Jana Martin, "I’m Not Quite Finished Yet"

A sick woman leaves this earthly plane.

(from Russian Lover and Other Stories)

If they try to charge me for this I will protest. “I never asked to come here,” I’ll tell them. And this business about letting go is a crock. Here I am sitting here, luckily I can put my feet up on the chair across from me to help the circulation, and I am thinking, I can’t help it, I am wondering, Who is going to do the bills? I had everything organized. I had all the paperwork in blue files. I had notes everywhere, only blue, and they were coded. I was so proud of coming up with that code myself. But I never told anyone what it all meant. And now what?

This one’s sort of disguised as a what-is-heaven’s-bureaucracy-like riff-fest — what’s the real deal with halos and wings? what happens to our old concerns — but really it’s a thinker. Is the woman dead, or just letting her mind wander in an illness-addled haze? And is heaven what you make it? Is it even heaven, or just another minor hassle? Does your mind wander across your own history, nudging you to judge yourself? This story is so gentle and whimsical, I couldn’t help but read it quickly and with a bit of a smile.
You can read it here.

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