical specialist, who had had mastered the caricature of the anatomy – either the bones or the nerves, I noticed a limply swollen crowd of humans swarming on the sidewalk. With sophisticated curiosity, my eyes followed their and being rendered with polite discomfort, I lifted my eyes back to the harrowing blue ocean above.
I could smell the lavender smoke in the street – death, had arrived. I could hear the faint pyres arriving in a glass dress. Death – she sojourned next to me. “Who was that man?”, I whispered to standing next to me, the tall altitude of serene mass.
“Who was he? – I don’t know either. So, I asked the man”, Death whispered back to me. “- and who did he say he was”, I returned genially to Death. Muttering with a vague sense of a shrug, Death replied, “- said he was nobody”.
My eyes returned to the scene. A street sweeper perhaps he was – wrapping the hushed, immobile body in a bamboo mat. A pitch white cloth peaked from under the mat. Nobody, this man he slept on the sidewalk through numerous hours of existing anonymously, with unperturbed humans passing by in a blur. But weirdly still, silence had measured her wings and severed her tongue in the middle of the crossroad where we met. Silence was weary of the pretense and endless mourners that year and thus escaped the gathering. Perhaps she was flying to sit next to ardently petite mourners instead. It was a loud crowd of pedestrians, passing and pausing and some snickering too. How shameful a scene?
Death – It was the third time we were meeting in the intensity of her presence. She was volatile on all other encounters. She hadn’t then in that summer occasion told me she will return only two months later at the edge of my grandfather’s bed. One would imagine a
funerary audience to be a silent pensieve yet still funerary gatherings even at the peak hours of mourning are laden with high pitches and an abundance of voices.
Returning – all that was left of Nobody was the carcass, the bones and swelling skin abandoned by life at the heavy hours of the August summer. Nobody dies on a footpath but Nobody died on a footpath and nobody paused as kin nor a friend. I wanted to pick the inanimate organs wrapped in skin and put them inside the pages but he wasn’t a flower. Pages are the rightful graveyard of dead flowers. That is where they belong, rightfully buried there they ought to be – in the palms of wood.
I am alive, for I am not inside the earth, I am warm because winter belongs to me. I cannot ask you to wither away with me, for you are life, spring and everything human. I, on the other hand, am kept alive because winter exists.
I wonder if they packed a few stray clothes with the man. Clothes, we let them go away with their bodies, so they won’t be cold in winters, so they won’t be in shambles – the grains of ash, so the summer heat nor the wood burn their skin, so the soil first consumes the clothes before reaching the flesh, so the wet clothes can be replaced during monsoons and so there’s a heap of clothes for a pillow and blanket still.
Yours fleetingly dear