They say a blotchy red line had always been imprinted upon his neck. He became acquainted with the circumstances of his death in a hedonistic drunken brawl when a stranger gripped his neck so forcefully. This regressive discourse was common. Our modern society familiarised itself with reincarnation; our birth marks were physical proof of how we died in our past life. Those born without birthmarks may never comprehend their previous existence. For me, my past life came back to me in nebulous waves. I was tremendously seasick in this life without any anchor. I had my own island etched into my skin above my heart; a penumbra of my skin. Was it a heart attack? Presumably, yes.
It was a crisp and cloudless autumn evening that begged me to believe it was winter. My body was bundled up in a layered fashion; a thing of practical purpose and not beauty. This life was a solitary one for me, characterised by solo pursuits for hot whiskey and when the world caved in on me, I would trade it for tea. This was not the city, but the city like lights lured me down a cobbled path to a decrepit, archaic pub. In this life, I inhabited a strange contentment with my surroundings and sought solace in my own company. The fire, lit by a very disillusioned bartender, set the scene for a string of dismal melodies; neatly presented. This place rented out my heart that night and I was so in love with it.
You will know
Without warning, my birthmark stung piercingly. I surveyed the room freely until I was aware that my heart beat again with purpose in this life. There he stood in all his vivacity as if his surroundings were green screened and he; the only tangible, resplendent being, as though everyone else were merely concepts or figments. It was a look of knowing he cast to me and I returned it so painfully. These memories seized me; paralysed me. It was me in a straitjacket, anchored to this tableau and me, being the receptor of his mournful gaze, I remembered.
I remembered when the world started again with him in it, when growing old seemed like becoming a child again. I remembered adorning his graveside, when I resembled death more than him. And when I looked into those eyes he owned now, I felt a requited yearning for a life gone by. And it registered how in this life, I was subconsciously filling a void I never knew I had. In our disguises, this moment was both engulfing and miserable. In this life, I was a perpetual stranger to love but not death. Here we were, two figures knowingly estranged. Walking, living, breathing, but not loving anymore. We are obituaries.
“Debonaire Taylor died of a broken heart in 1909”.