The Last Seven Minutes
The Last Seven Minutes
The ventilator has started beeping rapidly, I guess the heart has stopped responding. The nurses and doctors have noticed me, maybe I look pale, and wrinkled and worn out, but I don't care. They say a person has seven minutes after he dies, to look back at his life as a happy memory before escaping earth, on a journey to the Elysian Fields or Hell. No stopping in the middle. The machines and the humans around me think I have no responses left, I can't see anything, or feel anything, but I can hear them, and I recall each tone and whimper in the voices. Whimpers of people I am a mother of, a grandmother or the millions of relations we humans carry through our lives. Let's not waste time, I have sixty-five years to go back and seven minutes aren't enough.
Of course, I don't remember my birth or the first fifteen years of my life but after that, each second, I have lived is rushing in front of me. Like I'm watching a movie, myself as the third person.
My class teacher has asked me to sit beside her. Her blue uniform gleaming against my old unironed one. She doesn't like me, and her scowl said that. Yes, I was the boring, athletic, non-talkative person in school. I was fifteen—not a very raw age to stare at anyone; but I'm scared of making eye contacts, so I just look here and there and grab my seat. My subconscious has a smile on her face, the overly broad smile you wear when your dad gives you a Porsche as a Christmas present. But I don't show that on my face—the monitor of my machine-like body.
We don't converse for the entire day, she has friends to talk with, lectures to sleep, jokes to laugh at and pranks to make on someone. But no time to say a "Hi" to me. It makes me self-conscious, but I could manage a smile when she peeked into my soul while copying some notes. She saw through me, she saw the storm in me, as the pupils inside my irises widened. It was weird that the girl I saw every day, kicking a stone all the way from her house to the school at seven in the morning, made me self-conscious in her presence.
Two weeks passed in the same way, and I had learnt a few things about her, which she didn't tell me. (We only talked when she, by mistake, dropped something on my side of the desk or vice versa.) Some were from my own observations, she didn't like to oil her hair, it smelled like freshly shampooed apple, she ate burgers like a giant would eat humans, she stayed up till three or four in the morning, the dark circles and naps during math lectures said it all. When the sun had totally shown up, her young face would gleam in its goldest form. Her eyes appeared browner and she was technically a blondie under the sun. Blonde of the day and Brunette of the dark. Sounds poetic, doesn't it?
She had a boyfriend—six months old, she had asked him out during annual day practices. I didn't like him, for no apparent reason. He was nice, kind, and courteous and from the deepest core of my heart, I wish he had done something terrible to me so that I didn't have to feel guilty for hating him.
"Do you have secrets?" her voice rang in my ears like an ambulance alarm, only more melodious.
"Uh…yeah," I replied, staring at the hem of my soiled skirt.
"Do you know any of my secrets?" she asked.
"They aren't secrets if I know them."
She remained silent, and through the corner of my eyes, I saw that she wasn't mad at me. It was my reply that intrigued her. My words made her think. And feel. The "Porsche" smile lingered on my face.
I'm back on the hospital bed listening to whispering prayers of my family members. I can't concentrate on anything. It feels like being trapped in a tin. The tin is packed with pitch blackness. The air inside is like inhaling sand of the Sahara Desert. It is cutting through my throat and it hurts. My blood is getting thicker and I cannot see or hear anything. All I can sense is the cold metal of the tin, it's lowering temperature. Four out of five senses are gone. I think it's my time to choose. If I get any posthumous seven minutes, I will only want to see her face. Her pale beautiful body draped in a white gown, walking down the aisle towards me. Her lips curled into the most beautiful smile on earth and the life I have always seen in my dreams.