The Resurrection of Josepha K.

Andrzej Koraszewski 2014-06-18

Josepha K. was summoned to the Most Supreme Court on a state holiday, Independence Day. Frankly, she wasn't expecting this summons. She was on her way downtown on a tram when she felt a pain in her chest. Initially she tried to ignore it, focusing her attention on election posters, but she staggered, and a woman gave her seat to her. She must have left the tram because she remembered faces bent over her at the tram stop and a man's voice shouting something into his mobile phone, and the pain - dreadful pain in the chest. As she described it later, she died in corridor of the hospital.

"You didn't die, your heart just stopped," her son corrected her, but Josepha K. wouldn't have it. On the contrary, the son's remark made her all the more adamant.

 "Of course I died! According to all medical standards I died very thoroughly. The heart is not beating, the person is not breathing, and you have a corpse, the departed. From the beginning of the world there has been no appeal in such a situation. Unless somebody encountered a benign miracle-worker. We atheists can hardly count on miracle-workers, and the others - even if they do - do it in vain. So I died, my dears, and was resurrected. The hospital priest was upset when I used this word, but he became hugely excited when I said that I saw the Pope. He went quiet, looked at me expectantly, but when I said to him that the Pope was running around shouting 'Damn it, there's nothing here!' he left the room, slamming the door behind him.

"I was a bit ashamed because he was a nice man, but I was irritated by his disdainful attitude towards the people working there. After all, a doctor resurrects somebody and this 'miracle-worker' says that there is nothing to it! For I was resurrected by a very young doctor, a boy really. It was the first time he had resurrected a stiff and he was quite overcome. You know, they have small machines there with the divine spark. That notion that this spark comes from a finger, that's nonsense! They put it to your ribs and then wham! I still have bruises, the sister said that those were burns, but they look like bruises to me. The doctor told me later that he was exasperated because he had a corpse on a stretcher and this portable saviour didn't fire. He banged it with his fist and the second time it worked. He was thrilled when this divine spark hit me because apparently the Hereafter directly lost its appeal to me.

"And it was interesting, I must say - such relief, no pain, warmth, no grief for my beloved motherland. I will tell you about it all because there is much to tell. Learned theoreticians call it a 'near death experience'. What do they mean 'near'? You start getting cold and stiff, and for them it is 'near'. A soul travelling with the speed of light can in this time go for a distance of tens of thousands of kilometers, and how do we know that souls don't travel faster than light? I can't say anything about that because I couldn't make appropriate measurements. I can only tell you about what I remember, and anyway I'm not sure that my memory wasn't modified, either because of lack of oxygen, or because of the shake-up, for I was shaken to the core.

 "At first I didn't remember anything (pour me a drink, Son, if they hadn't resurrected me I wouldn't be drinking anything). The young doctor suddenly appeared to me as if from an election poster. I have to tell you that I remember him fondly. So young, and he could already resurrect people. Interesting, what will he be like when he gets more practice? But later I must have gone to sleep or they gave me something, because I woke up and saw how they were changing the drip, and probably those were not homeopathic remedies, because after such a huge bag of homeopathy, which is usually alcohol-based, you'd at least be tipsy. The priest looked in but I didn't have the strength to talk to him, even if I wanted to ask if voodoo solace was covered by national insurance or if you had to go private for it. Later I did remember that insurance covers solace, which reminded me that I didn't know if it was still Independence Day or election day already. I was curious to know whether the salary of a hospital priest was on a par with that of a consultant or a registrar. But will people tell the truth, and whom to ask? After all a priest won't confess. Later, when I was stronger, I listened to what people were saying. Some prayers are covered by insurance, and for some you have to pay. Prayers to the Virgin of Guadalupe in Portuguese are impossible to be get in Poland, and apparently she is very good for joints. This doctor of mine happened to me because of the holiday, for it was both a holiday and a weekend, so even the senior registrar was not there. Later he was sitting by my bed and holding my hand, as if he were afraid I would depart again. And he was a bit curious to know how it was to be on the other side. I knew that I had to tell him the truth, and I said that only the platypus was created in the image and the likeness of God, and all the rest resembled nothing at all. He laughed but looked around quickly, lest somebody overhear us, because we would both be burned at the stake."