London Diary (9)

(Considering it is Christmas, this is a controversial story to write, but this one has been playing on my mind for a while… remember, this is (mostly) a work of fiction, so don’t get offended – CMD)

‘There has to be something more to this, you know, something after this life when we all…’

I looked up from my packet of chips but he couldn’t finish the sentence he had started. It was an accident, no one blamed him for it. But still, months after it happened his hands shook a little bit too much. His gaze couldn’t hold your own for very long. It was as if he was still reaching out, searching for a reason, fathoming a concept far beyond his own existence.

To be honest, I don’t know how I would have coped with it. As I said, it was an accident, no one blamed him for what had happened. But that does not make it any easier. A sharp sound, a yell from across the road, anything could be a trigger for the memories of that night. The mind is an exceptional tool, us humans have evolved it over millennia. And it can deal with all the traumas of life throws at you. But how does the mind deal with death? The reality of this final destination that we will all reach, maybe tomorrow, maybe many moons in the future. And how does the mind deal with death, when you were its very agent?

‘You know, there has to be a purpose…’

I swallowed the chip. Despite its heat, I didn’t feel it slide down to my stomach. Instead I had to think fast, on my feet. Now what could I say. I didn’t just sympathise with him, he was my friend, we had known each other for years, been through way too much. But I also had to be careful, at this point not to speak entirely what’s on my mind. Something that had got me into a lot of trouble beforehand.

‘Well,’ I started.

He looked up at me. His eyes were filled with a glimmer of hope, but holding back something much more forceful. A torrent of emotion was there, but his mind was struggling to apply some logic to that horrific night.

Come on, I did not believe in jack. Look, in life, you make your own choices. And whatever happens, happens. God does not put his hand down, touch you on the shoulder and ‘whoosh’! Life is life. And then we die. We all die. It is a universal law, just like gravity, or the sun rising in the east. Life and existence continues. One day humans will evolve into something else, and all the hopes and dreams that posess today will be fossilised as coal.

God exists, God does not exist, I can’t prove that and nor do I care! I have bills to pay, I got mouths to feed and I got to turn on the heat. No God has ever put cash in my pocket. My own mind, my own wits have got me to where I am and to be honest that is not very far. After all, it is a Friday night, all I have is bag of chips and a friend looking for answers. Philosophy behind a set of dustbins, and not much else to keep out the cold air.

‘You know, there might be something, for us after this life. There may be an afterlife and some divine reason behind all of this. Then again, there may not be. And everything on Earth, that we experience is a result of human action. There is no guiding hand. Or maybe it is a little of both. I don’t know, the Ancient Greeks and beyond were coming up with the same questions. I guess since man first looked up at the starts, we have all asked the same thing!’

He chuckled.

‘Yeah, I suppose so. We’re trying to answer in a night what no one else has figured out so far!’

He grabbed a handful of chips, and shoveled them into his mouth, his hands still shaking that little bit too much. I had eased the pain for now, and whatever was inside him had subsided. But no matter what, until his dying day, he would always have that horror in his mind. No matter how many times we all told him that it was not his fault, he would still lie awake at night and think, ‘what if?’

He chewed on the hot chips, rapidly gasping as he tried to cool his tongue. It was a chilly night, and the vapours from our lungs filled the air. I looked at him, but he did not seem to notice. Whatever was going on through his mind, I hopefully would never know. But in this life, you are always one step away from death itself…

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