When I was nine years old and death loomed over our home, my mother won’t let me eat any of the food in the house. She said it wasn’t pure, wasn’t fit to be consumed. There was death in the food. It had to be thrown away. And even though she bought me all kinds of my favourite snacks, from the shop that day, especially strawberry cream biscuits, I still went to bed hungry.
Sometime that day, my mind created a new meaning of death. A meaning that has stuck with me through all these years. A meaning I can physically feel like the pangs of hunger in my belly. Death is emptiness. And today, I feel so empty.
It’s been a few days since the body was found not far from my new house. I didn’t know her. But I had passed the scene of her death so many times before. Strange how we never sense how a place is going to feel suddenly different one day. Strange how hungry I felt after finding out about her death. Strange how I could smell strawberry cream all night as I thought about her last moments.
Sometimes I think death follows me around wherever I go. And I know I shouldn’t feel that way. It can’t be true. I’ve been fortunate, never really lost a loved one out of the blue. I’ve never seen anyone die.
But I can feel death. I can feel it every night right before I fall asleep. I can feel it every time it rains in August. I can feel it every time I walk past my old home. I want this feeling to go away but the more I wish for it, the more it seeps into my pores like a layer of grease settling over water. Impenetrable. Like a trap.
I want to go on a walk but I don’t want to feel her death anymore. I don’t want to pass the spot where she lay for days before they found her. I don’t want to fear bumping into her murderer on the way.
I want to move again.