Williams had woken up very hopeful,
Today, as the family custom demanded,
He was going to die!
Oh, no rites, and certainly it wasn’t a ritual sacrifice,
It was just that men didn’t live past their seventieth birthday in his family.
It was more of a heritage than a yoke.
William rose, gargled his mouthwash, wore his favorite Kaftan and rocked his chair with his sole caressing the ottoman, looking over the balcony.
From the balcony, he was watching people move to and fro carrying out their routine activities.
He had instructed Suzanne, his wife to leave home with the family; his children, and grandkids. He needed some quiet before his passing moments. He wanted to catch his dying moments, he wanted to know when and how he would leave.
His favourite writer use to say; “death comes with a lasting and permanent silence”. He wanted to know when he would stop to hear or feel the morning breeze that tenderly caressed his skin. He wanted to catch death. He wanted to laugh last, to look death in the face and say; ” hahaha, you aren’t as unexpected as they all say”.
He also didn’t want to die in the arms of his crying wife or wailing family. He didn’t want to die with the the pitiful looks of his family as the last picture on his mind. Macaulay his best friend wished for such a death and he got it. He used to call it ‘the most peaceful way to leave’; in the presence and goodwill of all those who love you. To Willy, it was leaving like a coward. He shook his head in disgust as he tried to wipe away the demeaning last memory of his friend’s demise.
“Macaulay, I will show you the right way this is done”, Williams said, raising a glass of Whisky in the air and giving and imaginary toast, he had a smirk of impending victory on his face. “I should not leave this sad world sober. A few more sips of the good stuff and I’ll be leaving in high spirits “.
All of a sudden, Suzanne’s sedan screeched to a halt at the gate. Desmond, his first son dashed out of the car, and without killing the ignition, he went straight for the house. His mother, his wife and his aunt all came behind him. Williams looked down and he saw his sister, Antonia, ‘she must have told Suzanne what was to happen” he said furiously.
“I instructed them to let me be! Just for today!”
He tried to stop them at the door but they waltzed past him, and headed towards his room. “Why did you ignore your old man’s request?” He shouted behind Desmond, but his son didn’t hear him either.
He tried to keep up with their pace as they ran into his room. “Is this part of the conventional birthday surprise or what?” He said to himself and he tried catching his breath behind them. Next, he heard a loud scream that literally pierced the atmosphere. It was Suzanne and Beatrice, his daughter.
“My husband has left me! My Willy has gone!!”…
“What nonsense! What sort of prank is this? I am here…turn around and look at your old man”. No one budged! They all fixed their gaze on his bed as Suzanne had thrown herself into his bed and despair in one swing. She was wailing uncontrollably and he was trying to calm her down. “Not My Will! Not on his birthday”
“Honey…I am…with…you”, he barely completed his words when he looked at the bed and beheld a sight that sent shivers down his essence. It was as though his bed had become one big mirror, but with morbid reflections. He saw himself laying lifeless in his bed. He had left without knowing.
It was then that it dawned on him, that his feet never touched the floor. It was then it also dawned on him, that he had been phasing through matter. Life and death had played an elaborate prank on him.
He knew now, that he could never be ready.
A very big shadow was cast behind William, he turned around and saw an unfamiliar persona wearing a familiar smile. It looked like Charon, but he had the lips and the smile of Macaulay, he could reckon that vindictive smile. Death had won, the joke was on him. He left, this time, against his will, just like many others.