It was a small box, nondescript. There was something written on it – the name of a jeweller. I opened it. On the red velvet were two tiny bottles, their necks sliced off. The bottles had their labels intact. They were injections.
For 14 and half years I had preserved them. They were the last shots my maamu, maternal uncle, had been given before he was pronounced dead.
The last shots before he had looked into my eyes, his large eyes flashing with an unknown need to connect.
Those last shots that had pierced his flesh a few minutes before I had let out the piercing scream that would leave me semi-conscious.
Why had I preserved them? I know that a couple of days later I was in the room and found them on the side table. I knew that heart failure is normal. Was this evidence against anyone? Or was this to be a helpless reminder that when nothing can be done, then nothing can be done?
Had I preserved them to remember or to forget?
How can anyone forget if you keep a memo pad? You can. It is like those bottles with their sharp heads would tell me everyday that it was over. In those initial days – months – I would keep the box within reach. Then, with time, I moved it to safer places. Finally, it was in the last draw in the cupboard that I rarely use, the draw that cannot be opened unless I move a small seat I have propped against it.
I use this seat every day. It is a half sofa. It is a beautiful rust colour, a bit like flaming autumn leaves.
It is strange. Among the many things I found during my ‘looking for something but don’t know what’ time were foreign currencies in small change. Several countries had left me with heavy metal. I looked at them from all angles. Right now where I am they are worth nothing. Once I am on wings again, they may not buy me a piece of the earth to lay my weary head on, but they will surely make a homeless person in some alien street happy. Just a coin dropped into a bowl – for music played, for still statues, for hunger, for the desperate urge to live.
I ran my fingers over those coins and understood their true value.
In the black bag that held my discards, I finally picked up the courage to throw those two bottles. I ran my fingers over them too. And in one final moment of deep loss, I poked myself with its pointed edge. No blood.
Had it become blunted?
Or have I stopped bleeding?