Sometime in January before her Berlinale adventures, Nadira stayed over. Our bedtime activities: singing old patriotic songs, pathetic plastic-fishing, talking death. She bought me offerings of cat chocolate and an Elmo balloon. The former disappeared too fast (much to my horror) and the latter still has yet to deflate (also horror). Two big memories from that night: turning magnet fish into a flag by singing patriotic songs while reeling it up, and her interviewing me about my first encounter with death.
Incidentally, I saw one shortly after that night. A dead terrapin. I was at a pet shop, staring at the baby floater so soon after that I remember thinking Really, really? to no one in particular. Then I raised my phone for a picture.
Really, really? went the silent burn of the employees’ eyes. They were playing laser-gazing with my left scapula. It’s for my personal collection, was what I turned to say. (I see your silence, and I raise you Awkward Silence). I remembered to check if the photo I took was blurry before leaving, which is fine, but now that I think about it I should have bought cat food.
Terrapins as slow as death
“My first impression of death was… when my fish stopped swimming. That wasn’t so bad but then I got a terrapin and eventually it stopped swimming too.
When my first terrapin died, I’m pretty sure I was a wreck.
Terrapins look sadder than fish when they die. Mine looked like they were sleeping and didn’t want to wake up because they were too old. The truth I’m sure is that I was too young and sucked at taking care of them. So I guess my first experience with death was as a murderer.
The truth always comes in the form of something twisted. Something raw. Purity is a thing of the past. Purity never lasts.”