Being Dead is Not That Bad
I have been dead for three days. We, my body and I, had been at the same corner for the past 72 hours, waiting.
My death was unexceptional, just like my life. I had been going home from work late Friday night. Had to walk because my train had obviously been cancelled. I had been walking for a while when the snow started to fall, not dense enough to cover everything in that white romantic layer, but enough to settle deep into my coat and make me unable to stop the shivering.
The indigestion started shortly after, and couldn’t help but regret the 9pm burger I had at my desk. Knowing what I know now, I don’t regret it, it was a good burger. I do regret that last cigarette though, completely unfulfilling. Managed to take two drags out of it when my boss walked out the door and asked in that saccharine sweet voice if I was ready for the meeting.
I was outside trying to smoke. Of course I was not ready.
But it was not like I could tell her that, so I just dropped it and put it out while thinking about her face.
Following the indigestion came the cold sweats, though thinking back they could have come before. Between the snow and rain soaking me, the wind freezing my face off, and walking up the hill, I could not tell you where they started even to save my life. Ha! See what I did there?
Same could have been said for the shortness of breath.
The only thing that kept me going was knowing that at the top of the hill there was an off-license where I could buy more cigarettes, maybe a packet of crisps as well. With how the day was going, I’m not sure why I was surprised to find the place closed, all the lights off, and a handwritten note on the door: Had to run home, my wife is giving birth, sorry for the inconvenience.
I would show him inconvenience on Monday. Rude.
I kept walking, the sound of my dripping socks in my shoes my only companion. My hands started tingling, due to the cold I thought. I stopped to catch my breath and the tingling became pain, it slithered up my arm and settled on my chest.
I was having a heart attack. Right then and there, behind a bus stop and in front of a boarded up place that used to be a Mexican Taquería but had closed who knew when.
And I followed its fate.
Alone in the cold, I fell to the ground and the snow finally turned into big fluffy flakes, almost like white carnations blanketing the sleeping town. Eyes open and mouth cracked just enough for a tendril of drool to fall from it and drip forming its own little frozen puddle, as if the overall snowing and freezing situation wasn’t enough. Snowflakes fell on my eyes, quickly covering them up, my whole carcass following suit.
By morning, none of me was visible.
I have to say, being dead is not that bad. At least my socks are dry and I’m not cold.
I stood beside my body, at first keeping watch trying to scare away the seagulls trying to peck at my fingers that were just visible enough to look attractive.
Go get your frozen fingers from somewhere else you flying rats! Do you even know who I am?
Would they care if they knew?
By Sunday morning I was bored, so I tried to take a walk to distract myself waiting for what came next. Wondering why it was taking so long for next. Maybe they didn’t work during the weekends, or they were backlogged. Perhaps a shortage in the supply chain of Grim Reapers. Most places were understaffed nowadays.
My walk didn’t take me far, it led me right back to my body. No matter how far I walked, that’s where I ended at.
Strange how death worked.
Monday morning was a beautiful day. One of those days that made you want to be outside, maybe have a picnic or a swim in the sea. By the way the living people around me were huddled in their coats, I could tell it was cold as fuck.
But the sun was out, and the snow slowly started to melt. At first it wasn’t much, a patch of grass in front of the house with the blue door, the grey of the pavement, and the brown of my shoulder. The constant dripping of the icicles hanging above my head helped clear a little of the snow over me. And then the brown puppy that had been playing across the street made its way to me, sniffing around and throwing happy barks into the air.
What a cute puppy. Now that I was dead I could start appreciating the simpler things in life…
The little fucker lifted its back leg and peed all over my shoes which were now exposed and steaming.
That little shit.
The tolling of the bells at St Martin’s church brought the brightest sunshine I had seen in a while, and the melting of the snow covering my back.
Huh, there is a rip on the back of my coat.
At the bus stop a young woman with a cat in her purse sits waiting. The cat’s beady eyes looking directly at my body. Well, not my body, but my dead body. Its tongue licking its evil little lips, probably thinking of me as its next meal. I felt the bus before I saw it, the ground trembling under its weight. Even the boarded up windows felt it.
So did the icicles.
Specially the one that fell right onto my dead back. Life’s final stab.
And I swear the cat laughed.