She died just that one time. Afterwards, she decided it was a feeling she could live without. She gave away all of the possessions which most conjured up her own mortality: the pictures of people she loved, the CDs with songs that made her cry, that one book of poems from which she would repeat the lines “unloading hell behind him/ step by step” over and over again until it became her mantra, even the t-shirt from that concert she went to where her body had pressed so close against her lover that she had imagined that their hearts were synchronized from that moment on. She sold her house and stopped eating her favorite foods because they reminded her too much of the fact that in death she would be able to taste nothing. She called up everyone who had ever held her and told them that she planned to forget their names. And then she did.
He managed to die twice. He liked to state this to people he had just met. He liked to see eyebrows raise and lips curl into hesitant smiles. He liked disbelief. In fact, he became addicted to it. He started doing everything that he could to draw disbelief to him. He learned to breathe underwater, to remove the soul from his body so that everyone could watch it swim across the river, even how to tell everyone he had ever lost that he loved them and that he missed them. He never heard back from the lost though he measured their silence as a form of disbelief.
You gave up on dying. You said it was something that you didn’t need to experience. You were happy as you were. You wrote a self-help book titled: “Still Alive and Loving It.” it was a best –seller and people around the world decided to stop trying so hard at death. They wrote you long letters and asked for your autograph. Once, at a reading, you saw a glimpse of your own reflection and noticed how your eyes were beginning to lose their color.
I always said I wouldn’t, believing that I couldn’t. I liked the way that I could fall asleep without any sort of aching. I dreamed sometimes of cities made of matchsticks. The citizens of the matchstick cities sometimes chose to set off sparks, they liked the danger of it, the idea of fire. Sometimes, I’d wake up and think the window was open because everything felt so cold. After, though, I stopped having the dreams. Fire was always the only thing that scared me.