Humanity

Humanity


by Alira L Cohen

I’m afraid of Death. Frequently, I used to think about it. When I was at school and on my pill,
obsessively I pictured a monster following me, though I know I could’ve helped it. I had this
idea…. a twisted muscular thing, a hell hound of sorts with a crown of thorns sticking up from
his skull. He carried a scythe that rose high above his head, and he drove a polished black car.
That was just last year, and it was fantastical, macabre, and childish. But now that time is peeling
away, and I can’t seem to feel it anymore, I realize that it always used to give me closure to
pretend. Some people like to ask, “What does Death look like to you?,” and before I was stuck at
home attending my classes over a computer screen while simultaneously fearing for the fate of
everyone I know, I used to believe that Death truly did wear the face of a monster. Now,
however, I understand the horrifying reality; I understand that Death has no face, and it carries
no shadow, so you can’t see it approaching from behind you. It doesn’t have a voice to whisper
an ominous warning, and it doesn’t carry out its deeds with sick pleasure…rather it carries them
out with cold detachment. I still haven’t fully come to terms with the fact that Death is now
reaching for so many at once. I believe that this is the case with many people these days. But
when I picture it reaching for familiar faces, most of whom I wasn’t able to give a proper
goodbye when I last saw them in person, my very being crawls with a terror that used to be
foreign to me. Humanity is precious and breakable, but the horror of it is, we’ve convinced
ourselves that we are solid titanium structures, that nothing can happen to us. The trembling
fragility of the human shell speaks into my bones and into my blood, and I feel as though, for the
first time, I have become one with its pain. There is some kind of light under the body that is
the invisible silhouette of Death; I never took the time to acknowledge that light when it wasn’t
being suffocated. But in these moments I crawl to it, crawl to it with the rest of my species, as we
all just strain to celebrate life while we still can. Humanity will suffer, humanity will hurt,
humanity will endure, and humanity will prevail. We are not just fleas to be shaken off. We will
prevail.

 

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