Chapter Two: When Memories Betray
Memories… There's something about them, something we trust, believe in, hold on to. Our memories make us who we are, and tell us, help us remember, how far we have gone or how long we have stayed. They tell us about our past and our experiences, our problems and how we overcame all of it. Yes, memories tell us a lot of things, sometimes, too much…
"I'm not dead," I repeat to myself.
"This is stupid. I've been telling myself this when I should know if I'm alive or not! That's basic thinking. You just ask yourself, 'are you breathing? Is your heart beating? Can you feel anything?' and then you know when you say –"
I stop at mid-sentence, realizing that my answer was definitely not 'yes.'
"I'm not breathing. My heart's not beating. I cannot feel anything…" I whisper.
My eyes remain open and suddenly I could not move. It's as though I've been glued onto the floor. Is this fear? But how come I don't feel afraid? It can't be. I can't feel it but I know that it is fear that's suddenly taken a hold of me. Either that, or shock.
"I'm… dead?" I ask myself softly, still not believing it.
"But I don't remember anything! I can't be dead."
I decide to leave this place. I never really liked it here even though I always used to go here. 'Used to'? Why am I suddenly using the past tense? I still can't be sure. I'm not proven dead! But I know I'm just saying this because I still can't believe it. I run out and wait for a cab to pass by so I can go home and see for myself. I raise my hand to call the cab driving by and it stops just in front of me. Just as I extend my arm to open the door, an arm suddenly appears somewhere near my abdomen and reaches out for the door. Then, a woman passes right through me and goes inside. I stand there in shock as they drive away.
"What was that all about?" I hear myself whisper.
I don't need to answer that question. I know the answer. I just don't want to accept it, but as the car slowly disappears into the horizon, realization strikes me. I am dead. It all fits. They couldn't hear me talking. I can't feel anything. I saw my body. Someone just passed through me for god sakes!
"How… how come? How come I don't remember anything? How come I don't remember dying?!"
I scream and scream until I could scream no more. I stand here, dazed. I stare at the pavement I am now standing on. I look up to see the cars and the people pass by. I turn around and see the hospital before my eyes. I look down at my hands.
"Have I really? But how? I don't remember."
I sit down on the same spot I was standing on. My mind wanders. I remember the days I'd get up for school. I turn my night-light off. My radio is still playing my favorite song over and over because I put it on repeat. There are a few text messages on my phone from texting late at night. I get up and walk towards the bathroom. I get in the shower and savor the refreshing coolness of the water hitting my back. It's almost like a massage. I grab my towel and dry myself. I put my robe on and proceed to brushing my teeth. I go to my room, take off the robe and put on my uniform. I go back to the bathroom and brush my hair, feeling frustrated when it wouldn't look the way I want it and I'd have to rinse off the gel and fix it all over again. And then I go down and see my mother still sleeping on the couch where she usually sleeps when she's working on something. I go outside and lock the door. My dog runs towards me. He'd look so excited to see me and I pet him. He follows me to the fence and I tell him to stay. He'd sit and I'd go to the car where my dad is waiting. We drive off.
Those were the days I suddenly miss. The thought of not being able to experience that daily ritual seemed so painful, and yet I don't feel anything. And then I look back down at myself. Why am I still here? If I'm dead, I should be somewhere else. I don't know where, but anywhere else but here.
"I don't understand," I say but my voice trails off.
I want to cry, but I can't. All I can do is scream, but I don't want to. I'm confused and I can't feel anything. I just don't know what to do. What happened? Why am I no longer breathing? How come I don't remember anything? I know I shouldn't be here, but where should I go?
"Anyone… help me."
I bring my knees closer to my chest, hugging them tight and burying my head in the space between. I feel so alone. There isn't anyone here that can help me. There is no one who knows I'm even here. What should I do? I don't know anything, not anymore. I don't remember anything happening. My memories lie. There is no more need for them. They mean nothing to me now. The memories I treasured so much then, are now useless. I'd rather if they are gone.