The Death File

I went to see Gandhi’s widow the night of her performance. She was a statuesque woman with long black hair and caramel skin. She had the face of the seer in The Matrix. She was heartbreakingly beautiful.

She knew I had questions about her husband’s work. She gave me a skeptical smile and handed me a paper with a press photo from one of her numbers. In the picture, the stage was filled with women costumed in gold, looking vaguely egyptian. “There is a puzzle here,” she said, “and you must solve it.”

The performance was in a cafe, the stage a cleared corner. She began with her ensemble a combination of dance, voice, and music that sounded like Philip Glass. It was so much more than I was expecting. So meaningful, yet so clear, and even entertaining. I was entranced.

Midway through the show, the number in the puzzle began. I hadn’t realized she intended to perform it–I thought the answer was in the picture alone, and was having trouble solving it. When the performance was over, I knew.

“Did you solve the puzzle?” she asked.

“Everyone is afraid of death.” I answered. “Everyone, at first.”

“Are you afraid?”

“I’m having trouble conquering my fears because of the atheism, but I’m working on it.”

She smiled. “There’s a further secret,” she said. Then I knew more.

When I went home, I knew where to look. There, entered in a file on my computer, were the details of my life and death. Everyone’s life and death. I discovered that I will marry, though there are surprises. I will have no children, as I’d planned. I will die at the age of 69 of respiratory problems. There are two other options, but the details were blank. My husband will die ten years later.

At first, looking at the bald numbers, I was terrified. But I knew that the terror would pass, and with this information I could finally find peace. I will die. This is how. I have some years left. There are other possibilities. I’m not afraid.

3 Responses to The Death File

  1. Cat says:

    My first thought upon waking up: “Hey, wasn’t I supposed to wake up *before* I got all the answers??”

  2. jocelyn says:

    *feelings of premonition and commonality*

  3. Zim says:

    Maybe you need to lose your teeth.