THUS SPOKE DEATH

(The jitters of Covid pandemic racing wild all over the globe caused a spectacular suspicion – a dread of death gravely disturbed me. It’s a vague coldness, which I never owned anytime. Like a rat in a trap, I struggled in one rainy night, with an imaginary event of mourning.)

Covid has brought in new fears, besides the stress of isolation. I kept myself well-informed, which I realized a disadvantage, for the slightest unease in my body gave a shiver as though a Covid symptom has already invaded and its fatal fallout awaited!

A week ago, it so happened: an insane suspicion had dragged me out damn scared and held in panic; I never usually jump at faint alarms. After a while, I adjusted and calmed the emotions, guessed them to be the fears of fading age wrung with the jitters of pandemic racing wild all over the globe. Yet, it stayed frantic in my head:  a spectacular dread of death, a vague coldness, which I never owned anytime. Never had I taken over by such delusions. Even after two days, the shivers still crawled alive as I flinched, like a rat in a trap, at the imaginary event of bereavement.

Late evening, on that day, I led a conversation with a friend, at first we related in mild tones, but strangely, before I guessed, in a tick the chat flared up, like a lighted fuse of fireworks. It shook my vocal cords and disturbed my emotions. I sat upset, gripped in a fury which left me choked for breath. After I got retired, my slowed – down habits never permitted these piqued tempers. The benefit of yoga I practiced along with breathing exercises gave leverage to withhold any such outraged moments when thrown into a duel that demands to raise my pitch. Mostly I’m calm and subdued no matter the degree of conflict as my alert wisdom reminds me of a dig, “the rationale is thrown out of the window when the bad moods creep in through cracks.”

To sum up, all that set off as a routine small talk had catapulted into a volley of accusations, blame games, and personal attacks. I snapped my phone shut to avoid a further nasty escalation that might erode the five-decade-long relationship. It disturbed me more than it usually did when faced with similar enraged incidents. 

I lay on bed chest still heaving; my asthmatic lungs wouldn’t approve these spells of rage, and given a heart repaired by a stent – after a miraculous life and death battle fought, four years back, in a remote hospital, helped by a charitable soul. Besides, there were other touchy details I have to deal with: every day – that of loneliness – a cold fact – I walk a solitary life. Exhausted, I murmured under my breath. How have I to deal with these delirious incantations irked at this late hour?

Now this hovering sense – a misgiving blip of death in this stressful pandemic panic, has failed my rational tone of thinking miserably. I noticed it as a hunch, an odd feeling swimming like a bloated suspicion – that any symptom apparent to me seemed a fatal Covid symptom.

The outrage I have experienced a few hours back kicked in cyclic allergic issues, something I wasn’t prepared to cope with; first, a dizzy headache coursed around the temples, as sharp and piercing as a ring of a school bell. Shortly later, my breath caught hard in the chest. Even before I leveled that worry, it’s my nose that got excited and stuffy and runny, requiring a large soft cloth handy to mop the spurt of sniffling. Soon, I realised, I got trapped in a shell of fear, where the wily brain played different scenarios of Covid-19 fatal infections. The more I thought, the surer I felt the scourge of the disease swept my body. Lying alone in a huge house, I wasn’t sure could I run away from the hard-played emotional mockery. It seemed it’s a difficult suggestion. At the moment, I lay mentally maimed.

The final act of the day seemed like a scene picked up from a horror film.  

I lay slumped on a sofa, watching TV. Somewhere back in mind the uncomfortable tensions, the Covid fears played their tricks. A dull ache crept along the body, causing nausea. All the doors, windows shut tight for any outside sounds. The hiss of the air conditioner, dialogues floating out of TV were only the sounds except for the sporadic silence hung by the walls bounced about in the low-lit room. The aura at the moment, I can sum up like this: eyes choked with apprehension, mind carried unfriendly scenes. Suddenly I heard an enormous crash outside the window; something tumbled from above got smashed, creating a shocking sound, but before I tried to react to the impact, in the next heart-beat, there leaped an absolute blackness; the power went off. I swallowed heavily, and my breath stopped midway. Though in the grip of fear, I couldn’t miss the sarcasm of the reality that hung low before me; I fought the shrouded darkness and death in my thoughts – for a few seconds. 

Guided by the phone light, I opened the door to step into a dense storm screaming and lashing out with its myriad tongues; the rain gushing in sheets poured down in fierce booms. I huddled, listening to the violent language of the winds and when the rain splayed and touched my skin; I sensed they stroked my nerves lightly.  

I walked, guarding my steps, in the darkness and there laid out a mad spectacle – a violent arrival of blowing winds and deluge bursting over the trees, streets, and buildings. Between the stillness and brilliant flashes and the eerie whistling mix of gushing winds, I stood stiff and wet. I felt better. Perhaps, the silvery strings of pouring rain, the splitting flashes have eased the grip of fear noosed around my neck. I felt relieved. The disturbing angst, it surprised me, disappeared. In that thankful moment, a whim ran across my relaxed heart, “It’s all rubbish and silly, isn’t it?” if I believed in myself, I could escape any dark trauma and conjectures. I believed I could see the Sun in the morning.          

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