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Near Death Experience At Nap Time

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Near Death Experience At Nap Time

Andrew Ryan

This afternoon I had a nap after a particularly heavy/unhealthy meal, one I wish I hadn’t eaten because it went against my grand plan of not putting shitty food in to my body for at least a week, if not forever. Before this meal I had been watching a documentary on the evolution of mind control in society, as was developed through
behavioural experiments, and while the subject matter was pretty intense, it wasn’t until after the bad food that I started to feel really, really low.

My body craved sleep. It was shutting down. All that lemon water must have been doing something. Or all the preservatives in that shit meal. I don’t know. Didn’t feel good. Was starting to feel sad about other things. It’s been a long week. So much partying. Craving the company and the hands and the mouth of someone I cannot see today, or tomorrow. Lie down. Sleep. Sleep.

Sleep came.

I was in a kitchen with some of the cast of Friends. The kitchen was in a houseboat. A small kitchen. Tiny. They were stuffing garlic in to bread rolls, which were slit down the middle. Diced and crushed garlic, heaps of it, more garlic than I had ever seen. As I watched them, I acknowledged that they were preparing this meal in order to cross over to the other side, because we were all dead. Eating this final meal was what they assumed would be the last step to getting to where we were supposed to go. We didn’t know for sure. It was an instinctive feeling, for them at least. I didn’t know what was going on, outside my own lack of preparation for this event. I had no ingredients of my own.

I sheepishly asked them for garlic, and some bread to put it in. I was ashamed to be without, but I didn’t want to be stuck in this tiny kitchen. I couldn’t imagine them leaving me here alone, I couldn’t fathom what that would be like; I had no other option but to ask. I wanted to keep moving too, wanted to see what happened next. One of them pointed to the shelf behind me. There was a small roll with only a little garlic stuffed in a small slit; the runt. I grabbed it. Thanked them. Ate it. I didn’t taste anything.

Matthew Perry, dressed in naval attire, grey and red, with a group of men dressed the same, on a boat, a dinghy, navigating around a cliff. They passed an opening from which emerged a similar group in a similar vessel, dressed in an older uniform, this one dark blue. They were headed in the same direction, the same place as I. The men were stern-faced in emotional expression. Directionally, they faced the bow.

I entered a room not wanting to interact with anyone- my smartphone was in my hand, ready to be swiped and tapped and stared at. It was a reception area, a waiting room, though it looked like a small diner, with a few booths and square tables. I sat across from a young woman who seemed traumatised, sort of catatonic. I swiped at my smartphone. But, when I looked up for a minute, and saw the distain in the eyes of those surrounding the young woman, particularly the older woman leaning against the counter, I felt indignation rise suddenly from within me. So I moved and sat next to her, put my arm around her, and gently guided her head to my shoulder. I gave her warmth, my physical presence, my heartbeat, and protection. We did not speak. I picked my smartphone up from the table, and mindlessly looked through my Facebook news feed. It was pointless. The young woman nuzzled my neck.

I found myself on a large dock, which seemed like the aboveground walkway of Forest Chase in Perth city, but made of wood and weathered metal poles. People were everywhere. I needed to get to the ocean liner, which was docked just off shore. Everyone was going there, there was a party inside, I could hear the music and see the people jumping around in excitement; that’s where I needed to be to move on. This place I was in was not the last stop. There appeared to be many levels of the inbetween, the interzone, limbo. Or was this purgatory? I needed to get to that ocean liner.

So I followed the crowd along the gangway to where a beautiful woman with dark hair and dark eyes stood, behind a table with stacks of clipboards to her right, and a collection of different sized floatation devices behind; jackets, armbands, buoys, all orange. When it came to my turn, I told her my name, she smiled, and looked through one of the clipboards. She said my name wasn’t there. She said that it’s not uncommon for someone to not have their name on the list- that’s why they have the list- because sometimes people have demo-deaths, something glitches and at some point, without warning, I will be brought back to where I left-off before my little visit. Back to earth. There was nothing that she, or I, or anyone else could do to change it.

I walked back to the dock, the books that had appeared in my arms held close to my chest, my head down, fighting back tears. I squeezed past Paul Kelly, who had his arms wrapped around a pole, shouting at the boat, accusing whoever was in charge of being too popularist. What’s the other option Paul, authoritarianism? I saw his point, but was too sad to discuss it, and found a spot nearby to sit with my legs dangling over the water, letting the tears come out freely. I didn’t want this to be a demo-death. I wanted the real thing. I didn’t want to go back to life, because I was fucking terrible at it. This truly was purgatory, and the torture chosen for me was to send me back to life-on-earth. I felt no resolution to be better at life, only a sadness that I could not continue on the ultimate journey towards the unknown. I liked dream discovery. I liked this sense of floating. I liked that I didn’t have to eat, or drink, or earn money. And I wanted to read these books, forever. The idea of going back made me feel an aching, burning sadness.

When I woke up, I felt like a child. I was crying, hot, itchy, and it felt as if my body was attached to the bed. Thank fuck my brother was cooking dinner, because I probably wouldn’t have eaten anything.