Chuck’s beam was especially bright that day, as was Nancy’s. It was like high beams on a late night drive. Must be a communal gathering, or perhaps the anniversary of their Death Day. Time doesn’t matter here, however. As newbies, we tried measuring it with each signal of someone remembering us by counting the beams indicating The Living were thinking of us. The older folks said to forget it, not in a grumpy matter but more for the sake of keeping the idea of normalized rituals as if we were still alive, well, dead.
The Council told everyone when our Death Day was arriving anyway. It’s been a year since I died. Car accident. I was alone, as was usual back in the Land of the Living. Not here, however. I’ve got what would be considered a clique. It consists of folks I never would have made friends with while alive. I’d laugh in the irony but most of my sense of humor died along with me.
As I said, it’s been a year since I died. Not only was I alone in the car but I’m an only child whose parents passed away early in my life. I was 28 that afternoon, a few months from another year added to my age. My father died when I was three, no memory of him. My mother died after I graduated college five Alive years ago.
I thought I had a couple close friends, we’d do things Alive folks eventually take for granted. But here I am, dead, and while I shouldn’t know anyone is even thinking of me I’m reminded that nobody is.
Only one other person is in my situation, Bert. But he’s in his late seventies and everyone he knew while alive are here. Well, almost. His wife isn’t. Rumor has it she’s still down there, in the In-between. The Land of the Not-So-Dead. The Council can’t do anything for him, it’s out of their hands, they say.
Bert tried telling me not to worry, that someone will remember me. But as I watch all the newbies have their lights go off on an almost continuous basis I’m forced with the realization that if I haven’t been remembered at that magnitude since passing, nobody will ever remember me.
Oh don’t tell me to be passive aggressive, almost every Alive emotion is dead. It’s more of a phantom feeling now, like when you lose a limb and think it’s still there. So I’m speaking as if I’m still Alive, something The Council said would happen and we all wouldn’t quite get over. But, I’m happy here (haha there I go again). I’ve got more now than I ever have while Alive. I’m not even what would be considered “upset” that my parents and I aren’t reunited. Sometimes having a “clique” even gives the impression that we can’t let go of our new Dead state.
Nevertheless, the Afterlife is pretty cool. No more trivializing over the things the Alive fret over. That’s probably the best part.