I’ve been mourning Ma for almost a month and two weeks now. Mourning like a god. I’ve been crowing for death in the way a bankrupt immortal might.
I’ve been saying prayers before I sleep- to death, or maybe to my body, asking one or the other to please not wake me up.
But when my aunt’s alarm goes off and I wake little Gabby who has crawled into my bed and WET it if I’m unlucky, when I throw our blanket off and pat her awake for our bath, I never howl, “Noooo. I’m not dead. Confound it! Confound life!” I perform our ablutions without thought.
Afterwards though, I weep and bleed and rage and DEMAND for death and get very hysterical about its refusal to listen.
Like a fool.
Because who tells me death hasn’t listened? Hasn’t said, “WHY, OF COURSE. GIVE ME TIME.”? What kind of foolishness drives my fits of rage? Because of course I’ll die. My body agreed to die a long time ago; the moment I was conceived.
Death isn’t in some distant future. It lives in me. I’m perpetually dead. Just like I’m constantly the ex-foetus, fighting her way out of her mother’s body. I have never stopped being dead.
So please, Mildred. No more yelling or raging. No more anger at your body.
Poor body. Poor beautiful shell that I love. You will die and rot. And all the effort that I’ve spent making you look awesome shall die with you. How tragic for you that my soul won’t stay to keep you company. It shall flee! The moment you cease to throb with life, it will bolt to more beautiful things. Do you feel sorry for yourself, body? Does it pain you? Or have you come to terms with this? Have you always known?
Good for me that my eyes have been opened to your answer, death. Good for me that I know. I’m scared, oh so frightened of you, but only because I’ve never been lifeless. I don’t know what it feels like to a maggot buffet. To not throb and pulse and bleed. That’s the only thing you have on me.
Otherwise, I’ve won this, I think. It’s over. You lose.