Life I Never Lived
Eighty-nine. One year closer to death, one year away from the big nine-oh. Another birthday alone, but that’s alright, I’m used to it. Richard sent a card in the mail, no money in it of course. I knew I raised a cheap ass. You’d think after raising a bastard on your own and giving him everything you could, he’d be kind enough to put a damn dollar in your card.
It’s fine though, I’m alright on my own. There’s no nuisances to get on my damn nerves, besides these nerve-wrecking kids always screaming outside my window. But other than that, being alone is quite peaceful. Who needs anyone? Not me. Shit.
I’ve been living on my own, cooking on my own, washing my ass on my own, taking pills on my own, I can do anything a 20 year old can. Speaking of which, I better fill this prescription before I lay croaking on the ground.
“Dave & Brother’s Pharmacy. Please hold.”
10 minutes later and I’m still on hold. Boy, I tell ya, people can’t run a damn business to save their lives.
“ Hello, how can I help you?” The receptionist asked.
“I’d like to fill a prescription for Atripla for delivery. ” I said.
“ And your name please?”
“ Okay Mrs. Jackson, your prescription should be ready within a few hours. We’ll send it out for delivery as soon as we can.” she said.
I didn’t even feel like correcting her on the “Mrs.” Instead I just hung up. Well now that that’s out the way, I can relax and enjoy my birthday. Watch a little t.v., lay down, maybe even order some Chinese food. The doctor says it’s not good for me, but I’m 89. I gotta die somehow.
Now if only I could find the number. I know I had the menu lying around here somewhere. Maybe in the kitchen?
These steps are becoming more and more of a hassle for me. And this damn cat isn’t helping.
“Move Mittens!” I yelled.
And in that very moment, the damn cat clawed at my foot, leaving me to tumble to the steps. I hit my head pretty hard and began seeing a white light. Then, I saw myself, lying at the bottom of the steps with blood dripping down my head. Wait, how am I out of my own body? I can’t be dead. Or can I?
How can this happen? I’m in complete shock. This can’t be real.
Okay, after 25 minutes of trying to understanding what the hell is happening, there’s no other answer; I’m dead. Lord knows how long it’ ll be until someone finds my body. Who comes to check on me?
And why am I not in heaven? I thought the Bible said “Absent from the body is present with the Lord.” Wait, I have to be buried first. I forgot all about that “dust to dust, ashes to ashes, back in the Earth” mess.
Hours and hours pass, and I continue to watch my lifeless, limp body lie on the floor. Of course the cat is walking all over me. I knew I should’ve got rid of it a long time ago.
After so much silence, I finally hear the doorbell. I went to see who was there, well not “me” but, my ghost or whatever the hell I am right now. It was a man holding a bag. He had on a uniformed shirt, and after struggling so hard to see what it said, I finally knew.
“Dave & Brothers’ Pharmacy.”
He rang the door and even knocked a few times. I tried to answer it, and my arm went right through the door. He left a note on the door, then walked away, and drove off.
Another hour or so passed, when the doorbell rang again. This time, it was Richard. I haven’t seen him in months, so this was a shock. Then again, it is my birthday, so I can’t be too much of shock. He rang the doorbell a while, and began screaming outside my house.
“MA! Open the door!” He exclaimed.
After 15 minutes of trying to ‘wake me up’ to let him in, he left, but came right back. He left to get the spare key to my home. He opened the door, and walked right through me and found my lifeless body.
After 7 hours of lying on the floor, I was finally found. Richard held my cold body, crying and screaming.
“Wake up Ma, please,” He cried. “I need you.”
He called the paramedics and they pronounced me dead at 8:23 p.m. I saw them carry my body out in a body bag.
Days later, it’s finally time for my funeral. I don’t see too many here but I didn’t expect many. I don’t see too many tears shedding either. Richard is shedding a tear here and there, but no one else. His kids are just sitting there on their damn phones. Can’t even show an ounce of respect.
Listening to these remarks about me makes me want to jump out the damn casket and hit everyone. Suddenly, I was such a nice person? Yet I lived my remaining years by myself.
“Now it’s time for the reading of the eulogy.” The Pastor said. “ Richard, if you will.”
Skimming over the eulogy, I froze. Everything about my life was in there. everything.
“ Helen Denise Jackson was born December 5, 1997 to Christina Jackson. Born with HIV, life wasn’t the easiest for her. She was told she wouldn’t live past her early 30‘s but she still managed to live until 89 years old.”
The small crowd clapped and cheered as Richard took a pause in reading.
“ She attended Lakewood High School and graduated in 2016. Then, she headed off to college at Xavier University, where she graduated with her Master’s and Bachelor’s degree. She never married, but did have many relationships through out her life.”
That’s a damn lie. I can only name a handful of relationships. Every man left when he discovered my little secret.
“In 2024, she decided to have an artificial insemination pregnancy where she had her only child, Richard Dwayne Jackson. Man, I was my momma’s baby boy, everyone knew that.” Richard laughed.
No you weren’t. You barely contacted me, Bastard.
Richard focused back on the eulogy.
“ Helen leaves behind one son: Richard, two grand kids: Dana and Tyler, a younger sister; Nyla Jackson, and a host of nieces, nephews, great grandchildren, and other loved ones. She never found love with a man, but she surely found love with the Lord.”
“Hallelujah!” a woman from the front row yelled.
After remarks and all the other bullshit, it’s finally time for the burial. I hear the people chanting the prayer from the Book of Common prayer.
“Dust to dust, ashes to ashes”
When everyone left their flowers on my casket, I saw it being lowered into the ground. This was it. Once I’m buried, I’m going to Heaven- or Hell.
I opened my eyes and in front of me were two large golden gates. There wasn’t an aching bone in my body and all of my wrinkles had vanished. There were angels at the opened gate and I decided to walk through, or at least try, but the angels stopped me by blocking the entrance with their large wings.
“Why can’t I go through?” I asked.
They didn’t responded, but instead pointed behind me, which is where I saw a man.
“Hi. I’m your guardian angel.” He said
“Oh well, hi.” I responded.
“I’m also your biological father.”
My eyes has widened at him. I knew he wasn’t lying because my eyes were just like his. But why was he younger than me?
“I died at 26 if you’re wondering why I’m so young. While you were in the womb, I was killed by a hit man. I didn’t even know your mother was pregnant ‘til I got here , or her name for that matter.” He laughed.
That could only mean one thing. she got pregnant while “working.”
I just stared at him in shock.
“Listen, as of know you aren’t allowed in the gates of Heaven.”
“WHAT?” I screamed. There was no way I was going to Hell.
“Why were you so bitter all of your life? Life is a gift that you misused, and now He doesn’t want you in his kingdom.”
My eyes swelled up with tears hearing this. “Being born with HIV is no joke. I never had real relationships because of it. Guys would always run off once they found out my secret. I had to artificially become pregnant for crying out loud! I wanted the experience to date and find love and be married, and I never had the chance too because of the fucking HIV. That’s why I’m so damn bitter.”
“Well what if i told you you could live your life without the disease?”
“Then I wouldn’t be so bitter as you like to call it.”
“You aren’t getting into the Gates with the attitude and life that you’ve lived so I’ll tell you what. Take this” he said, handing her a capsule. “It’ll reset your life, no disease, no nothing. If you live this life like He intended, then you’ll be invited into the Gates of Heaven.”
I never been so ecstatic. “Thank you!” I cried. I’d finally had the chance to be normal.
“Push Push Push Push!” the doctors screamed.
“One more push Christina, you can do it!”
I felt a gust of air and a bunch of light hit my face, and I instantly began screaming.
“It’s a baby girl!”
I still was screaming.
“I’ll name her Helen” she said . “Helen Denise Jackson.”
And here I am, only a few minutes old, looking forward to a live without HIV.
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