The lift brings me slowly from the carpark to the first floor, even so delicately that it feels like it doesn’t want to offend its quiet passengers.
It’s understandable. Each of us is going to get heavily slapped in the face—mainly, or actually entirely, psychologically—in our own kinda way. But still, we are here, and the tern, non-inviting doors open with a squeak.
I do not like crowded places. They make me sweat, they make my heart pump much harder than it is intended to, and I often—not to say always—happen to vomit and pass out (yes, into my own so speedily expelled warm regurgitation) and forget about the whole thing.
But here, I hate it even more. Cemeteries, hospitals, same same. No difference. You might argue that they are crowded too, but at least their clients are of the quiet type…
Anyways. Now it’s time for the mournful walk.
Opposite the elevator is the first floor reception office. The path to the desk is paved with an ugly and reeking carpet from the 80s. Tania, the tall blonde—blouse ALWAYS open down to the third button—and Cathy—perm à la Halle Berry, Chanel number 5, half the bottle—greet me with a slight move of their chins while they’re scrutinizing each other’s nails freshly polished.
I pass by them slowly, without giving a single look. On the left, the corridor is long and cold, metaphorically, and literally. My mom is at the end. I stand firm. The neon lightning on top of my head is sharp but dull, and is unfortunately typical of this kind of places.
I’m moving forward now, and the more I do, the colder it gets.
The cycles of my breath appear in the air in front of me as little blurry clouds. The walls, rough in appearance, turn whiter and whiter. My shoes are sticking to the ground, and each step is followed by a slender sound of ice cracking, while needing more and more energy. The tip of my fingers are loosing their pinky color, and the under of my nails darkens. Within 5 seconds my lips become dry, then chapped, then split, then a pearl of a ruby liquid moves about 1 inch before freezing into place.
I’m at the door now, where my mom resides. Putting my hand on the doorknob is easy, turning it too, but leaving it severs the different layers of my palm, and flaps of skin get engraved in the knob as a sign of my passage to hell.
The inside of the room is now burning hot, and a shockwave of excruciating pain resonates in every single extremities of my limbs. Three steps of torture bring me close to mom’s bed.
Her head is resting on the white, pure, virgin pillow. She is smiling slightly, but her eyes are closed. Her eyelashes have never been so thin. Her skull is shiny. She has the smell of a baby. The veins of her hands are like protruding highways of life.
I tell her I love her. She turns her head, eyelids still down. Her upper lip congeals.
And like this, in less time than I have to realize, like her hair, she’s gone.