PTSD

By Sabah Carrim

In night and light and the half-light, a snatch-theft, a robbery and a smashed window. That was two years ago. Now, blood splashed on my windscreen. PTSD.

Boulders on a truck, as I lag behind. Brakes screech. The world rolling onto my car bonnet and burying me alive. PTSD.

Motorbike zooms past and slashes my neck with a parang. Fresh cadaver in the green grass. Blood trickling onto asphalt like water from a hose. PTSD.

Death. The Ultimate End. Not just the proverbial “The End” of movies. Death. The sudden and effortless annihilation of a whole imagination; the evaporation of aspirations, ambitions and dreams.

Death. 298 worlds blown up by an aerial suppository. Death. A departure without an arrival: What was once a white bird now rocking in slow motion on a fiery coral; not far away, a rusty nail
clipper enwrapped in fluttering seaweed, and a Nokia wedged between ugly structures smoothened by the waves of a watery graveyard.

Death. Oil filtered out of rivers and pasted on chapattis. Red dye tinting batik and ice cream. Death. Channels of blood clogged with ghee. Successful heart surgery; but liver failure. Death. Smiling, smiling, and not smiling anymore.

Death. Falling from the topmost floor onto the concourse of a mall. Blood and intestines everywhere. Death. Chest pain.

Death. A presence taken for granted. Husband and Wife. Who will be left behind? Who will face darkness while the other faces…nothing?

Death. Perak Man’s bones in an Archaeological Gallery. Death. What would a dog do? Laughter and horror.

Death. My half-emptied bottle of perfume and my unfinished novel. The last whiffs of me on my pillow; on the scarf tied around my neck; the toilet brush that cleaned my bilious remnants.

Death. Two in one. Boom! Mongolia on the map. Death. Auto-strangulation: A Malaysian reality.

Death. Why should we delay it? Why do we try anything in between? Why do we even bother? Death. Death is lonely.

Oh God! Why?! My chin is broken, my skull is fractured, my leg is lying around me as chunks of meat in red marinade. I have four seconds. I can’t hear my final groan; only the distant rumble of angry birds that came and left like Death. Soon I will stop
 thinking. Me. There won’t be me. That whole big wide world called “Me” that governed the world, ruled a kingdom, that scoffed at smallness, that mocked at stupidity, that jeered at puppets, that … 
Me! Death. Nothing.

Last breaths. I don’t remember living. 70 years: Produced, reproduced, reproducing. Nausea. I don’t understand. Was it a test? Nonsense. You sadist. Chest pain.

Death. I am gone. What?! The damn sun still traces half circles in the sky. The damn birds still sing. The damn wars go on. 50 years remain? No. Six thousand at least. Or maybe more. My circular, all-encompassing, fading presence 
shrinks into a tiny dot. I was nothing. Now I am nothing. The damn world whirls.


Sabah Carrim is the author of two novels: Humeirah and Semi-Apes. She was born in Mauritius and now lives in Malaysia where she teaches law and is the editor of a law  review. She has published fiction, creative non-fiction and academic pieces in a variety of international magazines and journals.

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5 Responses to PTSD

  1. Dr Tim Rackett says:

    Death truncates our being but questions us as to are we truly alive, dare we live before being snuffed out. Super evocative piece Sabah.

  2. U Atreya Sarma says:

    Everyone – except the soldier, the stoic or the suicide bomber – shudders at death, especially if it is not a natural and easy one. But one is delighted with it, in its verbal form if portrayed by a clever and eloquent literary artist. I, for one, am not scared of death, but certainly of the prospect of a gory one, slow torturous death. Sabah’s collage of death in its various images is smartly written, with rich and evocative diction, in a style that is her own and endearing, with a potpourri of cultural nuances dotting her engaging write-up. Thanks to Sabah, I’ve come to know of several new things and new terms here. Sabah, your writing is so lively that it sounds the death knell for death itself! Love you Sabah for your writing skills and vibrant imagination.

  3. Kitty Jarman says:

    Disturbing to the point of “Oh, yeah. That will happen to me someday.” I wonder the same thing sometimes. Why even bother? Interesting slant. Will look into her previous writings.

  4. Kerry White says:

    This is a tough one, a verbal “Final Destination”. I just read it after perusing hours of data on Robin Williams. Though this really is not about taking ones life it is most certainly about losing life. The language is rough with emotion, a minefield of feelings. Is there a moral to the story? Perhaps not for this author unless it is that despair may be the end of the end.

  5. Abhishek says:

    Beautiful and disturbing at the same time. Brilliantly written.

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