Visited by Death, one sunny lunchtime many years ago

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

The door crashed shut. A hand plunged deep into my chest and ripped out my heart; veins, arteries and sinews stretched and snapped and I collapsed empty and lifeless onto the dusty wooden floor of the empty and lifeless house. The door crashed shut, the door crashed shut, the door crashed shut. Again and again the door crashed. Shut. It was final. The end. They’d gone. 

I couldn’t move, I was paralysed, the numbing shock anaesthetised, I was petrified and terrified and the screaming jibbering jabbering daemons could be felt outside in the darkness that was encroaching; stealthily, remorselessly, a tide of tightening frightening blackness was rising and with it came the putrid detritus of the wreckage wrought. My mouth was dry with the bitter cinders and ash of failure, the union of souls a mountebank’s mummery; to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till Death do us part.

Death, loveless lonely lovely smiling Death who loves to rive with his scythe rived us apart, he sliced and slashed through the bonds that bounded; sounded his dread musical mort as we mere mortals fled and bled. They’d gone and the door had crashed shut and Death’s spoor was still there, hanging in the still, lifelessly limp, empty, silent and insipid air; so dead was the air it could barely nourish; it had no sparkle to it, life was an anathema to it and to I.

Colour, sound, taste and smell were absent in the wake of Death and in the sterile clock calm of antiseptic absence, of numbing nothingness, time stood still. I was alone, bereft of love, bereft of my progeny, bereft of ecstasy; I was alone and a shudder started at the core of me; the scythe’s cleaving caused a catastrophic catalepsy; the tectonic plates of my mind shifted and ground together in cataclasis, I descended deep into the depths of the dark catacombs within.

The door crashed shut and I was alone. The shudder worked its way through me as I lay on the dusty wooden floor of the unnaturally quiet house, their absence a quietus on my life. Insensate, I watched a spider silently pitter-patter past me: dust motes floated slowly in a sunbeam, amiably, languidly: a floorboard creaked loudly. The mourning grieving house was adjusting to the emptiness, now that they’d gone.

Slowly at first but then in a rush, my life began to return as from the deep welled up a chaotic cacophony, a tumbling jumbling kaleidoscope of colourful images and colourful sounds. Buoyed by this flooding flotsam and jetsam, I resurfaced from the depths of the catacombs and I drew breath deep into my lungs. Time had resumed its steady march, tick tock went the clock, life’s spring had sprung back, I was alive again.

The uncomfortableness of the hard dusty wooden floor insistently made itself felt on the corners of my body and I stirred. I heaved myself up and unsteadily, shakily, with palsy walked around the barren empty hollow house, their appalling abandoned remains strewn higgledy-piggledy, uselessly, randomly, desolately, pathetically.

I stepped outside, crashed the door shut, and went back to work.