As I Lay Here Dying

Submitted into Contest #98 in response to: Write a story involving a character who cannot return home.... view prompt


Fiction Suspense Sad

Day 30

Dear miss K,

You are writing this in a calm state. You have a bucket list of 30 things to do in the next thirty days and what you're feeling now, at ten forty three pm is this; you're okay with death.

Day 29

You ticked off the first thing on your bucket list today; call mum and say, "I love you, have a good day." Mum has been a mother to us in all the ways she could be, and while raising seven kids, her tendency to lean towards her short temperedness sometimes made you hide behind chairs, sometimes made you want to pee, and sometimes you did.

You never said those words to her, until today. When she did not pick up her phone, I am proud of what you did next. The urgency could be felt and not ignored in the slightest way, so your texting her the same phrase was not at all a mistake. You were at peace, and went off to bed, turning your phone off. When you woke up startled by the bangs on the door, you thought about who you've recently fought with that would hate you enough to send you thieves, but it was your mother. She was frantic, her weave messy. She asked if you're okay. Today, miss K, the last of twigs to break from your tree fell, leaving you with this: you were so far removed from your emotions, that immediately you told your mother you love her, she acted on the thought that something bad has happened to you.

Day 28

You filmed yourself dancing, and though at first it felt like somebody was watching you, you eventually forgot about the camera and let the dance take you. It was three hours of back to back music; sobbing and singing, nearing the verge of screaming at times, in both scenes. But mostly my dear, mostly it was love of the music that reigned today. Mostly, it was less sad than most days. Mostly, and you're okay.

Day 27

When you met the man in the streets digging through the trash looking for food, did it interest you that maybe God had sent you to steal? When you grabbed the leftover fries from the empty seat next to you, hiding them in your purse as quickly as you could, did you think it was your hand or the hand of an angel? And then you saw this man, and gave him the fries. His name is Baba Shiru, with about twelve mouths to feed. He lives in the street with all his kids. When you convinced the guard to let him into the supermarket looking dirty and rugged, and took him around for some shopping buying milk, rice, flour, oil, bread, and did the numbers in your head and realized your card might be declined at the counter, when you momentarily feared you had made a mistake and used up your fare as well, you had all the way been led by a divine spirit, and that is why Baba Shiru got his food for the next three days and you got home on a full stomach safely.

Day 26

You though today is a day designated to love but the universe had its own plans as always. You waited for the call, the show of his shadow by your door, his voice in your ear, his all of him so very near. He didn't think it silly when you asked to write him a letter. He even said he'll reply and called you twice the following day. So on day twenty six of your final earth days, you waited. Maybe patience was the lesson for today.

Day 25

Three of your siblings couldn't make it today. Who they are does not matter. Your family is in your heart, not clung on to their physical presence. One of your parents came along too. In this dinner you hosted, you made sure to hand them each a letter to be opened twenty five days away from today. Then later before they left, you asked your parent to cut the cake you'd ordered and when they asked what the occasion was, you simply said, "To celebrating life." There's nowhere you're going miss K, don't fret. It's in their hearts that you'll remain.

Day 24

To crave alone time was not in today's plan, but you woke up at five am and walked till the railway track. You followed the track and stopped every once in a while to watch the land and skyline converge at what seemed like the end of the world. You saw four people, all of them were male. As a woman in a desolate place, you were afraid, but you had carried your knife. If you were a man, your knife would be attached to your body. Your phone was off the whole day. You just waked and walked and walked, but you never reached the edge of the world, a stop where you could just fall off, and in to space you go.

Day 23

You woke up at five am again, searching for this place in the opposite direction. You took a right today where you had taken a left yesterday. You searched for peace but it wasn't in the forest. It wasn't around people. In your silence, you waited for it to arrive, but you know you can only feel it when you're not waiting. You drank a lot of water and peed on the road like an animal. You were home among the lost, the temporary trails. You felt home where there was not a soul. What loss.

Day 22

If you are fine without your father, why all the anger? You told him you held no grudges against him or his family, but you do not want to speak to him. Your stepfather is all the father you need, and coming back when you're done growing up, when the hard part is over, is not a ticket you'll let half your blood buy. Remember when you asked God to turn you into a bird so that you could fly around the world and look for your father? You say he didn't come back on his own accord, you still had to look for him all on your own, and now that he's here you want him to go. How can he atone? You fear he will leave you the same way, and this is why you are running away from love, again.

Day 21

Dear miss K, you are so brave. Today you smiled as you buried the tiny white onesie with tomato drawings on it. You had saved it for a child of your own, a gift from your mother, together with a brown shawl. You accept and there is no resistance from you anymore. You leave this world with no regrets, and that's why no tears were shed when you covered the tiny cloth with mud. That's why no tears shed when you dropped a seed in a whole. You don't know what it was because you didn't have to know. When the florist eyed you weirdly, you handed her a tip with a wink after saying, “Make it a mystery.” There is no bone in your body that is held on to the body. Freely, you have let go.

Day 20

Love came knocking on your door today. He had a black outfit from his cap to his shoes. You did not let him remain too long in the black jeans either. Love had come by to say that he doesn't love you that way, but you distracted him with your very short dress. He doesn't know you knew that today was the last day you'd kiss. You willed it that way in the evening when he said he wants to see you. You wrote him a letter too. Open on the 30th, the envelope said. He saw tears and took it for heartbreak. I let him interpret it that way when he kissed me again. He left and kissed me again, and my lips envied my forehead, but relaxed in a bit, remembering that this is it. That was us, this is love, and when a man breaks your heart, you don't run for the hills, you go grab yourself some drinks.

Day 19

Some drinks with your best friend sounded good and you'd bought her eleven presents for the eleven years of her birthdays you had not yet known her. She'd asked for a black frame with Chinese art and you bought her two black frames with two Chinese arts. A white mat for her bedroom had been on her 'to buy' list for the longest time so you crossed that one of too. Standing by with an EpiPen, you fed her peanuts as gift number seven. This was her highlight of the day. She lightly joked that she wished the nuts would have killed her to stop her from doing her presentation in tomorrow's meeting. You excused yourself to splash some water on your face and wished for such an easy way out.

You remembered your plan to run into a wall with the knife tip pointed over your heart and in that moment, you admitted to yourself that what you are doing is pretty sad. That this peace you have conceived for yourself is not the whole picture of your feelings, just a part of it.

Day 18

Motivated to find an easier way out, you went jogging in the morning without your knife. You rolled the dice and were raped twice by a big armed man who was praying in the forest by himself. The first time when you clawed at his skin and bit into his arms, and the second time when you did not move except for when he moved you. When the stone landed on your head, you bled, but to your disappointment, not to death. You were in a hospital bed. Your tree of life, dead from internal self-bludgeoning, had remained standing waiting for something...something to pull it back into the light, under a sky full of rain. Today, miss K, the stump decayed into the soil.

Day 17

When the doctor hesitated, you expected news with multicolored shades of pain. You had been a magnet for it all your life anyway. You expected disease and irreversible damage. When he gave you two days to live, suddenly, you were shocked by the idea of death. He asked that you give the nurse the contacts to your family. You said you don't have any. When you cried today after the doctor left, your heart clenched in pain when you cursed God's name. When you asked him why he has never looked out for you, you cried even more when you realized that no one would answer you. That no matter what you tried, the clotting in your brain had done irreversible damage. That your sixteen days had been cut short. Your day at the beach smoking with hippies would never come. The one hundred page book you were writing as your final project, only a few pages away from completion, would remain unfinished. You began to lose your vision, your speech begun to slur. Maybe on the thirtieth day, something would have happened that would have made you change your mind. Maybe life on earth isn't that bad and suffering is just a part of the pack which is easier to accept than to fight. Your acceptance led you here, and there’s no reprieve for your soon to be diseased self.

What about all those things I thought about love, my dad and mum? If they could help me now to stay alive just as much as they pushed me to want to die, just as much as they made me feel deserving of death, deserving of every messy situation I found myself in, every blame I put on myself that I never should have carried, if they could help me now, I'd offer up both my arms in exchange for another go at life. He who knocks on the door does not surprise you. Death has come knocking, and I am surprised by it, because all the while I thought I had the key, but now look at me as I lay here dying.

June 16, 2021 22:13

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Brian Mbugua
11:37 Jun 17, 2021

I love this 💘


Kendi Karimi
16:49 Jun 18, 2021

Thank you Brian ❤️


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