Someday they will flip off the machine that keeps me alive. For most, a near-death experience lasts only a split second – or as long as it takes for the doctors to defibrillate them. Either their experience becomes permanent – they die – or they come back to life raving about a bright tunnel of ecstatic light.
I have been in a coma for sixty days, seven hours, 24 minutes and 8 seconds, give or take a few tenths. My family has kept watch over my lifeless body the entire time, and I thank them for it. But they should give up – my body has. I will never walk again, even if I do regain consciousness – well, I am conscious, but my body doesn’t betray it. The doctors talk as if I’m not here, while my family pretends that I can hear every word.
They say when someone goes blind, their other senses become more acute. What happens when someone loses all their senses? They have a near-death experience. In only a second or two it can seem like a tunnel of light, but for an extended period, it can be pure ecstasy. I can see through my closed eyes, hear with my non-functioning ears, feel with my disembodied body … and my memories become more acute. I can feel every one of them as if they were happening right now – and the best thing is that I can play them over and over, changing them to suit my fancy.
I am aware of every second; and I even know whether the sun is rising or setting. It is a light, cool evening rain outside right now, and I feel every drop as it explodes on my naked, disembodied skin, at 43 drops per second. Each one caresses me like the tip of a lover’s tongue, first the impact, and then the stream down my body as it obeys gravity, picking up the essence of my salty sweat. It’s a clean summer rain, since the showers earlier in the day have left the air fresh with positive ions.
Between my dead legs is where I can feel it best, as the droplets cling to my pubic hair before beginning their journey southward. I love that journey especially, as I can break down every sensation to the hundredth of a second. It reminds me of Richard for some reason – he was not my first lover, but much more memorable. He was into oral sex, and he loved to explore my bush with his tongue, especially when it was untrimmed. He drooled as he roamed, and it dribbled down my pelvis like reluctant raindrops, clinging to me as to a branch. That’s a real memory, not one I’ve enhanced.
Richard had an amazing tongue, now even more amazing as I savor every millisecond, every twitch of those wondrous muscles, and finally every excretion as I orgasm. Surely you think I should use past tense there, but I orgasm even now as I recall it – not down there in the dead part of me, but in my head, and it is every bit as intense as the local physical sensation was. That sensation is interpreted by the brain, and although the doctors don’t see it in their scans, my brain is in overdrive.
His other appendage, where I bathed him with my saliva, was less effective. It reached deeper into me, but he tried too hard to please me and never relaxed enough to make it pleasurable for both of us. He said he could taste my orgasm; I could certainly taste it later while he tried unsuccessfully to make me pregnant. Maybe he was disappointed that I never tasted his – of course, I tasted his semen during foreplay, but never stuck around for the full flow. That wouldn’t happen until a decade or so and two lovers later, by accident. It was like eating oysters without the wine chaser – too salty by half.
The doctors have just told my family again that I am brain-dead, yet I feel my husband Jeremy’s sweaty palm holding my hand. He’s crying – he’s been doing that a lot lately, and I know why. They are pushing him to give the word. Then the doctors can slice me to bits and parcel my organs out to needy people who still have a chance to live. He’s still holding on to me, unable to let go, sensing perhaps that there is still something happening within my skull.
It’s been too long since we last made love, much too long. I can remember it in my supercharged state, but can he? Can he remember what I felt when he traced my spine with his forefinger? Did he feel me shiver? I can still taste the garlic on his tongue from dinner and hear his desperate breathing. He didn’t do oral – the proper appendage served me just fine. But not him that day. His thoughts were somewhere else, as they often were back then, probably on his job, or his cricket team. His over-active mind was always in the clouds. Now those thoughts are in his hand, where skin meets skin, life meets death. He wishes our last carnal memory was a happier one, and more recent.
Why is it that in my final days all I can think of is sex? I should be thinking of the afterlife, pleading for forgiveness of my sins, and praying for my immortal soul. Instead, I cling to life, because sex is life-giving. Maybe I’ve never had children, but the act of love gives life to the lovers, and that is worth clinging to.
When they do finally pull the plug, I shall draw out every last millisecond in ecstasy, my final act of love.