Last night I dreamt of my own death. Dying was sudden, or at least unexpected, but it was not violent or rushed, so I was conscious of the process. Some cardiovascular event perhaps, but it was hard to figure out, as I had no medical background in the dream. I knew it was not old age or some terminal issue, I didn’t remember getting old or being sick for weeks or months, and such things don’t come unnoticed. The death was taking place nowadays, and felt both unexpected and irreversible. It was being unfolded as a bit dreamy, painful, sorrowful drifting away.
I was dead and found myself in some place. I didn’t know it, but understood that a place was. So the dream followed basic principles of what we understand is real. The place was a large cave made of lava-rock, like if it was made by a bursting bubble of gas in melting rock and then frozen, rather than a dark place of smooth shapes comfortable to touch, surface polished by water dripping on limestone and through soil, the thing we would usually see as a cave. It also felt like it belonged to a structure way smaller than the Earth. Maybe a warehouse carved out in a meteorite somewhere in the space.
The cave or the warehouse, whichever it was, felt empty. Also the surrounding space was empty, maybe there was no life in the universe it belonged to. But still there was a of presence, that is of others’ existence, in place. Not just the warehouse, me and the void.
There I am, and before thinking for a moment, before having a proper chance to contemplate where am I, what am I, why am I all alone, and what may being dead mean in fact, I am instantaneously aware of presence of gods. The place still being empty.
Deities don’t manifest themselves in any way in particular. They just make me me aware of their presence, but they keep their distance, so the place is empty and I am alone. They are the Hindu trinity: the Creator, the Destroyer and the Preserver. They may be software engineers in their lab coats, or maybe psychiatrists, all speaking proper a bit too careful English with a trace of an accent. It strikes me they may not be gods, I am an atheist after all, but they fit so well: they create, they destroy and they preserve. They are the only folk around and they wished to explain to me the current condition.
After all, I had just died unexpectedly and basic decency requires some sort of explanation. But there is nothing profound coming from them as an explanation. Rather they speak the known corporate crap, we are so used to as consumers and voters and employees. They express sincere concern for my inconvenience, but since they don’t hold any further plans for me in their script I had been terminated. And while being terminated I need to be told I have been terminated, and the message always must include apologies for the inconvenience. So it’s more convenient to pass I assume.
I am kind of like let me hear you out, OK morons, I wish not to be disrespectful here but that’s your message is not good enough , we need to talk through every step of the process, and figure out my way, I understand that you have a script, but frankly even though I don’t have a script or any particular plans for what to do with the say another 40 years to come, I have a reasonable expectation of continuity of my not bothering anyone taking care of my own shit, correct?
They say, yes, sure, technically speaking you do, and usually, we issue a notice like that you get a cancer or you have two accidents before we kill you in the third one, but we have quite some margin to decide.
I say fine, good, nobody is making a drama here, but I am kind of halfway through my life, and I am not in a position to accept you screwing it up for me, so here is what we will do – let me take a look at your script and I will just fill it in with plans for me, and everyone is happy.
They say it’s not going to work because they discontinued the whole script because they didn’t like it, but after some internal discussion, which they are having as they speak, if they can have it approved (you have a board to approve your stuff assholes? – I wonder but don’t dare to ask), they could offer me a continuous position in another script. I sense that it’s going in the right direction and control over my situation here is just slipping away. I don’t mind changing the surroundings, or living in a different script, but don’t want anything too extreme, so I ask what do they have on their minds.
They say, hey, don’t worry it will be your life, basically you will be yourself and will remember everything, you will have continuously the same self identity, just the reality will be altered, but as we mentioned we don’t have your old reality available anymore. How different, I ask. No big deal, socially maybe a bit. I don’t really respond to that because I want to think for a moment what to say. These guys have been pretty open so far, so maybe I can get a better deal. Need to talk them into it.
But before the specifics of the said better deal form in my mind, and I can start talking to them, I am already gone from that place.
I find myself in another reality, but with my own identity, as they said it would be. And I stand in the lobby of a law firm I used to work in the US and then when I moved back, but the building design, landscape out of the windows are so completely unfamiliar. Also, the technology around, the furniture, appliances, art on the walls, elevators, none of these resemble anything I knew. I could understand perfectly the function of the objects around, but this office world was way more stylish than anything from before I died. The fashion was different, not completely, it was like something between hipster and stylish sixties.
So I pass the lobby, and nod to people there, and people know me, and that I see that I belong there in the office. So far so good I think, let’s get to work. Apparently it is a busy Monday morning, and I enter a large room with couches and low armchairs, and large dimmed windows, and there is a figure I know so well – the managing partner, I worked with some ten years before I died. He turns to me and says hi, good to see you Michał, we need to look into some projects.
Than he looks at me closely, and asks what happened to my clothes. I ask, what does he mean. He says OK I get it, you misplaced labels.
I ask what labels. He smiles, and says – you’re wearing blue, green and red, and these don’t match at all.
I look at my clothes and I say he’s wrong and I wear just blue and grey.
And he says, well they all know in the office that I am color-blind and need stickers on my clothes so I can match them. No big deal, he says, just that I need talk to my dry cleaners so they don’t screw up next time.
Then I woke up for good, for a moment unsure if I died or not. But figured I was back in my bedroom. And could see red, blue and green.
So I knew dying was a dream. So far, so good.