What Follows

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1.1: My 'Awakening'

~what if everything you’re going through . . . is preparing you for what you asked for?~

There are two levels of fucked-up-ness. There’s Hitler’s level- the guy who killed millions of innocent people (children included) in the Holocaust. And then there’s this. Whatever you call it.

Me standing in the tub I just killed myself in and watching my own limp body get drained from all its blood. My blood. Like a literal out-of-body experience. And all I can think of is- holy shit, how did I do that? And if- oh my life, am I a ghost now? And- am I going to haunt this place forever? And- aren’t I supposed to rise to the sky where I was meant to be doomed forever?

The candle in my mouth is still lit, and the flame is swaying like it has no idea what the hell happened. Hell, I, myself have no idea what is happening right now. Like, is this some kind of transitional stage before I get lifted to hell?

I stand frozen, not feeling the red water that’s supposedly touching my skin. And realizing that; realizing that I am not feeling anything at all. Not the pain in my -holy shit- healed wrists. Not the icy water that’s ebbing at my calves. Not the dress that’s sticking to my skin. It all freaks me out.

And I know, biologically, that that should mean that I should feel my heart going mad hard in my chest and that I should start hyperventilating. Because how afraid I feel, only means adrenaline and a panic attack are on the way. And even though ‘panic attacks’ is one of the reasons why I ‘killed’ myself, I can’t help freaking out over not getting one. Now.

I find myself lifting my hand toward my chest. And I swear I can see my hand on my chest, but I feel nothing. It’s like my brain hasn’t lost the sense of anything (not the sense of smell because the bathroom reeks of my blood’s rusty stench and not my sight because I can still see everything, duh), but the senses of touch and taste.

How do I know I lost my sense of taste? Good question.

Before I ‘killed’ myself, I made sure I ate my favourite dish of meatballs. I was sure the aftertaste lingered till the moment I slit my wrist. And now, there’s nothing. I can’t even feel my tongue in my mouth.

Panicked by what the hell is happening, I get out of the tub and onto the candle-laden tiles. I stand in front of the mirror and of course, don’t see myself. And I feel afraid. Really afraid. What the hell is to become of me now? What the hell is happening? And most importantly, why the hell am I still stuck here? In this very same world, I wanted to escape from?

Maybe I am dreaming and just rehearsing my suicide in my dream?- I think to myself. Maybe I need to wake the hell up. I pinch myself but feel nothing. I don’t feel the flesh between my fingers, even though I know I’m applying the pressure. It is fifty shades of horror and death-anxiety.

I stagger to the sink and reach for the tab. I’m almost shocked when it turns on my command. The water flows between my fingers like it did in every pathetic morning I had in this house. But needless to say, despite the water rebounding and splashing off my skin, I feel nothing.

Nothing. Neither its temperature, nor its strength.

“What the hell?" I hear from the hallway, and I know if I have a heart it would’ve stopped. It is my dad’s voice.

They apparently returned from their little trip to West Virginia to sell the house we used to spend summers in as a family. Yes, they are cutting all the bonds already.

I am standing, facing the door in anticipation, not believing what the hell is happening to me, but somehow hearing my laboured breaths calm me down a bit (at least I’m breathing. I think). I glance back at my dead, pale body and feel woozy.

“Maybe it’s Rose,” Mom tells him back. “She loves candles.” Yes, I do. “Gosh, I always tell her off about playing-” Her frail figure comes to an abrupt stop when she stands right in front of the bathroom’s open door. She’s as always dressed like royalty with perfectly styled, short blonde hair, a beige, Chanel pencil skirt, a white blazer, white, leather gloves, and a jade, Loius Vuitton handbag.

My mom’s thin, pale face falls, and her handbag-unoccupied hand flies to slap her chest. Dad comes to a halt right behind her and his mouth hangs open at the sight of the sea of candles in front of him. And, of course, his daughter’s floating, dead body.

“Oh, no-” Mom starts softly, dropping her bag and I shake my head at her.

“Wait-” I try to say but I am long dead. I am unheard to them.

"Oh my God!" Mom screams as the realization of what she’s seeing hits her hard. And then- “ROSE! No, no, no-” She holds onto the door to keep herself from collapsing.

I am a dead rose now.

Dad immediately kneels and with shaky hands, blows the candles and pushes them away. And I’m sure I’m supposed to catch fire when the candles touch me, but I stand unmoving, unaffected, watching with a heavy ‘heart’ what’s happening.

Dad, in his black tracksuit, has made a way to Mom, so she can hurtle forward and collapse on her bony knees in front of dead me. She’s hysterically shaking her head, reaching into the bloodied waters to haul me out with wide, unblinking eyes, thus staining her skirt and blazer. My dead body’s head lols to the side and faces Mom who is touching my pale, wet cheeks and crying with so much intensity and sorrow.

I, for a moment, wish I couldn’t hear too.

Dad is standing above Mom, leaning on the wall, eyes closed, fist against his mouth as he shakes his bald head and furrows his eyebrows.

Mom is removing wet hair from my ghost-white face. “Baby, why?” She asks so brokenly with quivering lips, and I can’t help but corner myself away from her and her grief.

“Rachell, I’m calling the ambulance-” Dad mutters collectedly, and I find myself staring at him, at his hardened features, and I wonder if he is finally happy now. If he’s happy that this ‘disappointment’ is gone out of his life forever.

“No, no!” Mom looks back at him, holding onto my dead body defensively and almost attacks him for his correct, logical suggestion. “No, my baby, oh no-” She wails, burying her face in my surely dead-cold neck.

I feel very uncomfortable with this. Why are they giving my dead body more love than they ever gave me?

Dad exits the washroom, and I step away from the sink and stand next to Mom and my dead body. I am as white as snow, all my colour is apparently staining Mom’s clothes and face. She is crying quietly now, her hands shaking as she adjusts my dress and tries to remove the candle from my mouth, but fails.

My teeth were sunk deep in that motherfucker, I remember.

“It’s your birthday, baby, why?” Mom asks as if the dead has an answer. But yeah, the dead does have an answer. I have an answer.

“You never fucking cared,” I say simply and bitterly. “I was always hurting. And you never cared. Tears are for the beloved. Not for me.”

Maybe, I think as I asses the black tears that filled her cerulean eyes, maybe those are just guilt tears. Mom kisses my forehead and palms as they tumble down and stain her slightly ageing face.

And even though I want to turn away and leave, I really can’t.

“Rose, oh my baby, oh. I love you, Rose, why?” She starts sobbing again, and I’m sure I got goosebumps or something. “Why, baby? Why rip my soul out? Why?” She wails, and I’m almost thankful at my Dad’s reappearance.

“They’re here!” He pants out, and I don’t fail to notice his teary eyes. “They’re here.” He repeats, but Mom doesn’t even look up. She’s so busy comforting herself by my dead body’s presence.

“I can’t believe it!” Mom yells disorientedly, breathlessly, and Dad is frozen at the doorway, not wanting to get even closer. Maybe my blood is making him sick like my presence always did. “My baby-”

“Rachell. Enough-” Dad breathes out before the doorbell rings. I gasp. They’re taking my body away.

Dad sniffs and turns, leaving us again. I shake my head and try not to gulp at how Mom is whining as if her soul is getting sucked away from her. It is agonizing to watch.

I gasp loudly when someone passes right through me. Right. Through. Me. A paramedic, I think. I look behind me and find four more holding that black bag they carry dead bodies in, in movies I’d watched.

“Excuse me, ma’am-” The paramedic, a lady in her late thirties, tells Mom while gesturing for her to back off.

I gulp as I watch Mom fail to get on her feet and just remain sprawled on the floor, her hands holding her arms to her chest as she cries and hiccups like a hot, lost mess. She eyes my dead body like it’s more than a Gucci bag she failed to be its first buyer. And that is really, a very, great loss.

She’s shuddering, and her salon-made, blonde hair looks like shit. And she doesn’t seem to care, which is odd. Her appearance, she’d tell me, is all she lives for.

With one quick ‘splash’ and a ‘zip’, all the candles that lit up the bathroom get doused and my body gets packed. My mom and I get drenched in darkness before someone switches on the bathroom’s yellow, dim lights. And really, they make the ambience much more depressing.

I find myself reaching for Mom’s shaking hand for some reason. I am so tantalizingly close when I feel a strong suction force down my abdomen and darkness engulfs me.

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