I read an article explaining a rare case of petrifaction, from the Latin Petrus – rock. It referred to me. My muscles are slowly hardening. At first, I thought it was arthritis settling in my joints but as I researched the symptoms I had to face facts: I am turning to stone.
My ex accused me of having a heart of stone. I think now she was just stating a fact. This heart of mine is static and cold. It has no edges on which feelings could get snagged.
I am not speaking in metaphors. The texture of my skin has changed, my appreciation of its colour as well. It is no longer a case for concern to look gray. Gray is beautiful. There is a weight to it which is pleasant to the eye. I’m becoming expressionless as even micromovements are getting frozen, losing momentum and settling into a mask, a caricature of my true self.
I’m putting on weight daily as soft tissue is giving way to hard mass. All water is getting displaced. I am slowly losing motor skills. The pain is bearable. It’s mostly a case of slowing down. I can very well imagine my respiratory system stopping to function, the bellows quieting in time. My minders will find a recumbent life-like figure and will start looking for me. How will I be able to convince them that I am it? In anticipation of such an event, I dressed with care. I wear a tunic in the style of a knight. It is a rare treat to choose exactly how you will be remembered and depicted.
I may have caught a virus on my trip in Amazonia. I veered off-track and came face-to-face with large stone statues. I was strangely mesmerised by them and stayed away from the group for a while. There was a sweet, sickening smell in the air which I ascribed to the lush vegetation. I suffered a mild headache in the evening, some confusion when I awoke in the dead of night. And the most fantastical dreams.
Already I am writing with difficulty. As well, my mouth no longer obeys me, my vocal cords no longer vibrate. My brain is still active, making up in agility and synaptic activity all that I have lost elsewhere. I am curious to know how long I will keep my consciousness.
Will I end up in a fossil museum alongside prehistoric logs?
I dimly hear some sounds. Someone is knocking on me, I think. There are hollow reverberations and hard sounds as well. I am trapped here. I didn’t expect to be conscious. I can feel confusion around me.
– And here we have a recumbent knight. Notice the fine details around the hands holding the sword?
– He is quite tall.
– He is taller than in the old days, it’s true. Will that be a problem?
– No, I suppose not. I was just remarking.
– What did you have in mind for him?
– I am buying him for my husband. Either for our rose garden or the crypt when he passes away. It’s his birthday next month. You do deliver? It’s meant as a surprise.
– I hope he will be pleased.
– What is your return policy?
– Full refund, of course.
She pays and leaves, oblivious to the Missing placards of a youth with a strange resemblance to her new purchase.