What’s it like to be dead?
ONE NIGHT last week I sat up in bed and and saw that what had awakened me was the creaky bedroom door being opened to admit a crazy woman dressed in a green ballgown who kept banging into things and swearing not quite under her breath as she did so. She said she had been on her way to the Hunt Ball at Denholm Hall when she realised she had forgotten her spectacles, couldn’t see a thing without them, had turned back to get them, was sure she had left them on the table beside the bed, had run into a group of enemy troops, been taken prisoner and executed as a spy, but because of the missing spectacles she was doomed to roam the earth looking for them and only when she had found them would she be released and had I seen them anywhere?
I asked her how she had been executed. She said she had been shot at dawn against the wall of the church, blindfolded which was sort of ironic and that it had been extremely painful and she didn’t want to talk about it.
I asked her what it was like being dead and she said there wasn’t much to it, you got used to it after a while and was I sure I hadn’t seen her spectacles? All this while she was lifting things up and putting them down again, looking under chairs and tables and beds, standing in the middle of the room, arms akimbo, willing the spectacles to make their appearance.
I was feeling sleepy and disappointed in her impatient replies to my genuine questions, so I turned over and in spite of her thumps and effing and blinding, quickly fell asleep again.
I woke up just as the sun was rising and was relieved to see that there were no overturned chairs or broken vases left to mark the stumbling passage of my myopic night visitor. At least she had had the decency to tidy up before she left for wherever these nocturnal peripatetics go to during the day.
But my very expensive spectacles which I distinctly remember leaving on the bedside table were gone.
I looked for them everywhere without success, on the duvet, under the pillow, I even got on my hands and knees to look for them on the carpet and just as I was beginning to come to an unwelcome conclusion (I tend to blame other people when things have gone wrong!), and peering one last time under the bed, out they popped from the breast pocket of my pyjama jacket.