Story

Reverse Metamorphosis

Mrs. Lian was too busy to die.

Edwin would be waiting. Soccer practice must have wrapped up ages ago. She chided herself for not leaving the house an hour early. But the radiator had been giving trouble and she had to hover around the house to ensure the handy man fixed it. And Roller would not eat unless she sat with him, making ridiculous baby voices coaxing him to eat his food and bribing him with a long walk in the park later that evening. Terence had organized a dinner for all the partners at the firm tonight. She had to stop by the dry cleaner’s to collect her outfit. She had spent the whole week agonizing over what outfit to wear. Terence loathed the few extra pounds she had put on in the course of their seventeen year marriage. She took the utmost care to hide the extra weight as shedding it was out of the question. She could not give up her comfort food. Not even for Terence.

Pain shot through every inch of her body. She blocked it out as best as she could. But she was unable to grasp her previous train of thought. She seemed to be slipping from the present into the past. Images flashed in her mind like a poorly put together slide show.

She had graduated from law school. She had wanted to set up her own practice. She had wanted to travel the world. She had wanted to dip her toes in the bioluminescent bays of Viques and watch the water light up as though a million stars had exploded right underneath the surface. She had wanted to watch the orange-hued sky lanterns float across the inky black sky during the Yi Peng festival. She had wanted to write a book. She had wanted…
But somewhere along the way she had become Mrs. Lian. Wants did not matter in a world where she was Mrs Lian. At least her wants didn’t.

It was akin to reverse metamorphosis, if you could term it as such. The butterfly had gone back into the pupa, only for a caterpillar to emerge.
She could see blurred figures clad in shades of grey, blue and white going in and out of her line of sight. A sharp smell of disinfectant had enveloped her surroundings.

But her mind refused to register what was happening. It kept going back. Back to when she was more than just Mrs. Lian. It was like trying to grasp sand. The harder she tried to focus on the current situation, the more she found herself slipping into a melancholic haze of the past.

The back-packing trip across Europe that she never took. The tattoo she never got. The crazy colour she never dyed her hair. The man with the lush accent she never went on a date with. That scuba diving trip with her friends she had never agreed to. All those years of checking off to-do lists, she had forgotten she had had one of her own years ago. She wanted to scream. It was worse than the physical pain coursing through her body.

She had to survive this. She had to survive this for Edwin. For Terence. But mostly for herself. The last thought felt wrong. But was it?

She had been driving to pick up Edwin. She wanted to inform him she would be a tad late by sending him a text. First she had hit the send button. Then a tree.
She had to survive this. She had to fight.But for what? So that she could go back to being Mrs. Lian. She felt the fight going out of her.

Mrs. Lian was too busy to die. Yet she did.