The hour of a death

A girl, Ginger Marie Castaneda, suddenly dies. Despite her quick realization of her death, she fails come to terms with the reality of her flaws, which prevents her from moving on from her state of limbo. As a result, she faces a series of surreal and distorted trials that push her to question what she believed about herself and the world around her.

On November 14, many people died. A man in Pakistan was shot in the head. Two women were found dead in a river in Wales.  An infant in Ghana died of malaria. An old man in Hermosillo passed away in his sleep. But, more importantly than the man in Pakistan, or the women in the river, or the child, or the old man: a girl died that day. Of course, so did many other boys and girls; but, to herself, and to the world around her, she was more important than all of them.

Her name was Ginger Marie Castañeda. No one had any idea, any understanding, about how she felt about dying. No one had ever asked her. It didn't seem like a relevant question. She just didn't and couldn't die. Sure, there was that one time she almost fell off the edge of the Grand Canyon, or that other time she tripped at Yosemite and hit her head on a rock. Yet she didn't die then, so why should she start now?

Despite her apparent feelings, despite her detachment from mortality, despite her subconscious unwillingness to admit her biological equality to every other boy and girl that died that day, she lost the most precious item she owned. And she had never even thought that she could lose it at all, or that it even existed in the first place.

When Ginger died, everyone that knew her gained a piece of her. In death, people give their life to those who knew them. When those that know the dead look at the sunset, they remember how much their husband loved the sunset. When they see a pineapple, they think about how their daughter always decorated her piña coladas with rings of canned pineapple on the 4th of July. When they go to the train station, they will give the homeless people their change, because they remember when their grandpa gave homeless people his change. When other people smile they think of when their friend smiled, and when they laugh they think of her laugh. Those that die give those they love tears, depression, and a reason to think about their own mortality.

But Ginger, the poor girl that died that day, unexpectedly and without sure warning from a doctor (as she expected she deserved), somehow gave more of these things than any other person who died that day. Of course, she didn't know this for a fact; but, nonetheless, she anticipated it to be true. So, in accordance with her self worth, the moment after her death she awaited to be humbled by images of more tears, more love, more depression, and more memories from all those bystanders and all those loved ones.

However, despite what she expected from death, she didn't need to think about all the things that she didn't get to experience in her short life, or how people felt about her now that she was dead. Nor did she need to remember everything she had ever done at every instance in her memory. It wasn't relevant at the moment, nor would it be for awhile. Her priority, whether she wanted it to be or not, was comprehending that she was, in fact, very, very dead.

A few moments after she died, she experienced nothing. Then she felt disappointment, which, of course, confused her. She asked herself: what am I supposed to do, now that I'm dead?

She was a little proud of herself at that moment. She thought that she would be in denial, like a ghost, or someone who was just told that they're an alcoholic. But she felt self aware. She was proud of her self awareness, as if she were the only one who was able to be self aware at a moment like this. Then, as the extraordinarily observant person she was, Ginger surveyed her surroundings.

She felt like she was in a room with absolutely no noise. She searched for a heartbeat and the rush of blood through her ears, or the rhythm of her breath and the twitching of her fingers, or the shaking of her leg when she was nervous. She wanted to flip her long hair with the back of her hand, but she couldn't find her hair, or her hand. Then she remembered that she had cut her hair that day.


Then, in her head, or at least what she thought was her head, or at least what used to be her head, she thought some more. In a tangent: I am dead.


She had a very different feeling this time. She wasn't expecting to feel anything, really. She thought that only other people had to deal with the shock of her death. But now, in the room with absolutely no noise, separate from her perfectly manicured body, and without any identity apart from her own thoughts, Ginger felt helpless. She wasn't used to feeling helpless. Everything had gone her way in life, despite a few fights with friends and a C- in her Calculus class. However, now, in the hour of her death, she was no longer in control.

At this moment many radical thoughts unwittingly found their way to the forefront of her mind.  For the first time, Ginger realized that that she might never be in control, or that she might have never had control in the first place. It also crossed her mind that she was once an infant, and that as an infant she was controlled by someone else, and that she had been created by someone else who was also, ultimately, not in control. She also realized that everyone else had also been born, and no one else had control, not absolutely. She realized that she had never been truly hungry, or tired, or hurt. And for the first time, at any point in her conscious mind, she thought that her life was not that much more interesting than any other person's life.

All of these ideas culminated in her head all at once. Despite her self awarded self awareness, she couldn't handle all of these controversial concepts all at once, or perhaps even individually. So, regardless of her importance, an extreme reaction ensued. She immediately, and absolutely, denied all of these things. Nearly without question, and with very little effort, she pushed all of these possibilities and probable truths to the back of her thoughts.

The reason these ideas were so difficult for her to accept boiled down to one truth: she is not, was not, nor never would be, all that important.

The End

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