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Time of Death

Twilight quietly crept up on us.  

I was almost unaware of it, the book in my hand, focused on the heart wrenching words the author had written. The protagonist of the book was writing a book, a guidebook on death. There was something about processing words written in black in white on paper, instead of a screen that added to the emotional effect. Maybe the processing was different, or just the feeling of having a book in your hands instead of a glaring white screen.  

If I could pick the time of my death, this would be it.  

The thought pervaded my senses until it was all I could think of. While the book definitely contributed to the emergence of this epiphany, it wasn’t all there was. Lately, I had been driving myself up the wall, ruminating a little more than usual about death.  

I thought of the time I had been forced to look at the corpse of my grandmother. How I’d sobbed standing over the narrow grave, in which they would put her, never to be seen or heard from again! What a monumentally dismal prospect, of having spent an entire life, struggling for power and importance, only to be left behind in a little space inside the earth, and getting dug up as soon as the government decides to sell that land to some corporation or building project, bones and remains discarded somewhere in a landfill or some other place, with some other people.  

It took me some time to remind myself that it didn’t matter if the grave was narrow; corpses don’t need to breathe.  

The memory of an acquaintance was the next to leave an imprint on my already forlorn thoughts. His life was bleak. I knew this through the limited interaction with him, and then after his death because he was friends with all my friends. Four days had passed since his untimely demise and most of them still remained in a state of persistent disbelief.  

How is it that even after witnessing the last breath go out, the last brain wave become silent; we couldn’t bring ourselves to completely accept his departure? We mourned his loss, sometimes silently, with tears quietly creeping down our cheeks. Other times, we would flick through the pictures and the videos. It was morbid watching him smile out of the screen, without a clue about the future. Time is, as always, a mystery and never truly ours. We live by borrowing the time of other people and then, when we leave them, we hand over our clock and without a word, force them to live on without us, in a time that is only theirs. He would never borrow our time, and nor we, his.  

The sky was turning from a burnt orange to a periwinkle. The black and white tuxedo cat sitting in front of me yawned and rose up only to sit down again, curling his tail around his paws. He looked at me, yellow eyes curious but not enough to investigate the moisture on my face.  

I looked towards the dying sun and tried to breathe.  

Yes, I would choose to die at twilight.  

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