Aren't We All, Cont'd

Once I speculated that death was a void, a bleak blackness spread before us eternally. But, the assumption there is that we remain conscious in death in order to perceive of the blackness. Then, I presumed that consciousness itself must also die, but if that was the case, it must also have a beginning, and that beginning must be born from blackness, from nothingness. However, I wound up travelling down this rabbit hole that took me to understanding that, since energy and matter can neither be created nor destroyed, consciousness must be constantly a part of our existence, collectively or otherwise.
That is why I am no longer an atheist.
However, I do not believe in God.
“You seem to be recovering, Dr Amos.”
I reclined in my hospital gown, staring at the voice of my caretaker, Demi Housieaux. My bandages had slipped across my eyes, and the most comfortable position I could be in required that I lay semiretired on my back. The pressure behind my eyes felt enough to make them burst.
“I am recovering, Demi.”
“From death…” she whispered.
“Yes. Demi. From death.” Death isn’t an affliction. It’s terminal.
“A lot has changed, Dr Amos.”
“I am aware.”
“Since the ’50s.”
“I understand that.”
“We have things called-”
“Please, allow me to stop you there. After your goodwill gesture of trying to educate me on all things a la mode, I will need to politely decline your vain attempts at being the first person to retrain someone who has visited the ‘other side’ of the veil.”
“I am just trying to-”
“Help. Yes. I understand. Now, if you’d be so kind, I would like to continue listening to the radio.”
I could hear Demi’s footsteps fade out of my room, and I dialed up the radio, letting it fade into the background.
One thing I couldn’t get past was the pocketwatch and the llama. The setting I understood completely. My grandfather’s childhood home wasn’t one that I would readily forget. Astounding that I was able to recall it so completely. The ticking sounds of what I could only assume was the pounding of the instruments. My respirator. My haemoglobin substrate and pressure pump. The pocketwatch, I can only guess, was my conscious recollection of a similar sound, something familiar.
There were so many rooms in that house, and I memorized them all. Rooms, I believed, were there for storing things. Lots of things. My grandfather was the realization of this. Collections upon collections. Shelves lines with aging contact paper in order to protect both the shelf and the tchotchkes. It was a place of comfort. A place of constant conversation and collaboration. It was his heart and soul.
His soul.
It escaped my lips unintentionally.
How long had I been in that house?
I raised my hand to my bandages and felt where my skull had been pried open. I could feel the staples through the wrappings. If I had been braindead, then is my consciousness stored elsewhere?
I worry too much.
I wondered if Elena Milsap is still alive. She and I had gone to prom together, and, even then, I knew I carried too many things.
JEH, I suddenly remembered was on the llama’s tag. I worked the letters over in my mind, trying to snatch at the vapor, the sfumato, but it eluded me. Just. Enjoy. Heaven.
Hm, I laughed at myself.
If God were real, wouldn’t he have a sense of humor?
-JR Simmang


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