Yes I know it’s quite unbelievable. But I did. So I’m here writing and you are wondering how possible it is. When you find out, let me know. Let’s start at the beginning.
I had a tumor they said, oligodendroglomia of the right temporal lobe (whatever that means). I had been admitted into the hospital for over 2 months and had undergone 3 surgeries. Each surgery was proclaimed successful until the tumor returned. There was but one option now: to be flown abroad to be operated on by a very successful German surgeon, Hans Heinrich. The flight was in 2 hours. Thankfully, I was very conscious and could see my mum and my brother at my side.
My brother wore his trademark faded blue jeans and a body-hugging sweatshirt with a freakishly large Albert Einstein portrait. Kayode had always considered himself a genius, I actually think he is. He had an earpiece in his ears and was barking instructions at someone who was supposed to be booking a hotel for us in Germany. Just a year older than I, Kayode had made a name for himself in the Nigerian music industry by producing Hollywood quality music videos for some artist or the other I can’t remember right now. I was never a fan of made in Nigeria goods not even the brains. There doesn’t seem to be one Nigerian surgeon capable of removing a tumor. He glanced at me and I could see the pain in his eyes. I winked at him and he gave a lopsided grin.
Mum, was something else altogether. She had a way of remaining aloof in spite of everything happening around her. She always had this expressionless look about her. The only way to know her true feelings was if she said it. Having lost her husband to lung cancer just 4 months ago and her twenty five year old son had a malignant tumor; it was surprising she could keep her cool. She was the embodiment of a strong woman. If you looked up the word strong in a dictionary, you’d probably see her picture there.
I was still pondering these when I felt this cool breeze blow over me. I looked up at mum and it occurred to me that she was speaking to me. I couldn’t remember what she was talking about. Were we having a discussion or did she notice the shiver and was just asking me….. maybe she was praying. Then it struck me that there was absolute silence. I couldn’t even hear her. Had I suddenly gone deaf, I panicked. Neither mum nor Kayode noticed. Well, how’d they notice that I couldn’t hear them? I couldn’t even feel the bed sheet under me. I squeezed my palms together and realized my hands weren’t there or….
I looked down and saw my hands were there but wait…..
I hadn’t moved my head. How’d I have seen my hands without moving my head? I was really scared now.
“Mum, I can’t feel my body.” She was so engrossed in whatever thoughts she had that she didn’t hear me. “Mum” I screamed at the top of my voice. She couldn’t hear me. Nobody seemed to hear me.
A nurse came in and checked my pulse (didn’t even feel her touch me.) Something must have been wrong because she ran out. I still couldn’t hear anything they were saying. Mum was crying now and shouting. Kayode had ended his call and he was pacing. He turned to open the door and the doctor came in. He was sweating; he’d probably been called away from something else. He said something and the nurse ushered mum and Kayode out. Io desperately wanted to tell them I was okay, that I just couldn’t talk to them. That my brain probably just took a temporary pause (If that were possible). The doctor checked my heart beat and turned to the orderly who came in with him. The orderly went to the EEG.
I decided to get up, at least to show them I was alright. I did get up but neither of them noticed it. I waved my hands but I couldn’t get their attention. This was when I noticed I couldn’t see the arms I was waving.
”How is that possible?” I asked myself.
I looked back at the bed I was sitting on and I saw myself on the bed; Thin and bald. My eyes were closed like I was sleeping or ………
No it can’t be. I can’t be dead. I am here on the bed. I can see all that’s happening about me. Though I still couldn’t hear what they were saying. I lay back on my body and tried to get the eyelids to move. I couldn’t move any part of my body. My soul or is it spirit had somehow detached itself from my body.
The doctor shook his head and placed the white blanket above my head. I gave up at this point. I had been taken for dead. If only I could draw their attention to me somehow. The door opened and mum ran into the room red-faced. She had been crying, not crying, but wailing. I’ve never seen her distraught. She didn’t have the composure we grew up to know. She was pulling at my body, trying to get me to wake up. Kayode came in too and tears were streaming down his face. He was pulling at me too. He even tried slapping me awake. Mum tore at the doctor’s clothes, trying to get some kind of explanation from him. The doctor was visibly confused; he even had tears in his eyes too. One would have thought he knew us for years. That’s the kind of effect our family had on people. You feel you are a part of us in within hours of knowing us.
I desperately needed to tell them I was there, that I could see them. I really wished I could at least tell them I’d find a way to get back into my body and we’d get on with our lives. I shouted and screamed, but to no avail. They couldn’t hear me. Mum and Kayode were ushered out of the room while I was placed back on the bed and the white sheet over me.
At this point, my thoughts went back to myself. If I was dead, shouldn’t there be a light? At least that’s what movies make us believe. But there was none. No sudden knowledge of everything. No joy of having lived a good life, no sadness at having had a bad one; nothing at all. I’d even say I was more concerned about my distraught family that the fact that I was dead. I don’t want to be dead. I just started my life, making a lot of money, having a lovely girlfriend. Oh no, Clare!
Clare was the love of my life. We’d been best of friends since I we were 10. We met in our first year of secondary school but we’d only declared our love for each other a few months back.
I tried desperately to get back into my body, take control of the physical again. I hate being helpless. I always want to be in control. I always have.
That was 5 years ago. I’m still dead but I roam the streets. It’s still silence everywhere I go. I can’t hear a thing around me. I see Kayode once in a while. I haven’t obtained a new insight into what I am now. I haven’t seen another of my kind. It just might be a random happening. Or maybe this is what happens to everyone when they die. I really have no idea. I only know a little more about the people I see; how they live their lives. I don’t know how long I will remain the way I am in this quasi-existence. I don’t sleep, I don’t eat, I can’t interact with the physical, I don’t hear sounds, I don’t forget. Yes, I remember everything since I can into this existence. The Existence, that’s what I call it. I don’t think I’m a ghost or am I? Who knows what a ghost feels or what he thinks?
I can read, as long as someone holds the pages open. I go to the library everyday to read. I cant turn the pages of books so I just hover above the books as they read. I know I don’t obey any physical laws. I can go up or go down at will. I don’t walk about; I seem to hover just above the ground. Considering I don’t feel anything; not even the ground below my feet (more like where I imagine my feet to be). I still can’t see myself. I see people but I can’t see myself. The only scientific conjecture I can get from all these is that I don’t have a physical existence thus I can feel or effect anything physical. I am just a ball of energy roaming the earth, carrying the memories of a 25 year old boy from Abeokuta with it.
Sorry I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Jerry, but does it matter? I really don’t exist.
That is how I came into my existence. I take this as an adventure and I’ll tell you my story. I have actually learnt to read lips well. Thus I can decipher what people say as long as they don’t have some strange accent that makes then move their mouths in an unfamiliar fashion.