# 1: – Sam:
Sam looked at himself in the mirror. He pointed at his reflection and said, slowly “This is not me. You are not me.” His reflection followed the movements of his hand and his mouth. After having said it, he felt relieved and like he could finally relax – like he did`nt have to wait for anyone anymore. He felt like his body was a hollow shell, a something that is not his, that could have been anyone`s; a shell where `he´ lived, where `Sam´ was supposed to spend his entire life. “Maybe there`s a monster hidden inside of me” he thought while standing motionless looking at the something in the mirror. Sam wondered whether the something was aware that he, Sam, was looking at it now. The something might be looking back at him. Like looking at the abyss. Then he realised that for it to be aware of that, there would have to be an actual entity inside of him, making the shell un-hollow again. Sam shuddered at the thought.
“Does he want to escape or does he want to stay inside me?” he wondered. He thought his body was probably a good place to live in, and that if he had had the opportunity, probably would want to live there himself.
He went to bed again and closed his eyes. His body felt detached from him, like it was situated far away from his head. He would wiggle his toe and think “This toe is not part of my body. My body is too far away from me for it to belong to me”. The longer he thought about it, the further away the rest of his body felt. Before he fell asleep, he thought maybe he should give the something a name, instead of just `the something´. Several names went through his head, but he was unable to find a suitable one. Then he fell asleep.
Sam was dreaming. He was outside, in a low forest ravine, surrounded by stones and trees and fog. This was a place where time and space didn`t exist. He looked around and was surprised at what he saw. He saw his reflection, the something that had been staring back at him from the mirror before he went to bed, sitting alone at a table, eating. Sam wanted to walk over to him and talk to it, but he was unable to move; he could only move his head. In a corner he saw a little girl who was jumping rope. Sam saw her jumping in slow motion. With each stroke she would count “one” aloud over and over. And with each stroke, time would go slower and slower, the rope taking longer and longer to complete one arch over her. She finally stopped altogether and suddenly collapsed on the forest ground. A man dressed as a clown appeared from out of the fog, picked up the little girl and disappeared again into the fog. Sam could hear someone clapping from behind where he stood.
When he woke up he went to the mirror in the bathroom again and said aloud “Is the monster `me´ or is he someone else?” and then he said “I feel alone” to the emptiness that surrounded him. “I am happy.”
Then he ate breakfast.
– – – – – –
# 2 – Little Scotty:
It was around the time that Rachel was training for her first marathon that Little Scotty just could`nt take it anymore: he had died, only three years old, after having spent half his life in a coma. It was March 28th. The marathon was August 2nd.
Rachel was devastated but also not surprised. She had heard the news from Jen. Jen was her best friend, they had know each other “since forever”. Jen was Little Scotty`s aunt. “He will be cremated.” Jen said. “It is what he would have wanted.” “Why do you say that?” Rachel asked. “I.. just know.” Jen answered. Little Scotty died when he was three, and had spent half his life in a coma. He was barely able to speak when he first came in a coma, how is Jen able to know “what he would have wanted”, Rachel asked herself. But it didnt`matter. Never did it matter.
Being his aunt, Jen now was the one responsible for Little Scotty`s after-death care. Jen was his mother`s sister and by default also his closest relative. Both of Little Scotty`s parents had died; his father died in a car crash the day after he had gotten his mother pregnant, and his mother had died giving childbirth. The doctors could not explain how it happened, or how it was possible in this day and age. They could only briefly share Jen`s despair, give her a pat on the shoulder, a hug.
“He deserves a proper funeral. Everyone who knew him should be there.” “But Jen, that`s like … five people..” “He deserves it.” Jen repeated. “You, me, the doctors and the nurses. That`s seven. The funeral will be held a week from now. A week and a half. Here, in the hospital. That`s best for everyone. Cheapest. Closest. Everyone knows where it is.” Rachel nodded.
The next day Rachel went for a run. She tried to run four or five times a week. Today she thought she`d run 12 – 15 kilometers, and tomorrrow she wanted to try to run the distance of a half-marathon. Rachel wanted to try to run the distance of a full marathon at least once before the actual marathon. She was a firm believer that the actual marathon should not be the first time anyone ever actually`d run a marathon. While she ran she listened to music; Iron Maiden. She had listened to the band “since forever”; she had practically grown up listening to them. Song: “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”, oddly fitting to her current activity. Jen didn`t listen to them. She was more into soft rock etc. Which was fine with Rachel. She, too, occasionally enjoyed listening to that kind of music. But Rachel was more into the fast, and the brutal. Iron Maiden was only the beginning; the more brutal (brutal-er?) the music, the better. As much as she loved them, compared to the other stuff she sometimes listened to, she had to admit Maiden was “soft”. But it wasn`t about being brutal. She couldn`t care less what people thought of her, who she was, or what she listened to. It was about the way it made her feel, and about how she was able to “just let go” when listening to music. People often complained that they could never hear what the bands Rachel enjoyed, were singing about. Rachel could never understand why that was a problem. What`s the big deal about always being able to hear what they sing she thought. If they actually could hear what they were singing, people would probably change their minds anyway. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Besides, it`s not about the lyrics, you know. It`s about the brutality, and the being able to letting go of whatever anger or sadness or whatever you might have bottled up inside on some days, just letting it all go through the loudness and the screaming and the running she thought as her pace unconsciously fastened while hearing Bruce singing. (ruuuuuuuuun on aaand oooon, ruuuuuuuuun on aaand ooooon THE LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONELIIIIIIIIIIIIINEEEEEEEES OF THE LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISTANCE RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNEEER)
Rachel did not think about Little Scotty even once during the following week.
April 13th, the day of the funeral, one week after Little Scotty died, came and went. It was a Friday. Everyone Little Scotty had known had been there. Everything was as Jen had wanted it to be. After the ceremony, the body was driven to the crematory. Rachel was one of the people carrying the coffin to the car. It was a weird feeling. The coffin was very small, and very light.
Jen lived with Rachel for a little while after the ceremony. It was a way for her to recuperate. “I didn`t know him for long,” Jen started “but he sure made an impact on our lifes”. Rachel was thinking that the only way Little Scotty had made an impact on Jen`s life, was a negative one. She had always needed to be around in case something should happen to him. This affected her work life and her social life. Rachel kept telling her that if she ever needed any help with anything, she would be there for her. But Jen had never asked for help. Although Rachel could tell she wanted to. But Rachel didn`t want to intrude, either. In the days after the funeral, while she was living with Rachel, there was no doubt that Jen was relieved of not having to keep thinking about Little Scotty. It was as if a giant weight had been lifted off her shoulders. But she never said anything about it. Rachel thought Jen felt bad for being relieved about his death. “There was nothing more you could have done, Jen” she would say. “You did everything you could”. Jen agreed to this. She would say things like “Yes, I know.” and “Thanks, Rachel.” “He was in a coma for all his life. It`s sad, but it`s also kinda good. Remember what the doctors kept saying; `if he was not in a coma, he would have been in a severe painful state´, remember?” Jen remembered, and it gave her some sort of closure. At least he didn`t suffer, she would say.
During the weeks she lived with Rachel, they would get drunk together, and watch old, cheesy horror films. They laughed and, Rachel thought, had a great time together despite the circumstances. “It`s what needs to be done” they would tell each other, then laugh. They would order pizza and eat half of it, then order a new one and eat half of that one, too. They would bring the rest of the pizzas to homeless people on the street, and they would smile and thank them profoundly. Then they would repeat the process. Somedays they ordered chinese or indian food, and would eat everything themself.
One night, after Jen had fallen asleep during an extremely boring movie, Rachel decided to go for a run. She didn`t listen to any music this time. Sometimes Rachel, too, enjoyed silence. She ran the complete length of an actual marathon. She never felt more ready in her life.