I don’t know why dead people are so often found in the water; it was the same with the missing University worker in York, except the woman’s body found in the Ouse wasn’t her. It was an apparently less significant lady from the Doncaster area, but the whole episode was inevitably agonising for the family and friends of the disappeared library assistant, for whom hope was uncomfortably vanishing.
Despite having some inclination towards Tibetan Buddhism I have grown more into the view that when we die that’s it, unless you’re buried and literally rot away, forming an elaborate human compost in the lonely earth of the graveyard. But we can never really know, and I hate these people who are so certain that any kind of afterlife is a load of nonsense; at least we should keep our minds open – unlike those that are so definite about global warming, or that all fat people should be mercilessly ridiculed.
In our so-called ‘advanced’ societies we try not to talk about death, and even pretend that life can be extended almost indefinitely with the help of medical science. In many other cultures they still retain an awareness that life and death are all part of the same process, and humans should simply make the most of what they have in the here and now. For some this means pure selfish indulgence, forgetting that the most important aspects of our lives cannot be bought at Tesco.
‘It wasn’t the lass from the Uni. then’ I commented, reading the local paper.
‘Not this time’ Jess replied.
‘You don’t hold out much hope then ?’
‘I’d like to believe she’d gone off with some bloke for romantic reasons, but she didn’t seem the type to withhold that kind of information from family and friends.’
‘She appeared to be quite sociable for a library assistant.’
‘What does that mean ?!’
‘She liked going to pubs.’
‘I don’t think libraries are the silent tombs they used to be, and some of the people working there are quite bubbly.’
‘I’ve always preferred buying books.’
‘Not everybody has your wealth.’
‘My inheritance is fast diminishing.’
‘And then what will you do ?’
Jess would ask me this question from time to time, implying that I was nothing more than a lazy, rudderless child; and I would always reply with silence.