Becky and I got into a fight. Then I died. At least I think I’m dead. A minute or so ago, a sedan swerved onto the sidewalk, smashing into my hip. I heard a squealing, saw a bulging-eyed teenager sitting behind the wheel, and, whack, my head bounced off the concrete. My bones snapped like celery. A bright light appeared.
Now, I’m starring in a Ford commercial.
“Heated seats, antilock brakes,” a disembodied voice says as I cruise down a winding mountain road inside an F-150. “When you get to heaven, let God know Ford sent you.”
Advertising to people no longer bound to the supply and demand of living seems like a waste of money. The #AD-terlife representative who convinced me to install un-skippable ads in my head for a quick buck would probably say otherwise.
So many untapped markets.
The truck drops me off outside Becky’s apartment. I knock. My decomposing synapses have gifted me a redo, a chance to prove to her, my brain’s creation of her at least, that I’m not so—
“Sweaty?” another disembodied voice says as cool gel runs under my armpits. “Scared of what awaits beyond? Try Speed Stick’s new For All Eternity deodorant.”
She answers like before, and like before I follow her inside. We sit on her sofa. Besides the sofa, her apartment is empty. She doesn’t need anything else.
“I love you,” she whispers, her brunette hair outlining her soft features like a picture frame.
Instead of tallying all I couldn’t give her like someone marking days, instead of blaming her and leaving, I want to show her I also believe words can be enough, that us is enough. It took death for me to understand love isn’t give and take. It took death for me to stop commodifying life.
I open my mouth. Foam covers my ears. My lips move, but silence falls out.
“Have regrets?” another disembodied voice says. “Buy Bose’s noise-canceling headphones today and get your mind off passing with your favorite podcasts and music. Listen with clarity.”
I yank off the headphones. Becky waves goodbye. The bright light flashes, blinks into un-skippable darkness. Nothing but: “Listen with clarity, listen with clarity, listen with clarity.”