The Day I Died

This was the day I died. The sun was shining brightly in the cloudless sky. You can even hear faint singing of the birds. It was a good day to die.

I wanted to die peacefully, like most people do. But you can’t really choose now, can you? Once you’re dead, you’re dead. And your preferred way of dying wouldn’t really matter. Just pray it would not be in the Final Destination kind of way.

And so, just like that, I got hit by a car which ended my life. So cliché.

 ***

“Do you ever get that feeling that something is about to end?”

“What do you mean?” my friend, Anna, asked.

“What if I die, like, right now?” Anna nudged me and stared at me as if I’ve gone insane.

“I’m serious! I mean, I just wonder.”

“What’s gotten into you? And what’s up with all these questions?” came the reply.

“Just… nothing. Just a random question.”

“Can we talk about something else? Oooh, I saw Sam yesterday.”

“Who?”

“Samantha! The girl you have the hots for. Sorry, but I think she’s taken. She’s with this impossibly attractive guy… sexy body, great smile, he looks smart, too…”

“Spare me the details.” I interrupted. “Let’s go back to a more interesting topic – death.”

“Death of your heart?” she smirked.

“You’re corny!”

“What?! Heartbreak can actually cause physical pain, you know.”

“Seriously, death is a normal part of life but people avoid talking about it, like what you’re trying to do just now.”

“It makes me sad thinking about it.”

“I think talking about it makes you appreciate life more. Allows you to put things into perspective.”

“Oh yeah? But that doesn’t stop us from doing stupid things, and being mean, and destroying the environment.”

I paused. Anna looked at me curiously. “What are you thinking about now?” she prodded.

“What happens after we die?”

“Nothing. Just poof! Simply the end.”

“I think I prefer believing that there’s life after death. At least you’ve got something to hope for.”

***

Tuesdays with Morrie lamented how everything seems to move on as any normal day despite someone dying. That’s just the way it is. Whether we accept it or not. We’re not going to get out of life alive.

Too bad for me. I won’t be able to tick off items from my bucket list. Wait, I didn’t really have a bucket list. There are still so many things I haven’t tried.

I think the hardest thing is I wasn’t able to say good-bye to the people I love. I just wish they realize that I do love them despite me not saying it enough.

Would it make any difference if I was given more time? Maybe so, maybe not. Well, time is just an illusion anyway.

How am I still having these thoughts? I’m supposed to be dead, right?

Then I started seeing memories, like camera lights flashing. Good, bad, happy, sad. Faces of relatives, friends, enemies (can’t remember why I fought with that guy). I lived a meaningful life. And I guess it’s a good day to die.

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Cold

spiral

I can’t feel my fingers
All I see is white
It’s been a year since the sky exploded with ice
They warned
We didn’t listen
Then everything went downhill
 
I can’t feel my fingers
All I see is white
The world was gripped with terror
Chaos
Nobody knew what to do
Then everything went downhill
 
I can’t feel my fingers
All I see is white
People died
Animals died
Plants died
The earth died
Then everything went downhill
 
I can’t feel my fingers
All I see is white
I’m alone
I don’t know if others survived
God, I’m hungry!
Everything’s going downhill
 
I can’t feel my fingers
All I see is white
Excruciatingly starving
Looking at my hands
Drooling
Everything’s gone downhill
*Inspired by the movie, Snowpiercer and Stephen King’s short story, Survivor Type.

Playing House

Writing 101 Day 18: Hone Your Point of View

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street. Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.

The neighborhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

I sit there on the stoop across the street wondering. What’s gonna happen to poor Mrs. Pauley? Will she be homeless now? Can’t anyone do something? Where are her sons? Don’t they care about their mother?

Mrs. Pauley is a gentle, sweet lady. I haven’t really talked to her but whenever she sees me, she would wave and smile. Now why would life be cruel to someone as nice as she is. Life is unfair. I can’t say that for myself. I’m one of the lucky ones. Well, Mom and Dad say so.

You see, I’m a Filipino. But I was brought to America when I was just a baby. Something to do with jobs and opportunities, and life being difficult in my homeland. America is a land of milk and honey, I once heard. I don’t know what that means but it’s supposed to be better here.

Mrs. Pauley’s situation reminds me of the Philippines, especially the unfortunate ones. Mom loves watching shows on the Filipino Channel. I think it’s her way of not losing connection. I watch these shows with her. A lot of it are in Filipino and there are subtitles and Mom would be translating. Sometimes I can’t keep up.

Anyway, one time we were watching this documentary about Filipinos living in the slums. People living in shanties, in patched up box-like houses made from rusting iron sheets, wood, and plastic scraps. It’s like they’re playing house except this is as real as it can get.

Mom began telling me about how those moms and dads don’t have any real job. How could they possibly survive? And they have kids. Not one, not two, but more. Naked kids just running around, unmindful of the filth around them.

It’s dirty, it’s noisy, it’s sad. I’m really lucky. How can I live like this while other children in the world experience poverty? I can’t understand. Whose fault is it? Am I also at fault?

I look at Mrs. Pauley. She smiled and waved at me. I waved back. I could see the uncertainty from her face. But she seems hopeful. Maybe one of her kids would take her in. Maybe there’s a place she could go to. Maybe life is fair after all. Maybe.

Dark Clouds

Writing 101 Day 12: Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon
Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.
Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

It was raining the day he died. The rain tapped persistently on the window waking me up from my trancelike unconsciousness. I was sitting there for around 30 minutes now, no, I checked my watch, only 15 minutes, felt like a lot longer than that though.

I remember the last time I talked to him. In this same place, the coffee shop.

“So what’s up?” he asked and took a sip of the coffee he ordered that has no sugar in it.

We talked about politics, corruption, and world domination. About war and poverty. About our buddies whom we haven’t seen for such a long time. About the good old days when we were younger and couldn’t care less of what’s happening around us.

Then a long pause. Nobody said a word, probably thinking of what to talk about next.

“What if there’s no God?”

I gazed at Gabriel, surprised at his question. “You don’t believe in God?” I asked back.

“You know, beyond belief and all… What if God is merely a symbolism of our hopes?”

“So what’s this? Your version of ‘Da Vinci Code’?”

“Seriously…”

“Well, everybody needs a sense of God. It’s what makes us…um, sane, human.”

“You mean the absence of this sense of God could somehow strip away reason?”

“Bluntly speaking, yes. But it could be more complex than that…”

“There simply can be no answer to our every question. But it really doesn’t matter does it? It’s just… faith.”

“There you go. I guess you just answered your question.”

Gabriel smiled. I drank all the coffee in my cup never minding how cold it has gone.

“Why are we here? What’s life for?”

“For us to enjoy all the coffee we want?” I chimed in.

“Do you think man is naturally evil that they choose to make life so miserable?”

“I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse that we are given the freedom of choice. The sad thing is we usually make the wrong choices.”

“What’s the deal with people, anyway? And let me borrow Solomon’s words: chasing after who-knows-what.”

“The wind.”

“What?”

“The wind, we’re chasing after the wind; it’s what Solomon said. I think it’s true happiness that we’re after.”

“And meaning…”

“Yeah, meaning – meaningfulness of life that makes us wanna live forever to prove that we do have a meaningful life.”

“As I once heard, you don’t have to live forever you just have to live. Whatever that means.”

We talked some more. About current events. About the deterioration of society. About the end of days. About heaven and hell.

“That is, if there’s a God with which the concept of heaven and hell seem connected with” Gabriel remarked.

“And if there’s no heaven or hell, what? We’ll be reincarnated to lowly cockroaches when we die?” I teased.

“At least we’ll be able to survive in this nearly toxic world. Did you know that cockroaches are one of the most resilient creatures on earth? Which leads back to the question of God’s existence. If there’s no God, how did the earth or even these cockroaches come to be – out of thin air or something?”

“Faith…” we chorused.

That was the last time I saw and spoke to him. Now I wonder if his faith led him somewhere. Somewhere like heaven. I would want to believe he’s in heaven.

The rain has stopped. I sat there for a few minutes then left.

Point of View

Writing 101 Day 9: Point of View
Today’s Prompt: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.
Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

How can I tell her? I don’t want to break her heart? I love her so much?

I want to stay in love with this man. I want us to remain in this moment. Right here, right now. I like the tender feel of his hands. I don’t want to let go.

What a lovely couple. Reminds me of my younger days.

 ***

Reminds me of Ana. Red is her favorite color. Small, red sweater. The baby, the baby inside her. My baby. Guilt is eating me up. I can’t take this anymore.

I look at my husband. He starts crying. What’s wrong?

What’s this? A man crying.

 ***

Be a man and tell her! “I cheated on you!”

“What?!” How can you do this to me?

“Oh dear…” Men! Ugh! Not a lovely couple after all!