Nothing Really Matters

(A fictional essay based upon real events in my life. Written for my English Comp class.)

I work with death.  I feel its presence, but life goes on until it doesn’t.  The women I care for are near the end of this journey.  Still, each day meals must be made, clothes must be washed, and make up must be put on.  Game shows must be watched, memories must be revisited, and terror must be banished if only for a little while.

It is night now.  I hold a sobbing woman in my arms, comforting her.  She is close to her end and is beginning to realize it.  She will likely be the next to die.  Every possession is gone, already divided between quarreling children.  Pain fills every moment.  Even her memories have been stolen.  But she is still afraid.  I rock her stroking her hair.  “Everything will really be all right” I say, “Trust me.”

She looks into my eyes and sees I really believe it.  “I am scared.”  I don’t answer.  I simply smile and squeeze her hand.  I wish I could explain, but I can’t.  No matter.  She will know soon enough.  As her sobs begin to slow, I tuck her back into bed and remember.

It was Halloween night and very cold.  I was bound.  I was completely powerless and did not know what was going to happen.  I did not know where I was and could not see.  I was terrified. My screams and pleas to stop were ignored, and the pain was unbearable.  It went on forever.

At some point the fear faded.  There was no more pain.  I could hear a voice, but words no longer made sense.  Though I was blindfolded, I found myself looking around a room I had never seen.  I saw my body, still bound.  I could hear my hoarse cries but was not aware of making any noise.  I tried to speak but couldn’t.  I was confused and worried.

A moment later, I was drawn away from this scene and felt myself lifting.  The world lost focus, and then I was somewhere else.  I felt warm but had no body to feel with.  I was buoyed up by currents of amazing colors, swirling with them toward some point in the distance.  This was sensed, not seen, as I was merely energy.  Every detail had more clarity, though, than I had ever known.  It was wondrous.  I knew I was dead, but I was not concerned.  It was okay.  Time was passing but it didn’t matter.  Seconds, hours, even years lost all meaning.

As I drifted higher, I understood that I was moving toward something important.  Infinitely important.  I was not alone, and the realization surprised me.  There were others here, millions, but instead of fear I felt overwhelming joy.  I was connected with each.  A complete awareness came over me.  I could feel everything and I was everything.  All was right, and I was perfectly content and at peace.

Suddenly I sensed I was no longer moving toward my goal.  This wonderful and perfect place began to fade.  I began to fall.  An intense rage came over me.  I had been so close to it, whatever it was.  I struggled to fly again but couldn’t.  Vaguely I became aware of someone speaking, although I could not grasp what was said.  I began to feel things physically again and, too soon, I found myself back in my body looking out at the room I had seen earlier.

I was no longer blindfolded or restrained.  I was sore, trembling, and frustrated.  I was alive.  No!  I did not want to be.  I screamed in fury with every ounce of my remaining strength.  I needed to go back and would have given anything at that moment to return.  It was the most important thing of all.  It was the only thing.  I began to cry.

Held in strong arms, I returned to reality as I used to know it, slowly and regretfully.  It was after midnight by then, so it was my birthday.  My gift had been to live my deepest, darkest desire.  To be taken.  Tortured.  Raped.  I received so much more.  I had stumbled upon Nirvana.  Fulfilling my fantasy had become trivial when compared to immortality.

I had never believed in a soul or afterlife.  I doubted a higher power, universal consciousness, or ultimate truth.  Now I have no doubt.  Sadly, details later faded, but this was more real than any dream.  This was more real than life.  Had I had been offered the choice I would have remained there forever.  No hesitation.  No regrets.  The memory of absolute bliss remains.

I have tried to explain the essence of this epiphany before.  I failed.  I might as well attempt describing a beautiful sunset to a man born blind.  I accept what it means to me, and perhaps that will just have to be enough.

As I sit on the side of the bed watching this woman finally fall asleep, I feel sad.  Not because she will die, but because I wish I could dispel her fear and help her understand the peace and joy ahead.  However, that is her new journey to discover.  Everything she ever was, ever had, and ever did does not matter anymore.  It is not the end. It is becoming “more”.  I turn off the lamp and quietly leave her room.

The others are sleeping peacefully for now.  Death is elsewhere, for a while.  I lie down on the bed in the office and, still smiling, I drift back off to sleep.

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