I didn't want to. But I kind of couldn't avoid it.
I'd love to tell you that I got hit by a car. Or died of leukemia. Or burned to death while saving two children and a three-legged dog from a burning building. But that's not how I died.
I was murdered by a bunch of kids from school. Apparently, I was kind of an asshole when I was alive and it pissed some guys off enough for them to beat me to death with an assortment of gardening tools.
Yeah, I admit to being an asshole...now. It's incredible how much a little thing like death can do to change your perspective on things. I haven't had some dramatic change of heart. I'm still the same guy with the same tendencies, pretty much. I'm just a little more acutely aware of my shortcomings. So I realize how horrible of a person I've been. But that still didn't change the fact that I was dead.
I remember the beating. I remember it in great detail. Mike had the shovel, Quinn had the hoe and Jessie was swinging the rake. There were a lot of unwise, unhelpful words exchanged. There was a lot of violence. There was a lot of pain and a lot of blood. And then there was nothing.
But then I was sitting in what appeared to be a waiting room. It was abnormally large for a waiting room. There must have been more than five hundred seats, all identical, arranged against walls and around the occasional table. Each table was predictably adorned with a dusty assortment of plastic flowers and a pile of magazines.
There were maybe half a dozen other people waiting in the room with me. Most were older. Most looked somewhat confused. The room was absolutely silent except for Elton John's "Your Song" playing softly from the speakers in the ceiling.
It was such a vividly familiar setting (except that I didn't happen to know where I was) that I felt compelled to sit and wait. If I'd woken up in something more like a jail cell, I probably would have freaked out. But I'd been in waiting rooms many times before, so even if I didn't know where I was or what I was there for, I knew what I was supposed to do.
So I waited.