I loved candles. Now I know why.
The only sound I could hear was my own heart beat. The morning seemed no longer bright. For a fact, Room No.903, commonly known as the ICCU at AIIMS, had no windows. Morning and nights equally smelled of antiseptic. I had started to forget the smell of my skin. The needle that pierced the epidermal tissues offered no sensation after all. The insanity of the entire room as though reflected on me, as I had started to become a vegetable.
It was last Tuesday that I had stopped responding to treatments. Tuesday was never a good omen. Even that day, when I first came to AIIMS, it was a Tuesday. Little I didn’t realize it then, covered in blood and the spine shattered. I realized it months later when I finally came to consciousness.
The dark prelude of the Dark. Darkness always frightened me. I remember how I used to cry at nights. If only I could kill the dark.
I turned my head around. Across the bed was the only companion I had since I came. He was about my same age, or even younger. Lympho sircoma of the intestine, they called it. It was hard to digest, but the poor chap never even opened his eyes now. In the early days of our companionship at the pay ward, we used to laugh and joke about everything beneath the sun. Though we both knew, that we hardly had any time left, we lived as if every moment was a celebration. Yesterday, he closed his eyes. Not the final run, but even worse. In the state medicine called the Coma, a matter between life and death.
The state was well mentioned in many of the spiritual texts I had read. Perhaps it was really an intermediate stage. The stage where gravity is no villain. I once read that some say, they traveled at an immense speed only to finally see the light. I wished I saw a light too.
The constant beeps on the ECG diverted my thoughts. In a moment, the ICCU was flooded with doctors and nurses. The boy next to me was pounding. I wondered how much strength his closed eyes gave him. I could see the doctors slamming their wrists across his chest. I had seen similar situations in Bollywood movies but today it was much more suffocating. The fight continued as his brain stopped responding and the blood stopped flowing to the arteries.
Was he done with?
The Dark had engulfed him.
It was hard to pull myself up as I saw the room growing darker. Was it a power- failure? No, my eyes were closing. I felt darkness all over me; images were blurred, the faces too. For a moment, I could hear faint cries and machines grunting. Then it was only silence.
I think I saw the light, but it was far away. I felt like flying. My mind disappeared behind some bush, and it was hard to know what I was thinking. I think Time stopped too, as I could no longer hear it tick.
Death. I saw him coming.
The only sound I could hear was my own heart beat.
I feared the Dark no more. I had seen him come. It was full of sound, but my state was peaceful. I knew my soul was awake. The touch I could feel no more.
I could see the light coming nearer. As I approached, I had a candle in my hands.
I had loved candles. Now I knew why!