Look at me and listen carefully. Everything they’ve told you is a lie.
Sharp words—biting thoughts—punctuate a sharp turn, a skid. But there are no memories flashing before these eyes of mine, no fond images to ponder and make me infinitely regretful of this decision. The earth is shattering but only because I’m causing it. They say you go deaf, your vision goes blank but that’s not true either. I see the bright headlights to the left of me, the depth of darkness to the right. I see that tree… And I hear everything; cars honking as they pass (that doppler effect), tires squelching along waterlogged pavement. The bump of my car sliding off the road and into uneven grass…over rocks…past something that squeals…into that tree. My tree… There is no white light.
Everything is a lie.
Heaven smells like chemical disinfectant and salted fries. It’s peculiar.
The first thing I see when I open my eyes—a flutter—is the bright, blinding light. It swings back and forth between each eye—a pendulum of sorts—and briefly I wonder if this is it, if this is God judging me. But soon thereafter the light moves away—a hand follows—and this room comes into view. White ceiling, white sheets…white noise eventually clearing to introduce the beeping of a machine. The clearing of a throat…
A man’s voice booming overhead.
“Can you hear me?” A pregnant pause, then again “Miss, can you hear me?”
Someone groans faintly. I think it’s me.
“Can you open your eyes?” That voice—so loud, so harsh that I scrunch them instead.
Someone to my left shifts in their seat—the squelch of cloth against leather—and whispers frantically, “Her eyes.”
“Is she waking?”
“I think she is…”
“Open your eyes, dear.”
Another moan pierces the air and I am for certain it is mine. The air is too light, the room is too bright. I’d been waking though I choose to sleep. I hear that man—that voice—murmur,
“It should be any moment now,” before I slip into a sleep that seems to last an eternity.
On good days they feed me pudding; Chocolate, vanilla, pistachio…I like to think myself the connoisseur of all things Jell-O.
It’s a ritual of sorts; Some plump, matronly nurse—we’ll call her Pat—rolling in on sunshine and caution, setting an unopened cup (of whatever flavor) on the breakfast stand nearby. She allows me a plastic spoon (perhaps metal ones are too dangerous for the likes of me) and fluffs my pillow all the while spouting her wonted cautionary.
“Now, dear,” Said always with discretion, said always with a grin. “Don’t eat too fast.”
“And dear—” Said always with the sort of circumspection reserved for those who pretend to be oblivious but aren’t really. “Don’t forget to take your pills.” Which she lies beside my pudding—today she offers banana, something she assumes is my favorite—with an elevated brow. I know what she means but I shrug nonetheless. No promises.
“And dear,” Which she never says a third time but I school away my confusion. “No bathroom breaks until I return. Doctor’s determined you aren’t ready for that sort of exertion.” And she rolls away, taking all the sunshine and caution with her.
When I know she’s gone—when I no longer feel her warmth—I careen toward the ensuite with intent, little guilt. Blue pills are wrapped in white tissue are flushed down a porcelain bowl are followed by pudding before I resume my position in bed.
Truth is, I hate banana.