Birtheve

On the eve of my birthday, I wake up from a dream about death.

A body had been buried in a pond; maybe I had killed the person and put it there. But now I was part of the search team trying to find it and bring it back up, since the decomposition of the corpse was poisoning the water. A team led by a man in sunglasses told a group of us that it was our job to dive into the small but deep pond and look into the hidden nooks and hideouts between rocks and weeds for the body. We had been chosen because we were good strong swimmers who could hold our breaths. But I did not want to find this dead body, let alone touch it and remove it from its watery grave. I didn’t want to swim with my eyes open and my lips exposed in water contaminated by death and decomposition.

Crossing my arms and clenching my teeth I tried to refuse. But somehow the body was found, and everyone was needed to retrieve it. It was inevitable to partake in the mission, and I requested a specific plan so that I wouldn’t have to look at, touch or be near the body for very long. I dreaded more than anything to be surprised by the rotting corpse, find it looking at me without warning. I placed my bare feet under the surface of the pond, no larger than a rug but as deep as the sea, and felt the cold encircle my ankles. The water mixed with the fibres of the dead clutched me as I prepared to dive down.

And then, of course, I wake up.

I still don’t want to discover and look at whatever is dead and rotting inside me. Under no circumstances do I want to bring it to the surface. But it’s poisoning my waters, and it needs to be exorcised. The problem is, even if I’m brave enough to dive in, I don’t know what I’m looking for. Death, a man, or something else? But perhaps it is ugly and rotten enough for me to know it when I see it.

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