“Here now honey, take my hand”
It has occurred to me that my diction may be misrepresenting the truth of my experience, and before I proceed I would like to clarify how the diction I utilize reflects my true perceptions. It is a curious thing to “feel” whilst dead. It’s a stagnant space, a thoughtful chamber without emotional interference. Empathy exudes from the mind, or the existential space in which my thoughts reside, but no physical tangibility is present. I have no heart to increase pace. I have no instinctive fight or flight, nor do I feel the warmth of love or the pain of loss. My physiological self is as lifeless as the bones beneath my tombstone, and emotions such as fear, love, sadness, and joy are not felt, rather cognitively manifested. I believe these manifestations are the result of logical deduction, stemming from a combination of pre-death emotional intelligence and newly adopted methods of inference based on situational examination. It is difficult for me to explain, as I do not fully understand my existence myself, but know I am limited in my explanations of self to mortal-centric language. Every word that has ever been written was created in bias to life, and as I am no longer alive, you can imagine the frustration in attempting to describe my endeavors.
I sat, helpless and confused, staring at the first person to acknowledge me directly in nearly two centuries.
“Come on now, I don’t bite,” she clarified, slightly more maternal this time around.
Her shoulders softened as she exhaled, and she shifted her body weight from her left leg to the right.
she continued, “well c’mon, I haven’t got all day to talk so we’ve got to make this quick.” Her hands reached for her veil and she peeled it back to reveal her face beneath.
She leaned forward closer to me, “Well I’ll just get to it then. Are you Mr. Kimball?”
I looked up, intrigued, “Y-yes. That’s my name. How did you…who…who are you?”
A grin beamed across her face, “Well I’ll be damned! You ain’t no mute afterall,” she chuckled, “Here, I’ve got something for ya.” She reached into the worn leather bag that hung over her shoulder and pulled out a silver pocket watch, “Take this.”
She placed the watch in my palm and forced my fingers closed,
“Now you won’t be missin’ any more of your appointments!” she harped, barely making it through the sentence without breaking into laughter. I felt a smirk slowly crease my lips. I had so many questions, but nothing seemed to formulate in my throat.
I opened my fist and analyzed the watch. It was rusted, partially, on it’s underside, which told it’s age. It had to have been made over a century ago. I looked up and the woman was already walking off into the distance. I screamed after her, “Wait! Who are you?”
She turned around and continued to walk backwards in the direction she was moving.
“That’s a story for another time honey! Don’t look so glum,” she chuckled, “You’re only dead once!”
I watched in awe as the woman spun on her heels and waltzed out of sight. Then it occurred to me that Jack Epstein was no longer on the bench next to me. I rolled the watch around in my fingers and checked the time. It was 10pm, and the park was beginning to empty out.
A slight drizzle began to trickle out of the sky, and I realized it was the first time since I died that I hadn’t felt entirely alone.
By DYLAN PRITCHETT / Columnist