Prose Header

Passing Away

by João Ventura

A versão original

We had known since childhood what would happen. Quite often we visited the forest, where we took care of those who had passed away before us: we swept the leaves fallen on the ground, removed weeds, picked up the odd dry branch. We knew that under that shape we would live for many years and that our short mobile existence was in fact a kind of pre-life.

And yet it is always a shock when the first symptoms appear: one morning, without warning, our feet start dragging, all movements become slower, and we know the passing-away moment is approaching.

We start walking towards the forest with our friends, and as the effort we put into walking gradually increases, our limbs lose the flexibility of flesh and slowly acquire the stiffness of wood. When we arrive at the place where we will stay, it is a relief to stop.

We firmly plant our feet on the ground, and our friends help us to place our arms in the most comfortable position. We look around for one last time before our eyes stop seeing and a last breath enters our lungs.

We feel roots emerge from our feet and enter the soil, looking for nutrients; the liquid in our arteries slowly becomes sap, solar radiation starts changing our skin cells so that they can perform photosynthesis, and we start receiving subtle greetings from those in the vicinity who passed away before us.

And then sunset comes. We are half asleep as we pass the night, waiting for the new morning. The birds do not come to sleep on our body, because branches have not yet grown on our arms, but that will happen very soon, and we will live a long life...

Copyright © 2007 by João Ventura

Home Page