Remember Me

Rated yellow for a bit of swearing. Like, maybe two or three mild words. I don't know if I'm being over-zealous, let me know if the rating is incorrect. So this was a thing. A very morbid thing. I don't know. I've been to a couple of funerals recently and I read a book called Speaker for the Dead which talks about the way we remember dead people and I don't really like the way we do it. So here's my response to that in the form of... A short story I guess. Or a monologue. Hooray.... I'll probably end up deleting this...

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1. Remember Me

   You think "hey, I'm floating."

   You think "well would you look at that."

   You think "does that mean I've got mystical powers, or..."

   You look down at yourself. You see... Nothing, where there should be something. You see a road. An ambulance. A car. People crying. People you know. You see a pool of redness. You see, in that pool... You.

   You think "oh."

   You think "well shit."

   You think "that should probably have been profound, shouldn't it? Not just... But bloody hell. Or not. Apparently not hell. Apparently... Just this. Whatever this is."

   You know, there are potentially an infinite number of ways to die. With pain, without. Accidentally, or on purpose. Alone, or to be much missed. With a knife strike to the heart, or a fire licking at your flesh, or who knows? A teapot to the head, why not? Skydiving without a parachute, just for that moment's exhilaration of the wind against your face. Drowning beneath a capsized yacht. Whatever floats your boat... Or, you know, sinks it.  

   Me? I just stopped looking at the road for a minute and bang. It hurt, but only for a while. Stupid of me, but there you go. Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes they're fatal. It's a bit of a dull way to go.

   This is death. It kind of reminds me of those nightmares everyone has when they're kids. You know the ones. No one can can see you, hear you, touch you. First you talk, then you plead, then you yell, then you scream; but no one listens. You run rings around people you care about and they don't look at you. You break things and people blame the wind. It's very like that.

   Except it's sort of worse, because in those dreams, nobody misses you. In death, everybody does. Especially if you go young. Your parents miss you of course, as do your friends; but it's not just them. People you knew in nursery once miss you, the lady in the corner shop misses you, even a random guy walking down the street misses you because he read about the accident in the paper and it's such a terrible shame. It's such a waste of a young life.

   I mean it's not really, because, you know, all you were planning on doing was sitting around playing video games; but a car hits you at sixteen and suddenly you would have been the next Martin Luther King. 

   Seriously, I went to my funeral. It was amazing. You spend your whole life wishing for things and at the funeral, all your dreams come true. You know you always wanted people to like you? Everybody likes you at funerals, it's the rules. You want friends, you've got hundreds, just when you don't need them anymore. You want everybody to forget every bad thing you've done, ever? Done, no problems. Everything forgotten. You were a saint. You were beautiful. You were a brilliant, unique individual. I mean you weren't half bad, you were pretty cool, but wow. I mean, you must have been really awesome, the way everyone talks about you at funerals. Well done you. 

    That's cool for a while, seeing how everyone misses you. Then you start feeling bitter. You look at that girl you met on holiday once and you realise she can't even remember your name. Just that you died. Just that it was a tragedy. You, the embodiment of loss and sadness.

   You see your old friend you lost touch with and you're glad she remembers you, because you still thought about her even though you never rang her. After watching her for a while though, you have to accept she doesn't remember you now. She remembers you three years ago. Out of date you. Not you you. She knows that really. She wishes she'd called you. She kept meaning to, but she can't now. To her, you're regret. You're missed opportunities. You're what could have been.

   You watch the people who really loved you blot out your flaws like a cloud blocks the sun on an overcast day; and they also remember not you. Perfect you. Two dimensional, under-developed character you. 

   You want to shout "I used to bite my nails, remember that? I was lazy, I never worked hard enough, remember that? That fat boy at school, I used to pick on him, I was a bitch, remember that?"

    That boy's forgotten too. You made his life hell for three years and even he remembers you with a warm smile, extending a hand of friendship. Even he's forgotten, because it's wrong to remember. Even he bows to that unspoken agreement that those who are dead cannot have done wrong. They're dead. We must respect them, always respect. Must shed a tear thinking of them, must sigh sadly whenever we hear their names. Even if they were disrespectful, thoroughly contemptible bastards. 

    You look at the people who knew you once and scream "remember me! Remember me like you said you would! Not this vapid personality that only look like me. Remember me. Flawed, imperfect, human me. And it's just like those dreams. Because they don't hear you. They continue to forget who you were.

   In the end, you leave them be. 

   You think "sod it." 

   You leave them to grieve.

   You go into the cinema and watch films free of charge. You look round museums after closing time. You read books over the the shoulders of unsuspecting library goers. You sleep on benches in the park and look up at faraway stars. It's not perfect, hell it's anything but. An eternity in a lonely universe, with only yourself for company. You never could abide your own company for long. You know why? Because you're not perfect. It all comes back to that. You can be irritating and petulant and closed minded.

   But you're all you have now. Because what you are and what you were, what you really were, was forgotten when that car hit you. Because to everyone else, you're just another lost angel.

    

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