Letters for the Living, Words for the Dead

I lay on the floor in the darkness, breathing quietly. Up above, the white ceiling of my bedroom stares back at me. It’s almost midnight, and I’m alone. Like always.

I close my eyes for a moment, listening to the silence of the night. Something is wrong, but I can’t tell what. Maybe it’s just in my head. I smile to myself, thinking, here we go again.

It might seem strange, but I really like turning off all the lights and just laying on the floor sometimes. I can see and hear pretty well at night, and I love how peaceful the world feels when most humans have gone to sleep. I know that it’s just an illusion, of course – people are still dying, people are still killing each other, the earth is still on fire. But at night it’s easier to pretend that things aren’t so bad.

It’s also easier to talk to the dead.

Sometimes when I’m on my back gazing up at the ceiling, old friends will visit me. They’ll say, what are you doing, Haku? And I’ll say, looking at the ceiling. Then they’ll go, oh, okay, and they’ll lie down next to me and look at the ceiling, too.

What’s that? You think it’s strange to look at your ceiling? Well, I don’t think it’s that strange. Have you ever actually looked at your ceiling? If you haven’t, who are you to tell me it’s a strange thing to do? Ceilings and roofs are so important, really. You should look at your ceiling more, and learn to appreciate it. For instance, when it’s raining, look up and say thank you for once. Don’t take these things for granted.

Hey, who are you, anyway? And why am I talking to you?

Oh… you must be another spirit, come to visit me. Well, thank you for visiting me. It gets lonely otherwise.

What’s that? You just died recently? I’m sorry to hear it. I hope you didn’t suffer too much. More than that, I hope you were ready to die. So many people these days just aren’t ready to die when their time comes… it’s sad. Don’t you think people should talk about death more often? Things like, when I die, I want you to take care of my children for me. Or, when I die, I want you to remember to be happy.

Did you think about these things, before you died? Did you think about your loved ones and what you were leaving behind for them?

I did.

I wrote secret letters for my loved ones and hid them away. I told a friend about them, and when I died, she went and found them and delivered them for me. In the letters I wrote about all of our good and bad memories together, and then I said things like I want you to remember to be happy and don’t you dare follow me. And then I wrote about how much I loved them.

What’s that? You think writing these letters was a silly thing to do? Well, listen. Don’t you think the words we leave behind are important? Words are like magic. All by themselves, they can save lives, or end them. There’s so much power behind that… it’s kind of scary. I’m sorry that you don’t feel the same way.

Well, it’s okay. Everybody is different, I guess. Anyway, as long as you’re happy where you are, I’m happy for you.

What’s that?

You’re not happy?

Hmm… why not?

Because you’re dead?

I see. That’s unfortunate. Most humans don’t live with their death in mind, so they end up unhappy when they die. Personally, I think you should live in such a way that you’ll definitely be happy when you die. But I guess it’s too late for that…

Or is it?

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