January 28, 2015 by mortulo
Dear readers of this unfortunate blog,
When I first met the blog host who recently extended an invitation for me to write some here, I could smell how he was dying then. I had smelled such a death numerous times before, the smell of those young diabetics whose own bodies had begun to consume themselves, their blood thick with sugar and reaching toxic levels of ketones. How sweet a death, how terrible a death, how the thirst and hunger destroyed them.
For many thousands of years, I waited for the inevitable moment, the final snap of their threads in the loom of fate and then I would collect their, how should I call it, their lastness. Some refer to it as a soul or spirit, some inexplicable essential quality. I’ve been the gatherer of lastness for a great long time now. As a species, you human beings have a great many myths surrounding the idea. They may or may not be true, I’m not here to say what is true.
But it was then, March 1985, that I was poised to collect the blog host’s lastness, per my thin fingers around which I can twist and twirl it if I want, or in my palms where I may gently collapse it into a tiny ball. There are no official rules of collection, I simply am guided by my own incomprehensible instinct and the influence of the final thoughts in those dying. That evening, that young boy, walked along the edge. He was thinner than my fingers by then and every breath that he expelled sweetened the air around him.
He did not die, however. Early in the 20th century, your doctors figured out the essential problem of these terrible diabetic deaths, that the pancreases had stopped producing insulin and this illness could be treated by injecting insulin into the sufferer. So I did not collect his lastness, but I watched how the doctors and nurses put an IV in each arm and began the process of stabilizing, rehydrating, restoring this man to where I would no longer have such a keen interest.
Although I remained long enough to watch him until after he took his shower before being discharged from the intensive care unit. Step back in time with me:
He removes the patient gown. It’s been many days since he last showered, since he’s even had the strength to stand on these toothpick legs with barely any muscle. He reaches inside the shower stall and opens up the hot water. He shivers lightly and then looks at his naked self in the mirror above the sink.
Almost looks like a Holocaust victim. The ribs are prominent, there is no meat upon him. He is a collection of bones that can walk and stand. His hair is a wild mess of days without washing, of days where the head never lifted above the pillow except when a nurse raised it for some reason or for when he was finally well enough again to sit up and eat. He licks his lips in a memory of the thirst.
He lingers in the reverie between belief and disbelief, between comprehension, denial and acceptance, while he listens to how the sound of the shower changes as the water grows hot and steam begins to fill the room. Slowly the steam obscures the mirror and himself. Steamy warmth envelops him, yet it will be some minutes later under the hot shower stream before he stops shivering.
It was when he finally stopped shivering that I took my leave. I saw then that he was rejoining the living and it was time for me to go to others. Their final moments, their introduction to me. Some of you will only ever have one introduction, and others of you will have more than that.
But because of those introductions, well, perhaps I’ve learned some things. Because of some of those introductions, I’ve had what almost might be seen as conversations with strange and particular individuals. Lifelong conversations you might think of them. From my vantage point, they are deathlong conversations. The blog host here has has such a conversation with me for almost 30 years now. Well he tells me that it’s maybe more like 40 years, but oddly enough I can’t recall meeting him. He says it happened though one day by a pool while he sat in warm sun…
Anyhow, I hope to stop in here from time to time and tell you stories. Soon I will tell the story of Pheidippides. It’s an important one, because it’s about running, and believe me, the many years of collecting the lastness of people has taught me that it’s a grave part of you.