I remember, as if through haze, the last summer before I die. It was somehow unusual, blurry, like my life those days. And not just mine...
I was very ill back then, so to me, I guess, it seemed that the whole lead celestial vault lay on my chest and didn’t let me breathe. The rain, that fell almost every day, was bluntly drumming on the metal window sill, like those hollow snare drums before the execution, writing out some strange arabesques on the misty panes, - messages from that world, understandable only to me. I knew that the end was nigh. And amazingly, I wasn’t sad about leaving, although I loved life above all. The beautiful one, joyful and careless, my children, friends. And you, of course, who, even for yourself didn’t know why, inertly came and sat by my grave for a while, told me the tidings, or just remained in wistful silence, made a sigh and left... What else?You, certainly, don’t know anything about death. I didn’t know either, until I came here. Now I know what I – with a certain remorse – only guessed: that living is insolence. Prodigal, gratuitous conceit. Temptation, which is hard to resist. And the All-maker himself wanted it thus, implanting to every living being a desperate resistance towards death, although he knew it was inevitable.
I’m lying here, in the rake of dark, and I still don’t understand why did he give the joy and the torture of living, when he exactly determined the end to us all...? And when and what it will be like.
And now... now it’s like I’ve never been ill at all. Admittedly, it’s a bit dull, but I’ll get used to it. I’ve met some neighbours, they explained it to me, - it needs a certain amount of time to pass until the soul abandons the body and leaves... there, upstairs. They’re all, together with me, on that trial internship. Waiting. Only later does the decay begin. Then we won’t be able to converse. Bones don’t speak.
You asked me once, - when we theoretically, dare I say, philosophically, talked about death, like something abstract and very distant from us, - do I believe in afterlife? It was a notional mistake: Life exists only on the other side of the line; over here is resting, stout and unshadowed silence, in which we wait to become what we were meant to be - dust in cosmic infinity.
Do you remember that grey dove that persistently came to our window and patiently waited with its dark little eyes, like the head of a thumbtack? Half-jokingly we were saying that she, maybe, was my mother, killed during the war... and, really, it seemed, while she twirled her head, that she was asking me: “How are you, child? Are you well?” - and she never receded from the window sill, like a watch-guard, as if she was taking care of me. Afterwards, she unexpectedly disappeared. You’ll laugh, but I, deep inside, started to believe that it was Her and I was saddened that she was gone. She came back a year later, when I've gotten ill. She didn’t move away from the window since. Up until I died.
She no longer comes, you say? ... I don’t know, it’s kind of confusing... Maybe those stories aren't just morbid nonsense. Maybe I’ll, someday, become, let’s say, some puppy that you’ll take for yourself in your isolation, that you’ll coddle and feed, and it will love you the way I loved you. Silently and devotedly. Like “an intern” that doesn’t know where his soul will be. I’m waiting for a schedule. After that, you won’t have to come anymore; we might meet somewhere else. If that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t matter. A man is definitely dead when he’s forgotten...
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