I was brushing my teeth before going to bed, when I started falling apart.
“Not again” was my first thought. There was a book I was planning to read before bed. Now I’d have to deal with this. It began with a fingernail. The one on my little finger. I noticed because of the pain. Ever had your fingernail ripped out of its bed? Hurts like a motherfucker. I didn’t scream out loud because I didn’t want to wake the cat. Next, logically, my other fingernails should follow, one by one, but it’s pretty daft of me to be looking for order and logic in the coming apart of my body.
So anyway, where were we? Yes, after the nail on my little finger, came the tip of my nose. A nice little chunk cleanly fell off. It was a little less painful than the fingernail, I’ve got to admit. But not by much. I could already see what I was in for. I couldn’t even begin to think of the pain that was sure to come when my internal organs started going. Then there was a moment of blinding pain. I doubled over and waited patiently for it to end. When it did, I reluctantly looked in the mirror to see what else had left me. It was much better than last time. My ears were a little convoluted and some teeth were out. Most of me was still functional. I’d much prefer it if I were to turn into some sort of vermin though. As far as metamorphoses go, Gregor Samsa had it much better.
I left the bathroom, and tried to make my way back to my room, slowed by my eyeballs. They were sort of rolling around, possibly trying to unscrew themselves from the sockets. I barely made it to my room, using the few seconds my eyeballs were in place to see where I was going. Then the whirring stopped. That’s strange. Maybe my eyeballs weren’t quite successful in their escape plan. This did not mean that the rest of my body had given up. In fact, it went about its plan with a renewed vengeance. There was a searing pain inside me. It hit me in flashes. I lay down on my bed, and stared at the glow-in-the-dark stars I’d put up on the ceiling as a child. I really hated them now, but I never removed them. I had absolutely no idea what was coming next. I wish I’d just get some sort of manual, so I could be prepared. Or as close to prepared as I can get.
There are very few things I know about this, and almost nothing that I understand. I know how it generally works. These ‘attacks’, if you want to call them that, come at times when nobody is looking. They stop a little before all of me is gone. Then they start coming together again. It’s a long and tiring process, that I think is trying to teach me something, but I don’t know what. I do know, however that sometimes I’d rather be disassembled and then reassembled till the end of time than go back to normal. It’s a strange thought that occurs to me almost every time, startling me with its honesty. But despite its tediousness, my body usually gives me some surprises each time, so that I can’t really anticipate what comes next. I wonder what it’ll do this time.
If it is in fact just my body doing this, or my mind, or something beyond my understanding; I couldn’t say. My family is pretty much useless when this happens. It’s the same old story of anyone who has strange things happen to them: no one believes you. It was pretty late at night. A brother was probably prowling the internet with his hands down his pants, and my parents snoring away. Their minds preparing for another day of work and ignoring their children.
So I did something I haven’t done before. I called a person I barely know, while my hands were still a part of me. He didn’t pick up. Naturally. As soon as I hung up, my hand left me. Like last time, I thought of The Hand from The Addams’ Family. I wondered if there was anyone else I could call. A laugh escaped from my barely there mouth even before I’d finished that thought. There was no one.
I was pretty disfigured at this point. My body looking like something from a Cubist painting. But more grotesque, less artistic. My body was a cruel parody of itself. So, I just decided to sit still and wait it out. More body parts started to leave me. We were slowly getting to the more painful bits of this whole cycle. The stomach, the oesophagus, etc. Then the surprise I was waiting for came.
I came completely apart.
This had never happened before. All of my organs and all of my body was broken up. Just little disconnected pieces were left. Then where was I? I definitely still had consciousness. I seemed to be floating somewhere up above this all. I could still feel a part of me in all the bits and pieces of my body scattered on my bedroom floor. The lightest shade of me in my parts. A hint at what used to be me. But the sum is greater than its parts. And a greater me was still in and around and everywhere in that room. It felt strange. This new way to be. I was still too dazed to know or begin to comprehend what I was. I felt light and my senses dulled somehow. And now that I actually was disconnected (literally) I felt right. And good. I was completely there and present. I didn’t really know what to do next. The little me-pieces showed no signs of coming back to me. So, I sort of floated out of the window. It made sense somehow, and the window was right there.
I left the apartment building, the neighbourhood, and began to glide above my city; its chaos tamed at night; the hills looming around it. There seemed to be no limits to where I could go. I laughed a real, loud, glorious laugh as the wind assaulted me.
I floated away and away and away, leaving everything behind.
By Tanvi Joshi