Self-absorbed, even about death

Sometimes I am restless and fidgety. I tear bits of paper into smaller bits, I don’t pay enough attention. Sometimes I sleepwalk through my day. I imagine myself floating, I hear muffled voices and see disjoint limbs in pants and shirts. I cannot remember what I was doing when I read a message informing me that the only librarian I have ever known had had a heart attack. I suppose now is a good time to use the word perfunctory, because such was the nature of my reply. “That’s unfortunate,” I replied, while probably checking for updates on every other app.

And so whenever I walked past the library, I made it a point to peep in. He wasn’t there, I didn’t go in. A month or two (or five) may have passed. I decided I was being ridiculous, went in and asked for him. The lady at the computer looked at me for a minute, and said, “He passed away. He had a heart attack.” I am not sure why, I couldn’t feel anything. “Really?” Of course, this ranks up there with other foolish responses I have collected over time, but I was realizing that in addition to not feeling anything, I also wasn’t thinking anything. “Yes.”

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, I didn’t want her to see me crying. I would have liked to tell you life is fleeting, or transient, or whatever it is one says at these moments. Mostly I wish he was still around.

Since I have to make this all about me, I went back to that message. It said, “You know the librarian had a heart attack. He passed away.”

I don’t know what I feel worse about.

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8 thoughts on “Self-absorbed, even about death

  1. Very honest and heartfelt piece. Actually, I can relate to some of the things that you wrote about because I invariably have a sense of feeling cheated by the Almighty when someone passes away, esp. prematurely or owing to a horrible illness or something. Roger Ebert once wrote that “death is the ultimate rebuke to good manners.” That it’s not entirely easy to be accepting of the uncontrollable elements of life and be graceful about them. I guess I am trying to say that it’s appreciable that you are so honest about yourself. But that you are not alone in reacting this way…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. On a related note, when time permits, feel free to read my write-up, “Ramanujam Thatha – the incomplete chapter of my life?” The post is about how I deal(t) with the sudden passing away of my grandpa when I was 13 and he was just 61. It’s on my blog.

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