Part 2: Anger
The pounding on the door resounded with the pounding in my head, amplifying the pain I felt threefold. I groaned loudly as I tried to push myself into an upright position. I was in bed, the lights filtering in dimly through the curtains. Under a tangled ball of sheets and pillows, I fought to free myself as the knocking continued.
“What?!” My voice came out harsh and raspy and my throat felt raw just from speaking the single word. I managed to stand up, nearly falling over from the sudden vertigo that struck me, and opened the door, attempting to glower at the most unwelcome intruder assaulting my rest. Omega was on the other side, his hand hidden beneath the long sleeves of his cloak and pulled back, halfway between a knock.
“It’s been a while, figured you could use a wake up.” He cocked his head to one side, assessing me. “You look really rough.” The statement was pretty obvious, if I even looked half as bad as I felt, I was a mess.
“I feel really rough. How much did I drink last night?” I sagged against the door frame, letting my head rest on the cool wood. My eyes drifted shut and I almost drifted off again in the few moments as I relaxed.
“Last night? Well not nearly as much as the first two nights. Maybe only half of a forty?” Omega turned and walked down the hallway, his robes swishing way too loudly against the floor.
“Wait, what?” I staggered after him, my knees seemingly replaced with those of a newborn calf. “How many days have I been drinking?”
“Drinking? You pretty much filled a pool and swam in it my friend.” He reached out and felt my neck near my ears. “You didn’t grow gills, so you’ve got that going for you I guess. But it’s only been 3 days. I moved in on Sunday right? It’s Wednesday today.”
“Why did you stop me from drinking today then?” I stumbled back to my room and pulled on jeans, the rough fabric against my skin making me flinch. Struggling with a shirt, I limped back to the kitchen, just as Omega was opening the blinds. Blinding mid-morning light assaulted me through the window, causing me to let out another moan of discomfort.
“You have to go pick out a coffin. I’m guessing you don’t remember, but her mother called and you agreed to do that. Here’s the information, you wrote it when you were pretty hammered.” He slid a piece of paper across the table to me and it contained a very messily scrawled note. I recognized my drunken writing, though it took me a few moments to decipher the message scrawled there. I looked at my wall clock to confirm the time.
“Shit, the appointment is in an hour. I have to get moving.” I quickly rushed through my morning routine, the shower really clearing the cobwebs from my head. I still felt like my body was built from crudely shaped clay, stiff and unyielding. I didn’t trust my stomach whatsoever, so I didn’t grab anything to eat on my way out the door. Omega joined me at the door, his converse’s laced up firmly with his bag and scythe thrown over both shoulders.
“I’m coming with, I want to see what kind of incinerator this place has!” He followed me to my car, throwing in his scythe and bag in the back seat. I paused as I was about to get in, trying to think of the best way to get him not to come with.
“I really don’t want you to come with. Can I just do this alone?” I felt a spark of frustration in me, that this weird embodiment of a concept had chosen to harass me. Omega threw back his head and laughed heartily at my comment
“Listen, unfortunately, now that you’ve met me, I’m going to be everywhere. You’ll see me wherever you go, no matter if I’m actually there with you. Your life will be lived looking for me and feeling almost a sick sense of satisfaction when you see me occur, as if knowing that everything ends is almost an accomplishment.” He ducked into the car and adjusted the seat, making it as far back and reclined as possible. Pulling out a pack of cigarettes, he lit one for himself before offering one to me. I still didn’t see a single exposed limb from him.
As detached as that observation was, I realized that I was being held hostage in this situation. That knowledge was the catalyst my inner spark of frustration needed, causing it to roar into a full fire. I slammed my door, started the car and shifted into gear aggressively. The car leapt into action, tires squealing in protest as they left streaks of themselves behind us.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?! Acting like I’ll take some kind of perverse pleasure in seeing others suffer, acting like you’re filling some kind of void left by her. Are you seriously kidding me Omega? Saying shit like ‘I’m the last thing most people see’? You’re probably not even real. Just some figment in my fucked up head from alcohol and grief!” A silence filled the car, uncomfortably stretching longer and longer as Omega sucked on a cigarette. Finally with a overly dramatic sigh, he turned to me.
“Don’t regress on me man, don’t go back to denial. Anger is good, it helps you to work out all the unresolved feelings. Creates logic to work in your own favor. It propels you forward, stops you from wallowing.” I could hear the smug smirk he wore without needing to see it.
“Fuck you, asshole. You’re wallowing.” Glowering, I drove in silence for the rest of the trip, cigarette smoke filling the car. We pulled up in front of a plain brick building, with low growing, well trimmed plants lining the walk up to a solid wooden door. It seemed as if the building was forced to be plain to the point of painfulness. In order to be non-offensive, it was as boring as possible. I understood the reasoning behind it, but the absolute banality of it kept the rage burning in the pit of my stomach.
As Omega got out of the car, he put his cigarette out on the pavement and stretched his back with a loud crack. After he had collected his scythe and bag from the back seat, he brought out a hard boiled egg from his pocket and began peeling it, leaving shards of shell on the clean neat cement that led to the door. Upon reaching the entrance, I knocked loudly, creating a loud echo on the other side. As silence fell, the door opened to a smaller, thin man.
His narrow, solemn face opened into a sorrowful and understanding smile. It was an extremely practiced motion, almost forced with its immediate timing. Bowing, he fully opened the door, exposing an entryway that was clean and homey. As he led me through the halls towards the room with the show caskets, I noticed that Omega seemed more solid here, more vibrant. As vibrant as person clad entirely in black could be. He followed me down the hall, quietly admiring the paintings. The man leading us paid him no attention, leading me to further certainty of my decreasing mental state.
Pulling open two doors at the end of the main hallway, he revealed a room full of coffins, softly lit with easy to read plaques adorning each one. Stepping out of the room once I had entered, he quietly stated he would give me time to think. Once we were alone, Omega spoke up softly.
“You know why you’re angry? Why I seem like an intrusion when I’m part of everything? You’re mad at yourself, but you don’t want to admit it. You can’t change the past and normally, we live our lives knowing that the future can change our regrets about the past. But nothing’s guaranteed and when someone close to you is suddenly gone, you’re unable to process your inability to change anything regarding them anymore.” He leaned back against a coffin, folded his arms and shrugged. “Humans don’t like blaming themselves, it’s a blind spot. Kind of adorable really. So you blame the inevitable. Me.”
“Inevitable?” I threw my arms in the air exasperatedly and began to look over the different coffins, figuring out which one to lay her to rest for eternity in. “You’re telling me that she was supposed to be taken on this day? It was unavoidable, fate? That’s a load of fucking trash. All this is goddamn, fucking happenstance. You, or some dickhole up there,” I pointed to the roof, “decided some cruel game needed to be played over my hollowed out form.” Tears began to run heatedly down my cheeks, and I stopped my short lived inspections of the coffins.
“Passing on is inevitable, it’s part of the beauty of life. The fragility that you refuse to acknowledge, is a part of the wonderfulness of your experience. She wasn’t guaranteed any number of days, there wasn’t some magic total on the wall we let her get to before crossing it out. Things happen.” He closed one coffin every few sentences he spoke, making his way around the room. “Now I’m not saying that living each day as if it were your last is the answer. That’s the conclusion too many people draw. Doing that is much too short sighted and really only leads to ruin. Living life to the fullest is about soaking in every single ounce of joy from the mundane everyday experiences, letting go of little hurts and angers that hold you back. Sharing all our hearts with those we love is essential to that.” He talked with his hands as he moved throughout the room. The speech seemed heartfelt, calming my anger to the point where I lost all strength and collapsed to the floor. I felt weak without the anger, disorienting to a degree.
“It just doesn’t make sense that she has to go.” My voice fell to the floor from my lips, crawling across the open space pathetically.
“It doesn’t have to. Life isn’t about making sense. It is what it is, and you survive what you get from it.” Omega’s voice was tender in response, filled with compassion. “It’s about learning and growing, not stopping in defeat from the blows that you receive. That’s where anger’s place is right now. So embrace it, yell ‘Fuck’ at me, or anyone really. Preferably them.” One coffin was left open from his walk around the room, and he pointed to it. “What about this one?”
The coffin was stunning, a glowing finish with beautiful detail work along the handles. I reached out and ran my hand along it almost reverently. I’ve never experienced a moment similar to that in my entire life. Two beasts were fighting within my chest. One of satisfaction of finding the right way to pay homage to the love of my life, the other a snarling creature demanding that nothing was good enough, as she should still be with us. The collided in an ocean of tears deep in my chest and forced some to fall involuntarily from my eyes.
“It’s perfect.” The words came out barely audible. However, the narrow faced man managed to hear them from outside the room. He came in with paperwork, a pen and his overly calm, relaxed attitude.