Death: The Elephant in The Room

Written by: Isabel Jo
Edited by: Ghafi Reyhan & Zania R Putri
Illustration by: Lisa Kalystari

‘Life is overrated’ said Death. 

Inizio, on the other hand, does not feel the same. He has always been scared to death of Death. Often having sleepless nights, motioning endlessly in bed, worrying how it will all end. Remembering how Death grasped upon the lives of the frail and young alike, including his fiancee just recently. ‘What’s the point of life if everything is going to evaporate into thin air anyway?’ He thought.

When Inizio first learned the concept of death, he was outraged. He couldn’t believe that life wouldn’t last forever. He may just be suffering from a quarter life crisis, but being a control freak, having to recognize that nothing is permanent and that there was no choice but to stay in the path to oblivion was aggravating.

One night, he saw Death itself sitting on a swing. Its feet were swinging and swaying back and forth carelessly. However, it seems to have a gloomy cloud surrounding and trailing its movements. Inizio summoned all of his courage and approached it. As he got closer, his view seemed to darken and colors seemed to fade. He was startled at first, but his determination to learn more about this mysterious process, or tragedy, as he puts it, was stronger. 

“Do you enjoy cutting people’s lives short?” Inizio asked.

“Hmm I wouldn’t particularly call it fun, but it’s necessary. A trip without a destination would be pointless right?” Death replied.

“On the contrary, what’s the point of an exciting trip when it’s all going to end anyway?”

It smirked, “That’s one way of putting it,” and continued “Only this morning, for instance, I was just about to take someone with me when she was begging to call her friend she has lost touch with. She should’ve done that before I came! It’s not my fault she kept delaying it.”

“Whoa, you’re more expressive than I thought, but well if you don’t like postponement, then wouldn’t the problem be fixed if you didn’t exist at all? Everyone would have all the time in this whole wide world.”

“Would you prefer people take their lives for granted? Personally, I think people should have a sense of urgency. Makes life special, you know.” 

“I mean you do have a point, but I don’t want the entirety of my subjective experience to abruptly come to an end, and feel myself slipping away. I don’t know, am I crazy for thinking that?”

“No, I had to take a grumpy man who had the same view. All I told him was that the feeling of slipping away wasn’t alien and is just the same as falling asleep, like losing consciousness because of an injury, or when you’re under anesthesia. Besides, you won’t even be aware that you died. You’re probably just going to feel yourself drift off. You’ll never know until you feel it I guess, so why be fearful when you can’t perceive it?”

“What if it hurts?”

“Oh! That question reminds me of that time I took a lady and visited her in Heaven because I was bored. She told me breaking her leg in soccer practice hurt more than death and how a lot of injuries hurt more later than right away.”

It paused, then continued speaking.

“Look, it’s all about where your head’s at. You have an option to make me a dreadful thing or to replace it with gratitude and live a meaningful life. Don’t worry, I reckon you’ll be less fearful when you get older. Perhaps, when you find the right job or the right person, you’ll be too engulfed with life that I won’t have a presence in your life until the time comes.”

“I’m ready.” An unfamiliar voice appeared out of the blue. 

It was a child, hiding timidly behind a slide next to the swing set, who turns out, has been listening to Inizio’s and Death’s conversation the whole time.

Death stood up, and glanced at me. I threw away my look, knowing what would happen next as Death and the child vanished into the bleak night. 

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