A piece of hell on Earth


So this is it. This is what death feels like. I'm in hell. Had I been able to be a little more patient, a little less sarcasm, I would certainly not have ended up here. Too late for tears for spoken words, farewell cannot be reversed. Scorching heat, the sun's rays of purgatory, descend on me like flames. No fuss around me, just an oppressive, stuffy silence. Yes, there are sounds, no human living beings, no voices. Noise, crackling, rustling. It whizzes and swirls in my head. Like being surrounded from all sides with crying whines, feline screams, snarling tones. Presumably from afterlife ghosts, demons, no paradisiacal angels, no lovely Garden of Eden residents.

Physically, everything seems to be functioning, I still feel all parts of my body. Shoots of pain keep attacking me and my mind is unable to imagine the recognizable pains. The positive thinking, which made me so strong, has let me down. Hence my suspicion of having ended up in hell. Slowly I come to my positives. The pain is getting worse, more unbearable, I open my eyes, the bright rays of the sun dazzle me. Blinking desperately, I tried to endure the light, getting used to the brightness. Before my eyes, the sounds are evident. The swirling and whizzing comes from the endless sea. It exudes calm, gently rolling waves. The wind between the palm tree leaves causes noise, birds flying over scream. I don't know where the other sounds came from, I don't see them, don't hear them anymore.

My ability to observe sees a paradisiacal environment. Rationally thinking an island, possibly even uninhabited. The silvery sand runs in a semicircle curve. Now that I've absorbed the environment I'm in, I'm refocusing on my physical presence here.

How do I get here? What happened? Where do those shoots of pain come from?

I'm focusing somewhat on discovering the damage to myself. It is difficult. My right leg was always weak and sore, but my left leg? The fright hits me around my heart when I look at the battered part of the body. From the top of my thigh to the middle of my calf, the skin is completely torn open.

Flurries of the effects of past seasickness are coming to defy my memory. I stand alone on the east side of the ship, bend over the railing to dump my stomach contents into the sea. A sudden dizziness makes me lean too far. The wind is not favourable to me, no one hears my scream. When knocking overboard, I feel a sharp pain in my leg, the roughness from the outside of the railing has completely ripped it open. I hallucinate, I die drowning? Apparently, I have lost consciousness, because from that moment on, the memories stop.

So this is it. This is what death feels like.

~~~~

Small accumulated annoyances had underpinned my decision to take a break. Away from everything. I wanted to be able to enjoy the man on the couch watching TV footage slumped over, while listening to his favorite radio show. Invariably my warning ~Voeten van die salontafel, je schopt bijna de waxinekaarsjes eraf~ negerend. I wanted to be able to appreciate his jokes again, laugh at his silly apples-to-pear comparisons.



Be able to bear the desire for patience before my daughter grew. The child who gave a plant in the windowsill drop by drop of water with great caution was rewarded by me with: “Be careful, you're still drowning it” I used to be able to smile endearingly at her accuracy. Now it annoyed me. The cruise was a unique opportunity to recharge.



When I left, I gave her a cellphone.

“Why, mom? It's not my birthday, right”

“As a farewell gift”

With her stuffed animal clasped in her arms, she looked at me with big, anxious eyes.



“Will you never come back, will you stay away forever”

“Yes, forever”





The sarcastic response was out before I knew it. I wiped dry the swelling tears in her eyes with a paper towel. I used to kiss them tenderly. Reassuringly assured her that mom was just joking. The cruise was unavoidable, I really needed to get away.

Tormented by memories of home, I realize that the way back is no longer there. The island is my reward, my well-deserved hell on Earth. With the last words spoken to my own child, I've written myself off. Yes, forever.


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