The bomb killed me instantly. Both Wayne and Erika died with me. The blast completely disintegrated Wayne's house and severely damaged the neighbouring houses.
Based on what Sherwin said, the police believed in the involvement of terrorists. Since Sherwin never knew about Erika, everyone thought only Wayne and me died. Fiona never told the police what I told her, but she unsuccessfully tried to tell Sherwin. Since Erika's presence was only acknowledged in the minds of two people who saw her, and since those two people were dead now, it was as if she never existed in the first place.
No one knew that Wayne was operating a business. Parents paid him money to take care of their children, to raise them up properly so they could be productive members of society. Growing up with Wayne was like growing up in a strict private school that used more advanced discipline tools than the cane. Wayne was not a taxi driver. That was his cover job. He was a millionaire who had already raised two other girls to become powerful executives and professionals. The women Wayne brought up had to give a portion of their salaries to him. After Erika, his third child, Wayne planned to raise one more child and retire. I don't know whether Wayne's death was good or bad. On one hand he made girls better off financially when they grew up. On the other hand, that came at the cost of great pain and suffering during their youth.
My mom and dad were able to take time from their busy schedules to attend my funeral. Watching my funeral from above, I saw schoolfriends, teachers, many strangers, my brother Sherwin, Fiona, and even Jesse. My babysitter flew all the way from France.
There was not a dry eye in the church when everyone saw my small black coffin. They all thought of me. In the emotional atmosphere they thought about how playful and nice I was. When they thought about me, a piece of my identity was lodged in their minds, and suddenly my existence on earth started to have significance. It seems almost worthless doing anything on earth unless other people recognise it. I knew, however, that once many of the churchgoers went home to watch TV, their memories of me would start to fade. My brother, my babysitter, my parents, and my few friends will continue to mourn, but everyone else will move on with time. When those who remember me finally leave the world, their existence on earth will leave only a tiny speck on the timeline of existence. A thousand years from now, no one will be around to recognize that I ever existed.
What if Erika and I survived? Sometimes I wonder what might have happened. We'd get married, have children, grow old, watch our children grow up before they leave the house, and sit back while our love starts to wane. Our skins will wrinkle. Our minds will deteriorate. Over time, our hormones will dry up and our reproductive organs will malfunction. We may even begin to suspect that our love was all an illusion, and like 50 percent of married couples, we might even get a divorce. Time destroys everything. It is only through death that time's destructive power wields no influence.
When time moves forward, flowers wilt, trees die, buildings crumble, and joyful little children turn greedy and sinful. Not even the purity of youth can hold back time. Behind each prostitute and behind each wrinkly old granny is an innocent little girl, a masterpiece of Creation that inevitably faces corruption by the hands of humanity.
Time renders each living man worthless.
Throughout his lifetime, a man can kick, scream, murder, and conquer, but in the end he'll have achieved nothing but the reckless displacement of atoms.
A man may pass his name down through history, but what is a name but an arrangement of letters? It is delusional to believe that an arrangement of letters can come close to matching the complexity of an actual man. Yet men pass their names down through history as if they were passing themselves down through history. Everyone tries to hold on to his identity, to keep a piece of himself in the real world, but in the end time rips his identity from him, and each man dies as an anonymous.
Death doesn't care if you're rich or poor, black or white, boy or girl. Death touches everyone eventually and puts them in the same position as everyone else. God made us die so that everything will be equal in the end, so that even powerful evil warlords will eventually wither away into nothing.
Man becomes more corrupt as he grows older. Death maintains the vital equilibrium between good and evil.
Erika told me that death was beautiful.
She was right.