Death and sex will always be taboo as a topic of conversation for any family.
But that morning, Roddy heard his siblings talking about the inevitability of death. He didn’t join in the conversation, it’s not that he was scared of death. He almost confronted it a few years ago when he tried to stab his own heart a few days after his girlfriend eloped with a married man. The two had been having an affair under his nose. Roddy continued eavesdropping and learned that his siblings had bought a six-urn niche in a columbarium. They were planning to transfer their parents’ remains there and the rest would be be allotted to them—there would be no wake, no funeral service like they preferred, it would be an immediate cremation and a journey straight to the niche.
It was around four in the afternoon when they reached the columbarium and as Roddy took a peek at the niche, he asked his older brother on whether he could choose an urn for him just in case.
His brother didn’t answer immediately, he saw him sigh before turning to their younger sister . “I think I heard Roddy’s voice,” he said with a somber tone. “He’s probably with us today, taking a peek at the niche.” His older brother then glanced at the empty niche. “What is it they say about people who just died? They will be only aware that they’re already dead nine days after they died.”
Their younger sister smiled, her eyes turning sad. “He probably wants to pick his own urn,” she added, her sad eyes turning misty now.
Then they talked about how they couldn’t understand how Roddy could die die at such an early age. “He was just thirty,” said his older brother, his voice dripping with sorrow. “Oh, God, he shouldn’t have done that.”
Their conversation was interrupted when a man carrying an urn approached them. Roddy’s brother carefully took the urn and said, “Do you think Roddy will like this urn?” He glanced at the ashes inside it before placing it inside the niche.
Roddy, shaken, took a few steps backward, he turned and saw a woman, standing a few meters away from him, looking at him. Roddy knew her, she was a close relative who died a few years ago. She smiled and started walking towards him.
It didn’t take Roddy nine days…