You Are Eternal

“I’m not dead,” I said. My voice was weak, and my therapist probably didn’t hear me.

“I’m sorry?” he leaned forward with a smile.

I had to clear my throat, even in paradise. “I’m not dead,” I said with more force, looked him in the eyes. “I’m not dead,” I repeated.

“Okay, and what makes you say that?”

I buried my head in my arms.

“Well, that was a silly question, now that I think about it, wasn’t it?” my therapist sheepishly smiled.

“No shit,” I sighed. “But this is an accident. I’m alive, flesh and blood and all.”

My therapist nodded slowly and took a sip from a glass of water on the desk. “Being dead feels a lot like being alive, it must be noted.”

“That doesn’t prove anything,” I said. “I know I’m alive, I feel I’m alive.”

“Let me try a different tack,” my therapist said after a nod. “Why do you want to be alive? What’s wrong with the afterlife?”

“Are you kidding me?” I almost slammed the desk. “I miss my friends, my family, they’re all alive and missing me. I need to go back to them, I have so much work that needs to be done. I’ll have you know that I was the most promising intern…”

“Just a minute,” my therapist held up a hand. I hate it so much when therapists interrupt you. He noticed that, but didn’t relent. “So you agree you’re in the afterlife?”

“I don’t know, I don’t care, all I know is I’m alive and I’m being kept away from my life.”

“It’s quite common for the recently deceased to believe they’re still alive,” my therapist said and pursed his lips. “You could say it’s practically normal. And in a certain way, it’s even admirable. Commitment like that is hard to come by. The world can be so cynical, you know. But you are committed to what you believe, and I can appreciate that. But do you think you’re channelling that commitment in the right direction?”

I stared right through him.

“Hello?” he cocked his head and smiled.

“I heard you, I just don’t have anything to say.”

“Okay,” he said and leaned back in his chair and sighed. “Well, we have more appointments scheduled, so I think we can stop here for today. You’ve been making consistent progress, and I’m sure—”

It was my turn to interrupt him. “I’m going to find a way out of this place, mark my words. I’m going to get back, and there’s nothing that will stop me.”

My therapist licked his lips and nodded again. “Have you made any plans?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” I sneered.

“Well, if you are, then I’m obligated to intervene. Please, be honest with me. It’s for the best.”

I held up a hand to silence him and prepared to leave. As I touched the doorknob, he said “Wait.”

I turned around.

“If you do get back, don’t tell anyone what you saw here.”

Words by Rahul Shirke