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Since that day, I have been here on the same planet, walking around, entirely alone. Those first few days are both surreal (how could they not be) and magnetic, all while balancing a tone of either sadness or amusement.

You see your body hauled away. You see the news of your demise delivered to whomever it was you visited first. I went to see my parents. As it was, they lived the closest and were the only ones that shared a last name with me. Friends of mine would hear the news over the next few days but until such information was delivered would have no way of knowing what happened to me. Everyone was kind of lost in his or her own world by then.

Next, given the rapidity of the funerary proceedings, you see yourself given a proper service and burial. At the service, you’re lucky if you find yourself surprised by the turnout of guests. I should say surprised does not equate pleased. I witnessed droves of people I knew in high school show up to pay “respect”. It would have been a series of nice gestures but the majority of them had little to do with me in the past decade. Why they arrived to mourn was beyond me. What was truly interesting was to see the turnaround of emotion once most cleared the funeral home. Evidently, grief is reserved for a five-minute window. Eventually a priest steps to a pulpit. He yammers on emptily about a person he never even met while people who did know him (in varying degrees) are moved to tears by the prattling sermon. Then the service shifts to the cemetery.

If you watch yourself physically lowered into the ground you may be struck with the realization of how foolish the practice is when compared to other rituals. As a sentient soul you watch what is, at this point, a vessel of meat preserved and placed into a plot. It’s ridiculous. All the cognition and memory and personality comes with you and the rest is just…useless. Why “save” that in a box? As they say, it’s what’s inside that counts. That is until people start reacting to what happened. It challenges your questioning of why people do what they do. This truly begins your impossible test.

Over the next days and weeks you see the slow aftermath of your death unfold. People like your parents are (hopefully) still shaken. And that’s tough to watch after awhile because you may not have wished to bring pain upon them. Friends and acquaintances come around fairly quickly and begin to move on, and that’s okay because ultimately you want them to. Then you start visiting ex-girlfriends.

Immediately you regret this because the visits go one of two ways. The first way results in you finding a woman who is mildly rattled by the affair but bounces back within an afternoon of going through an old photo album. It stings to witness such a rebound but you are better off for it. The other way, the second, is a trap you set yourself.  Finding and ex flame embroiled with sadness, confined to a couch in tears, is all the fodder of every scorned lover’s dream come true. So you stay and savor it, watching all the pain and regret you’d hope they felt when they first “destroyed” you. It goes on for days, enduring past even when you suspect it would cease. It lasts and lasts…until it doesn’t anymore. Then comes the night where she returns home with company and seeks the refuge of your nightmares — and there’s nothing you can do but leave. And where do you go but home. Home where people truly miss you and won’t replace what was gone. Home where you know you’ll always have a place. Home where a “For Sale” sign hangs with a red “Sold” banner stapled across it.

It’s at a time like this where all that Hell talk starts to spin the gears. The breaking starts.

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