Death’s here again, oversleeping in my bed. I can’t catch a break; I wanted one Saturday morning alone.
“Move over,”I say, “Your feet are so cold.”
“My feet? How about yours?” Death accuses.
“Poor circulation,” I answer and roll over on my stomach. “What’s your excuse?”
Death laughs and continues to hog the covers.
“What are you doing here anyway? It’s summer. You don’t belong in summer. Summer is for children playing and adults screwing. You are the opposite of summer. Go home.” Death in August is so unnatural; it’s like seeing an animal locked in a cage at the zoo.
Death grunts a response, like a man accused of something he doesn’t care to take responsibility for doing.
I roll onto my side, facing the opposite wall, and continue with my tirade, angry from being woken up early, angry that death has crammed himself into any crevice my life has opened up to it. “You belong in winter. You belong in,” I stop and search for the most searing example, “January. You are so January, with your cold forgetfulness, your forgetting of the promises we made to each other on New Year’s to fulfill all our resolutions and live forever.”
Death reaches one bony arm over my side and spoons me, promising me something. A finality?
“Ugh, get off me,” I say and shrug free. “Go back to November.”
“Even if it’s November, I’ll still be waiting for you,” Death reminds me and playfully jabs at my ribcage.
“You’re so clingy. You’re like an ex-boyfriend who doesn’t get that it’s over. It’s over.”
“But it’s never really over. I’m always here with you.”
“But can’t you give me some space? Go back to the news. Go back to distant, elderly relatives I met once when I was five. Go back to someone who knows someone.”
“I will. I am. You’re that someone who knows someone too. What makes you think you’re immune to loss? I’m a plague, darling, I’m inevitability. ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die.’”
“Quit with the Ecclesiastes, please. I’ve been to church before too. I know the routine.” I throw the covers off me and sit up in bed. I can’t possibly talk to Death like this. “I’m taking a shower. You better be gone by the time I come back, or else,” I threaten limply.
But Death won’t. Death will walk around my kitchen, exerting its presence like a mouse, a cockroach, or any other unwanted houseguest, a friend who invites herself over to stay with you. Death will crawl into my phone calls from home, our tearful prayers to no one, answered by no one.
“Turn off the light, will you?” Death asks as I move to the door.
“It’s not on. That’s the sunlight coming through the window. It’s summer, you idiot, I told you that already.”
“It’s too bright; I don’t know how you people live like this,” Death complains.
I leave my bedroom, leave behind the thick still air and move to the window. I want to go out into the sunlight and run forever and never turn back.