There isn't some self-agrandizing in death. No. Not unless you die doing something particularly ridiculous that in some way glorifies your death while also being self serving to your memory. Or at least that's how it typically is.
You don't remember those who are just simply dead. Or maybe you do. But there are thousands of people who die every day and not everyone gets even so much as a funeral. Some are simply gone. Their bodies are sent to be cremated. The ashes are dumped unceremoniously or put in a box on the shelf in the back of the crematorium.
Not everyone gets a funeral.
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It is those who don't that might matter most of all. Those people we have cast aside as the dredges of society who are a complete scourge to those who would rather spend their time worrying about the lastest scores or stocks or whatever. And it's frustrating.
Because we will never know if those people are important or not.
Because we didn't give them attention in life. We ignored them.
What good is that?
What good is society?
Of course, he got a funeral. His parents cried. Friends for over a kilometer. I stood near his brother, holding his dog's leash. That dog lay, miserable on the ground as if his best friend had died.
The last thing I remember of it was his brother saying something nasty in Russian and walking off with him to split a bottle of cheap, too-warm vodka back on his boat without taking it out of the harbor. The dog howled and we ignored him.
It was horrible.
I had known plenty of people who had died before. He was nothing special, right? And he didn't die a hero like so many people seemed to claim. Including our Captain who had been talking about when we had left. It was ridiculous.
Sometimes things just blew up. And there would be an investigation to show. Three bolts had been stripped because they weren't tightened properly and that just so happened to end in the deaths of twelve people.
I must have been black out drunk that night but it didn't really matter.
It was something I couldn't alter. Something I couldn't change.
I kept the dog, temporarily.
Our new ship was ready to go ahead of schedule several weeks later and I remember standing with his brother, just staring as we finished cleaning out his room. A small box would go home to the parents to never open. He kept a few things. I kept the dog's things. And a shirt. And his brother was kind enough not to notice. Or I mean he pretended not to anyway.
I missed him.
God, how I missed him. It was stupid.
We had never exactly put a title on what we were. My only other paraserious relationship had wound up in a marriage that ended in abuse and death. He abused me. He died. Falling rocks could be a brutal thing to be thankful for. But I was thankful for them.
Anyway, even though we spent very few nights actually apart we had never had sex. He could date whomever he wanted. I didn't date. I was convinced I wasn't interested.
So we never put words to the fact we slept curled up together in a tangle of sheets with the big golden retriever helping to keep us warm. Never really addressed all the kissing and making out we shared. There was a passion there but we sort of danced around it inelegantly, wanting. Waiting. God knows what for. But it was what it was.
I figured when we got into our mission, maybe... One of us would eventually decide to act upon the mutual liking-- who am I kidding? I wanted him to ask me out. But I was heavy with baggage and he was my support system and I don't even know if he felt the same way I felt about him.
And it's really easy when someone dies to glorify that person to be ineffable and flawless even when they weren't perfect. Who the hell is? I'd like to meet them, then punch them for their flawlessness.
I saw him as flawless. He taught me to swim shortly aft my husband had died and I was I between being celebratory and hurt. Nothing ever felt quite right. It sucked.
I just... I don't know what I expected.
So after a while, I decided I didn't have a right to him. He was gone and he had never been mine. I gave his brother his dog, and we didn't talk, as was our M.O. when we were around each other. We drank whiskey that night. High dollar. I slept with the dog on the horrid yellow couch, and he slept in his room, I guess.
We remained friendly but I didn't really talk to him regardless of everything. We weren't friends. We danced around each others' presence as if we hurt each other through mere existence. And perhaps part of that was true.
We were reminded of someone we had both had strong emotions for by seeing each other.
Our jobs meant we didn't cross paths a lot. So that was that.
I never looked to date after that. I didn't even drink after that night. It wasn't fun without him, and with his brother it was painful.
Eventually, his brother, too, could handle it no more. He retired and he left.
And eventually I was brought here. This strange place with these strange people and oh look they wanted to kill me. Surprise!
I remember the first three nights for the screaming. I remember pain and upset. Strangling, baring down on me. I was fearful for my life those first few nights. Hoping for a rescue that never came.
I was the last left living. I didn't expect the attack but when it did come I was at least semi prepared. I had a machete from the field. I'd cut down anyone who came for me. I would fight my way to the end.
And it wouldn't matter.
My death in the grand scheme would be inconsequential. My family would not mourn me. They would express I told you so's and shake their heads before moving on. I wouldn't even be considered dead, I guess, for another fifty or so years. Missing in action.
Because my body wouldn't wind up in the ditch with the others. That pit that others would uncover in a year or two. It was messy.
This whole thing was.
But as the bite of metal struck my stomach I thought of nothing but him. Wondered if he had felt it, being blown up if he would be waiting somewhere in the void, for me...
And that selfishness as I blinked from existence disgusted me.
© Ghost, 2014