Taboo: On Mixing Life and Death

Fog shrouds the night. I am driving alone on a country road. The drifting miasma intermittently envelopes my car. Peering through the front window, I see the road clearly, then it disappears in the meandering mist. Abruptly, it is totally dark, as if theater curtains close on the final scene. Nothing visible. I hear the sound of steel bending. I know immediately that I smashed into a lamppost although I cannot see anything. I feel myself being lifted in the air, above the driver’s seat, even though my safety belt is fastened securely. I am not frightened. I am watching myself in awe. Then, to my amazement, I plunk down with the car upright. I turn the engine off, take the key out of the ignition, open the car door, and get out. When the police arrive, they say the car flipped over. When my daughter arrives, she wants to know if my life had flashed before my eyes.

The presence of Death cloaks me in darkness with more and more persistence. Like a child on Halloween, Death comes to my door again and again, each time with a different mask—increasingly demanding to be let in. I slam the door in its face. Before my car “accident,” people I knew had died, including close family—my parents, my aunts, my uncles, my grandparents—and my beloved partner. Now I am the eldest of my living siblings and cousins. Yet Death continues to roll off me like water off a seal. I am impervious. Somehow, I will survive. I will not die. Then the darkness grabs me, holding me above my own life. 

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