Deer caught in the headlights, wild-eyed, nebbish, paralysed. Glazed eyes panicked on his bewilderment, as his arms shocked out, to brace the inevitable; his body splayed out against the incandescent harshness of the beam. I flayed at the spinning steering wheel, jerking it into a lifesaving right, as our silent screams screeched through the cleaving foliage. As hurtling metal ripped through clawing thorns, the last thing I remembered was the dark suited man bringing down his incongruous arms and folding them into beseeching supplication. His eyes now raised in mute benediction. He wanted to die!
The shock registered like blinding lightning, turning everything into a photo negative, as the car ploughed into the bushes, jarring against protruding rocks. I was catapulted into the opaque wilderness but the thousand arms of a forest deity caught me up and held me tight.
My imploding brain screamed, “I missed him, I missed him, I missed him…but now I’m going to die.”
Why am I panicking! This is why I am here, isn’t it!
But when the moment of darkness comes upon us, are we ever ready?
I thought I was ready when the last treatment failed and I was a bird with a broken wing. The bone pain fatigue welcomed the thought of death as a sensual gratification. I was set to usher in death without repugnance.
The last room in the hospital is airless and windowless. I sit on the edge of the metal bed, my dangling feet cold and lifeless on the hard metal rest. Flood lit room, beeping machines, blinking lights on machines that don’t stop even when the line flattens out. The ever present vapour of anaesthesia. An anaesthetic finish. Waiting for Godot.
A nurse comes in shaking the stray raindrops off her watch. I reach out to touch the dewy moistness, and am filled with wonder at its cool freshness on my skin. It’s raining outside in the forest of the hills. Thunder and lightning mating. Dark clouds dancing with the moon. They don’t enter my windowless room.
I’m going to become non-living here- as if I never existed. A non-entity. I want to feel comfortable with death. To be unburdened and unburdening to those I love. Surely, death is a necessary part of life and I wish it to be a crescendo of human centric dying. Not here, not like this.
I flit out of the concrete walls and drive into the hills, away from uncomprehending humans. A sense of inhuman urgency and seismic shift drives me onto the winding roads towards my unicorn. We shall speak into the night, the small and great things, and he will lead me to happy pastures. No blinking lights but in a blink to be one with Him.
And then suddenly, from out of nowhere, my headlights catch the startled gaze of the man standing phantasmagorical, in my headlong rush.
He’s standing over me easing me out of my entanglements. In that dark forest the fireflies come together as we, incongruously, talk into the night, unburdened and unburdening. It’s always easy confiding in a stranger. Healing comes when suffering together and so does love.
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