a box labeled “Jan”

there will be unfinished books, Tolkien’s The Silmarillion on a table, and a pile consisting of Lualhati Bautista’s Desaparesidos, Hermann Hesse’s Poems, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo’s Creative Nonfiction: A Manual for Filipino Writers, and a comic I picked up on Booksale Robinsons. they will lie resting near the double-deck’s imaginary headboard. some things were organized well, as if I knew I was about to go, but there are clues that show otherwise. there’s my calendar, not as full as most people’s but contain sufficient entries. Saturdays for a recurring 7pm. Sundays for a recurring 2pm. one Friday per month to see my doctor. miscellaneous dates for payment, for meeting one or more friends. then there’s the medicine box filled for days and days. shampoo, kiddie toothpaste, toiletries. leaving the living sounds like a lot of unfinished business but my time is up. the calendar stops getting new entries. the medication stops getting filled and will likely go to the trash and so are the toiletries that nobody wants. perhaps, this is why people ask: why keep things you can’t bring to heaven? or hell or purgatory? but it’s not like I bought them to use in the afterlife. do ghosts need shampoo? are they sensitive to strong mint toothpaste? ‘don’t think so. when those who are left see my things, will they take after my feelings? or just put them in boxes labeled “JAN.” keep it sealed and hidden beneath the bowels of shadows and cabinets. how does the bereaved acquiesce with one’s absence?

I can’t show what it means to be un-born but the world has always been straightforward: either there’s someone else or there’s none. I’ve existed for a while which means it’s not hard to show a bit of how un-existing looks …

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