Today would have been your birthday. No. Today is your birthday. Is this the grey area they reserve for people like me who can’t seem to move on? I want to say Happy Birthday but I know I shouldn’t. Or should I? Which is the black to the white here? I am suddenly colour blind to the most basic of colours.
It has been a cool three months. Tomorrow will mark the day you were put under. I didn’t come to see your body, one last time. The report that came to me was your body was bloated. Hard to believe considering your almost feathery self.
I see you in that coffin sometimes. I imagine it was brown to match your tone. And you were suited up as they do bodies to give them some “dignity” in the after life. People going round the perimeter to catch a glimpse of you until we meet again.
Everything happened so fast. One minute the notification came in the class group with the RIP and the next your body viewing and before I could get hold of myself to process it all, they had a mound of earth over your body.
I was in my bed that morning. That morning when your body was in display for all to see. I was twenty minutes away by walking and a mere five, seven by vehicle. My face was awash with tears, my heart in those tiny little pieces they equate to broken glass and my naked body was too frail to attempt going out.
I was disengaged. It makes me wonder if I am a bad friend since I didn’t do the last respects thing. Would you even have wanted that? For me to remember you so unlike yourself?
The last time I looked into a coffin was more than a decade ago. I don’t have nightmares. I just don’t think that one last glance would have done anything for me. I am still laced in hurt all this time.
It is an invasive practice I think. To box you up and invite knowing and unknowing humans to confirm the deadness of your being. To go away saying, “Yes, it was really him. He’s quite dead. I saw his body.” And the faithful to add, “He looked so peaceful.” “He is in a better place now.”
You weren’t too people-y in the first place. I remember you telling me how you were evading a wedding. And those family things meant to keep all together. You even had to switch numbers to escape those clan WhatsApp groups. Mission going under.
I don’t know the natural things that float to people after they have lost people. My thoughts are clouded with the uncertainty of where you are. Are you floating around us? Do you watch me and try to get my attention but I am concentrating on more tangible humans?
Do you even remember me? Is there thinking and contemplating beyond this?
Are there classifications there? The Murdered. The Suiciders. The Sickness-Succumbed. Is there order and a way to go about things? Are you free to simply be? Can you fly?
Are you just lying where you were placed three months ago waiting for communication? If you are floating by, do you visit your grave and sit before it like a fireplace?
Everything I know about death is doused in religion. Thinking you are waiting for the trumpet to blow is sounding completely outrageous.
When I received the news of your passing, I cried. I still cry. The stings of tears are pricking.
When I heard the circumstances of your death, I got angry. I am still angry. All this time, I am thinking there was foul play involved.
I read from someone a tale of their friend. It was chillingly close to yours except that theirs was in a swimming pool if I remember right. A good swimmer whose cause of death is drowning.
My dark side thinks you two met. The uniting factor in place, that ice breaker much needed to smooth way into friendship.
“Hey. You are here because of drowning?”
“Ah, me too!”
And you sat and morphed into how you led your lives and what you expect from this new place.
I might never reconcile with your death. I am so embittered.
I will always think of you whenever chamomile is mentioned.
We hated the rain. The way it made us uncomfortable and elevated our unhappy selves. I am slowly trying to embrace it. To give it a chance to do something for me. To find a rhythm to its sound. To listen to what it awakens in me and not associate it with negativity. To become a true pluviophile, not just one who appreciates the delicious petrichor when the drops gloss the soil.
Could you do the same if it rains there?
Your lanky self will always dominate my mind when I think of you, gracious even when you could have been otherwise. Smiling with me. Always dressed in a loose tee with baggy pants.
I am watching out for signs. Anything at all. Send me something. Maybe tell me I am blowing things out of proportion. That things can be simple. That you just died.
Let me be brainwashed with those religion-laced phrases of God called you, God’s timing is the best or my classic favourite, We loved you but God loved you more.
I will take anything Sharke. Let me know you can hear my pain.