You stop dead in your tracks. Your body tenses up as your breaths fasten. Each contraction of your diaphragm takes you a second closer to the truth, as your eyes dart from left to right on the words that announced him. Why can’t you see him?
Your fingers tremble at the thought of him. You fear him. It has been ingrained into our hearts since we were children that he would one day come for us regardless of the circumstance. We learn that each time someone was taken away from us with or without a warning, that his arrival was usually unexpected. More often than not, he swatted through families, homes, roads and even buildings. His presence on location was almost unpredictable. We were taught that we should never expect a reason that justified his presence.
Instead, we soothe our discontentment of his actions with medical jargons written on a piece of laminated paper we name after him, reminding us that who he took was not a dream or a figment of our imagination. The paper stresses its importance of a previous existence that has since then expired. Just like expired milk. Sour.
As far as we know, he had no face to his name. Many mistook him for the Grim Reaper, which led to his dismay. He believed he was far more fearful. Powerful. Definitely not someone who existed only in cartoons and children’s books created as a figment of our imagination and creativity. As much as you hated him coming around, a part of you knew he was fair. Fairer than what we humans determined as the truth. Labels had no meanings in his dictionary, Social skills had no leverage. He laughed each time he watched each of you make a deal with his arch enemy.
He’d be running his usual rounds around you, waiting and lurking around. You’d chase fame, fortune and tick all the unchecked boxes on your to gain list of tangible items. In return, you turn in the lease for a lifetime ownership of your soul. But eventually, he knows what you choose to deny- no one can live forever.
The living‘s words of condolences bring no comfort, but only serves as constant reminders and reassurance of what he has touched and taken. Their eyes that stay glued open fixated at you will make your heart feel colder than you ever felt before in your life. You will box up your emotions quickly from the prying eyes of the public. Your steps that once cruised through the tough times now stay rooted to the ground.
You will beg time, even if you know that she wouldn’t be able to reverse or rectify death’s actions. She will feel sorry for you and assure you that she will ease that deep sadness that you feel- her medicine is not fast healing but is one that stops pain eventually. Sadly, it does not help you forget fully what has happened because she believes Death’s works helped us humans understand the true value of a memory. He was proud when people treasured the pain he gave them, because he knew it turned heads and blew leafs over.
Death follows time closely. He walks behind her no matter where she goes, despite her constant pleas to walk alone. I screamed for answers through many sleepless nights, desperate for a fast cure, a quick fix or a magical elixir that could help me forget. One night, she comes to me in my dreams. She whispers to my ear as I see her tears of guilt fall down her pale cheeks from the corner of my eye uncontrollably.
“His weaknesses lay in his conscience and perfectionism; he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he made a mistake.
Don’t you see it? I’m an indicator for whose time is, or isn’t up.”