The Shopping List, By Paul Mishoe

The darkness that surrounded Peter was complete, as he lay motionless. He sensed something out of sorts. A strange stillness was present in the darkness that blanketed him. He had no sense of feel, just this peculiar state of awareness. “Oh Almighty Father” he screamed, but no sound exited his mouth. He snapped his fingers, or so he thought, but nothing. That was his last attempt at moving his physical body.

He didn’t understand what was happening. His mind was working because he was processing thoughts, but in a strangely different way than before. His thoughts were void of attachment. This all-consuming darkness that shrouded him, left him isolated within his own existence. A lifeless unresponsiveness encased him. He began to think that he had died. Yes, he was certain that he is now dead. This must be life after death!

But this life was not his. This was strangely different. These thoughts he processed were from an external source. It was as if his soul was communicating to him. This hauntingly familiar voiceless messenger that had always been present in his life, is now all that he is. The more he thought, the more confused he became. Nothing made sense. Dark matter was consuming everything. The light that breathed life into him had been extinguished. He has now become one with the source that was within his previous life.

He began to experience a sense of falling, helplessly falling at an incredibly fast speed. Then it’s as if he had fallen asleep, and awoke to a body less buoyancy, suspended in blackness. He is now merely a presence, liken to a thought. He takes up no space. His purpose masked in the darkness that consumed him. Void of life’s energy, absent was his desire to live. Dark stillness encircled him.

Meanwhile Pamela, his wife of fifteen years excitedly applied Pete’s favorite bright red fuchsia colored lipstick in anticipation of his arrival.  She loved how their kisses often sent a tingling down her spine. She was anxiously sitting at the picnic table near the lake, where they had their first date many years ago. She remembers that day like it was yesterday. They carved their initials into the tree limb just above her head as they declared their love for each other. Those interlocking P’s have become their trademark. Goose bumps appeared on her arms as she tenderly rubbed her fingers over them. She felt like the luckiest woman in the world to have him in her life. This is the spot where she said yes, the same spot where she informed him that she was pregnant with their only child. Yes this is their spot. She was consumed with love for him.

Suddenly she was overcome with a dizzying sensation that caused her to fall to the ground.  She felt a ghost hover over her, before it swooped through her body at whirlwind speed. Her pulse became erratic; she began sweating profusely and trembling. An astute awareness overtook her.  She felt his presence. Just as quickly as it came, it vanished. Leaving behind an empty black hole.

When she picked herself up, she raced home in a panicked frenzy. He was never late, she repeatedly thought as she tried without success to remain calm. She called him Prompt Peter because he was five minutes early for everything. She sensed something was horribly wrong.

When she saw his car in the driveway, she felt a numb emotionless stillness within that provided her the strength to enter their home. She found him lifeless on their bed. Lying shirtless on his back, wearing only his tan kaki shorts, his head on her pillow. An empty pill bottle, lid and a pen lay on the floor. There was a note near his left hand. She knew the pain he suffered through had become too much for him to handle. It’s as if she expected him to want to take his life, as a way of releasing his discomfort. She never believed that he would. She expected him to be with her forever. She reluctantly picked up the note before calling the police.  

At his funeral, you could hear a pin drop as Pam read the note she retrieved from Peter’s hand. Those in attendance instantly understood why the peculiar items were on display in front of his casket. Endless tears flowed down the cheeks from all as she informed them how she placed the flashlight in his hand, with the light on, because he was deathly scared of the dark.  The only note he left;

Shopping list:

1 Red Rose

Bottle of Red Wine



White Grapes



Bug Repellent


Anniversary Card

2 D Batteries



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