Today I woke up dead
Today I woke up dead. My body lies immobile on the bed as my soul travels in and out of spaces searching for something. I can see paleness seeping into my skin. My wife is sleeping beside my cold body. She is unaware. How long before she finds out?
The alarm is ringing. It’s on the bed side table next to me and I can’t switch it off. She is opening her eyes now. Then, as always, she turns over to my side and embraces me. At the touch of my cold skin she recoils, a small shriek escapes her lip. I can see fear in her eyes. I can see thoughts of a shaky future whizzing through her mind.
Her hand’s inch forward again, propelled by a dying hope. She nudges me, shakes me harder and then the first tear escapes. Her cries agitate our baby who was sleeping in innocent oblivion which will continue for some years till questions about me rise in his mind.
Now my daughter is at our door, rubbing sleep out of her eyes, her hand still clutching her doll. She walks closer and sees her mother crying and then looks at me. She comes near and gives me a kiss on the cheek, which would usually make me growl and lift her into the bed, enveloping her in a bear hug. When this doesn’t happen, she does it again. I try to lift my hands, but not a finger moves. No exertion felt.
I am naked now. Some people are washing my body. My shame doesn’t bother them as I am just another body to them. They cover me in a white cloth and take me to my family.
By noon my family and friends are here. I can feel the moisture of tears in the air. I am now in the living room, in front of the tv. I lie on the table. People come into the room, solemn, some holding back tears, some blank and some mustering false sympathy. My wife and kids are inside the bedroom. I wish to be with them, but they don’t seem to be willing to spend more time near my dead body. My son is crying now, probably startled by all these people. He is not a people’s person. Neither am I. I can hear someone walking around, with him cradled in her arms, trying to calm him down. That never works; he can sleep only when we are sitting still in our garden and sing a soft lullaby to him. I found this trick in his third month when my wife and I had developed large dark circles from virtually no sleep.
In batches they pray the Janazah prayers in front of me. I hope that they pray for a trial free grave for me. I know that I’ll be taken to my new home soon and I am too scared to even think what’s waiting for me there.
Soon some men enter the room and say it’s time. They shift me from the table to a flat stretcher. My girl stands there, silently looking on. My wife comes out then and hugs me, one last time. I can feel her wet face as she kisses me. Then her mother holds her back as they lift me out.
I am at the graveyard now. There’s the smell of freshly dug mud in the air. They lower me into the ground, gently, knowing that I can feel it. One of them enters the grave and positions me correctly. And then they place a slab on me. A blanket of darkness stifles me.
I can hear the sound of mud being thrown over the slab. It gets stuffier and I can’t breathe. You may laugh saying I am dead, but I really can’t breathe.The pressure is building up. Now I can hear footsteps walking away, leaving me here. Alone.
Then a presence.
Then a presence.
My results are out.