23:12 Sun 29 Jul 2007. Updated: 02:49 01 Aug 2007
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I died a while ago. I’m not sure how long, but it can’t be more than a few years. I don’t keep track of time too well.

It was a car accident. Kind of. I mean, I died while driving after going off Highway One, but I’m not sure how accidental it was. I was drunk. I was drunk, but I’d realized a while before that I wanted to die. So not as accidental as it looked. I tried to swing the car back, actually, but it was too late.

I remember this weird combination of fear, confusion, and elation. The elation was mostly before the car started falling, though. Once I felt the drop, it was mostly fear, and then the confusion returned when I hit something. After that, lots of impact and spinning and breaking. I’m pretty sure I died there, though, and not after I was found. Another DUI statistic. I doubted anyone made the suicide connection.

I don’t know what the deal was after that. I’d like to, in case it’s important, but I don’t. I’m not even sure I can say that I don’t remember. Just that I don’t know. I do have this feeling that I’d been somehow wandering, drifting. But it’s not clear.

First thing I remember after going off the road is being in a bar. My wife was sitting at the bar, facing me. I smiled, more happy to see her than ever, and for a moment I think it was some weird dream, or that I’ve forgotten my recovery period and that I’m alive, alive and with her. But then someone else’s arm passes through my body with no resistance, and I see that my wife’s eyes are actually looking at them, not me, and everything almost falls apart then. The realization that I was dead didn’t go down easily.

It wasn’t made any easier by the fact that my freakout went completely unnoticed. I ran screaming, I collapsed on the ground, I howled and tried tearing at my hair. Everyone else went on with the evening as though nothing was happening.

I crawled to a quiet spot, because I couldn’t deal with people walking through me. Eventually I calmed down a little, and realized that I felt my insubstantiality. I could tell that no blood ran in my ghostly body. It’s like waking up in the middle of a dream while you’re moving in the dream, where there’s this weird disconnect between what your dream body is doing and what your real body is doing. Except that there’s no real body.

When I was calmer, I couldn’t bear to look at my wife. And then I… I guess you could say “slept”, but I think I just fade away sometimes, that’s my equivalent of rest.

And when I next “woke”, I was back in that bar. I don’t know when it was. I guess it was later, I don’t think I’ve had any bouncing around in time. But I don’t know how many days later.

My wife was in the bar again. She was with a friend of hers, Simone. I remember thinking that Simone was hot. But now all I wanted to do was talk to my wife. I realized then that the bar was really quiet. I couldn’t hear them talk, at least not without effort. I had to focus on them to hear their conversation, and when I did that I still didn’t hear anything else in the bar.

I don’t remember what they were talking about. All I remember is that I started crying when I heard her voice. Then I realized that they were having a fairly normal conversation, and I got angry. How could she be having a normal conversation, when I wasn’t there? I tried to storm away, and realized that I couldn’t. I couldn’t get outside the bar, somehow. I was trapped there watching my wife have a normal conversation while I watched her, my dead heart breaking.

A bunch of my friends came in. They were obviously all meeting here. Seeing them made me happy again, at first. At first I listened to their conversations, and it was great, it felt like getting to see them for the first time in years—and it might have been that, but it felt kind of normal. Just me and them, hanging out, talking. Hearing their voices, recognizing them, it felt like being home. For a while. But the fact that I was dead kept coming back. I was dead, and they were still there, and they were getting on fine without me. They were getting on fine without me, and that was just wrong. Didn’t they realize I was dead? Didn’t they realize I was gone? Didn’t they realize that nothing could be the same after I went off the road? Didn’t they realize I’d never be there again?

That rage prompted me to try to flee again, and this time I guess I was able to “sleep”. And when I was back again, it was to the bar again, and they were all there. They were all there, and I tried to listen to them, to feel their presence as I did in life. I fought off the anger as long as I could, just pretended I was still alive, still there with them. But they’d talk about things that happend that I didn’t know about, and I’d be forced to see that their lives continued without me. Sometimes they’d talk about me, about how they missed me, and that was just as bad, because I couldn’t pretend then, and because it wasn’t enough for them to “miss” me when they were all moving on.

And that’s how it’s been since. I keep coming back, and so do they, and I try to take solace from seeing and hearing my friends and my wife, but seeing and hearing them drives me crazy. I feel this terrible pressure, the pressure of knowing that I’m dead while trying to connect with them, and it’s worse than anything in life ever was. I can’t even remember why I wanted to die. Bills, arguments, feelings of isolation, maybe—but none of it was anything like this. I loved them all and wanted to be with them. But I hated them all for going on without me.

Worse, I knew, it came slowly but I knew, that I was there because I couldn’t let go of them. And I don’t know if I even want to let go, because I don’t know what’s next. What if nothing’s next?

(1100 words)

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