Death-near

I see a young girl, early teens perhaps, wearing a yellow dress with, what seem, watermelon stains scattered on her not yet fully developed chest area. I don’t see her eating watermelon, nor is there any hint of it in the vision I gather, but my mind gladly helps me fill in the gaps of my knowledge. I see the girl run towards the sea on this oddly warm spring day and then stop just before her feet touch the water; she buries her smaller-than-average feet in the wet seashore sand and turns around to flash a smile so joyful that it makes me feel misplaced, but simultaneously in exactly the place I need to be. I see her startled by the cold waves: she almost falls over, but gracefully manages to stay upright, laughing all the way through, as if she’s never experienced anything nearly as funny as this. I laugh, too. I laugh because of her demeanour and because of the warm smell of the sun on her hair. I feel my muscles smiling in response to the young breeze that’s just risen from the waves.

I see another girl, this one is younger. I figure she is around four years young: old enough to run, but too young to make an estimation of how fast she can or should go. I can’t tell how, but the scenery has changed: I’ve gone from sunny beachside to rustic riverside within the blink of an eye, except I cannot remember blinking at all. I think it’s almost fall; the trees around me are not as full as they are during summertime. I look at the little girl; she’s wearing a horizontally striped red-and-white bathing suit and has greasy, colourless smears all around her mouth, as if she’s just eaten very oily fish. I see her giggle, jump up and down, run around two trees and then towards the river. I see her reach the shoreline a little faster than she meant to, and despite her strong-willed attempt at keeping her balance, she plunges right into the water. I’m not scared for her; I’m aware that she can swim, although how exactly I’ve obtained this knowledge is, again, a complete mystery to me. I am surrounded by a dreadful energy, but remain at ease myself. I fully experience the freedom of being able to breathe while this little girl is under water; I breathe in and out a few times before her bright face reappears. I welcome her sunny laughter into my heart, keep it there like a tiny anchor folded in a red-and-white satin babushka.

I am not at the riverside anymore. I am now in a patio crowded with peafowls. I know my way around, I’ve encountered this place before, except in a different place, – time maybe even. I walk around like I’m one of the peahens, with just as little colour and a similar sense of submission about me, changing direction every five to seven steps I take, always keeping an eye on the prancing peacocks. I make my way up a staircase located on the side of the patio; the sun isn’t shining and it is extremely hot and damp, so I gather I’ve reached this patio mid-summer. I am overcome with relief, such an incredible amount of it, when I encounter an albino peafowl standing at the top of the stairs; I stop in my tracks to behold his serene stature. I can’t help but wanting to sit on his back; I know he can carry me to places beyond, make me see things through his sweet eyes, and give me the liberating sensation of the wind on my skin, filtered through his awe-striking, virginal feathers. I know I’m clean, but I know I can use some purification, too. I hope he knows I’m worth his time. I need to pee.

I stumble before I reach him, and fall down the stairs, through clouds of glass and rains of grass; I hope he knows I was worth his time. I hold onto the comforting smell of the peacock’s feathers, that of warm eggshells, as I fall and fall, dance mid-air like an acrobat with invisible strings attached to my increasingly heavy limbs; wasn’t I worth his time? I feel full, incredibly, painfully full. I have stiletto heels sinking into my chest, I’m being walked upon by someone, something; he or she or it pops me like I’m bubble wrap, and I need to pee more urgently each nanosecond that passes. I’m dying, I’m dying, I’m dying,- am I dreaming, am I dying, am I dancing? I’m dying, I’m dying, I’m peeing, help, I’m dying.

I emerge from the water, fall down on a hard cement floor, gasp for air. I wake up, in a bed. I am… I am where, what? I look left: my mother is hysterical in a way that is almost artistic. I look right: my father cries the first tears I’ve witnessed him crying in my life. I close my eyes under the heaviness of my soul-stirring headache and see them, the girls. I see them waving and blowing kisses, sitting on the sightly peacock. I watch them fly: away, away they go.

“No!” my mother yells. I open my eyes and I am… Well, yes, I am alive.

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