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It’s hard not to feel small or insignificant when one sits back and ponders the time span of the universe in comparison to their life. In a world that houses 6.6 billion humans it seems that everyone is completely expendable. So what really is the value to a single person’s life? Can it be found in a bank account, the number of friends one has, the good deeds one performs, or what great accomplishments they achieved during their life? Perhaps life has some sort of intrinsic value that we can not comprehend, with our feeble minds. Better yet maybe life has no meaning. At first this statement seems pessimistic and disturbing, but a closer look would reveal something else. It would reveal to us that there is no standard value for life, and the only value is what you give it.



“The sad thing in life is not always death, but what dies in you while you are alive.” Anonymous



The morning after a night of binge drinking and casual sex all was quiet on the second floor in the dormitory where our protagonist, Dave, resided. Dave lay on his sheets awake in the dark, until the sun’s rays shined through his window and it became apparent that he would trudge through another day sleepless. The days seemed to blend together and frankly he had no idea when he had slept last.


He rolled out of bed onto the grimy floor scattered with empty beer cans and food containers. Sifting through all the clutter he located his jeans and t-shirt and began to get dressed. After slipping on his salt stained sneakers he slipped ever so quietly out the door so as not to wake his roommate and the mysterious figure, which slept loudly next to him. The light flooded the room and the fluorescent lighting was unkind to eyes that were accustomed to the dark. Dave’s eyes were reduced to a mere slit as he stumbled down the hallway half hung over and half drunk.


Outside the brisk November air was refreshing and somewhat reoriented Dave’s senses to the world. He reached into his pocket to pull out a crushed pack of Camels and a green liter. After lighting his last cigarette he discarded the empty box and inhaled deeply. Then as he blew the smoke out he watched the wind wisp it away and thought it comparable to how all his dreams and hopes were wisped away by fates cruel hand. He sighed and turned his head to face the east, where the sun was rising, and the memories flooded his mind.


He traveled back to a time a few years ago, where he sat on a white sand beach on the outskirts of Sayulita, Mexico. The smell of the salt water in flared his nostrils as he envisioned the sun’s setting rays dance on the ocean’s crests, and the never ending reddish orange haze of the horizon enveloped a sense of serenity in him. Seconds later the memory disappeared and returned him back to reality, and the cloudless horizon he now faced bared only a dismal gray.


Over the past year or so Dave had lost any perception of color. At first he noticed everything seemed dim, like an old t-shirt that had been washed repeatedly, and as time passed his perception lessened to an old television set that’s bulb was about to burn out. Now all he faced was the seemingly never ending shades of gray. Taking one last drag off his morning cigarette he decided it was time to start the day.
It was Sunday the day he most detested. It was that limbo between the weekend and the week, where no one wanted to do anything, and all that was left was the dreading the coming of Monday and the resuming of classes. Not that class could really be a burden to Dave. How could they be, when he only averaged attending one class each week? Really the only reason he went anyway was to daydream and stare at the various girls in his class that would never speak to him.
All was still silenced when Dave returned to his dorm floor. He ambled towards his room to retrieve his shower supplies. Where he once again saw his roommate resting easily next to the girl sharing his bed, and he had to admit to himself that he was slightly jealous. Dave had to same desires as everyone else he knew to take part in casual sex and other sorts of pleasures of the flesh, but he repressed them. For the most part he repressed every desire, emotion, and impulse that he had. It was all a waste of time and energy anyway. They usually only amounted to getting his hope up only to rebuke any satisfaction. It was easier to be pessimistic and drown all his hopes in alcohol, and growing emotionally numb to the world was painless and carefree; which is precisely what Dave had become numb.
As he walked into the bathroom it seemed too quiet and he almost expected to hear crickets chirping in the background. The sink was covered in old shavings and vomit; some assholes left last night, and spilled forth only freezing water after he turned the handle that shattered the silence with such a high squeal it made Dave’s ears want to bleed. He cupped his hands and splashed the arctic liquid on his face. Then picked up the shaving cream and covered his left palm with the white foam.
Staring in the mirror he spread the foam evenly over his face as he reflected on the hollow stare that was looking him in the face. He stripped the cover off his razor to reveal a shining metallic blade. Still glaring into the mirror at the pathetic image he ran the razor over his neck and face repeatedly making sure to take smooth strokes just like his father taught him, and rinsing the blade clean of the white spotted residue. Finished shaving he cupped his hands, leaned over and rinsed his face clean.
Then he stood up straight to find the hollow image of a man in the mirror mocking him. The face was white as death except for the dark circles around its eyes; but out of the corner of his eye something caught Dave’s interest. A speck of red began to appear on his neck; his eyes focused on it intently and everything else became a blur. Slowly the spot trickled down his throat and began to stain his t-shirt. It appeared evident to Dave that this was a sign of how to relinquish his pain and suffering.
With his right hand trembling he reached to the side of the sink and picked up his razor; then extracted the blade and discarded its casing onto the floor. The blue vein in his left arm appeared to swell with excitement as he stared at it. Clenching the razor blade in between his thumb and forefinger of his right hand he plunged it deep into the flesh of his left wrist. A moment after the blade was plunged beneath the surface the vibrant red covered his hand running over all the crevasses in his skin. Dave slid the blade further and further up his arm inch by inch; until he collapsed to the floor just before reaching his elbow.
Darkness engulfed Dave’s mind, as he lied shivering on the cold floor. Again his mind was flooded with memories from his past. He remembered when his parents dropped him off at the university and his mother kissing him on the cheek saying, “If you ever need anything…” she began to sob, “don’t hesitate to ask.” Then she kissed him on the forehead and disappeared. He remembered driving with his friends to their high school graduation and smoking a massive joint, and the partying that followed that ceremony. Next he envisioned his first love and her smile when he found her a rare book of poetry by her favorite author and gave it to her for a birthday gift. Finally he remembered a day when his mother was at work and he was left home alone with his sister and father. He remembered holding his sister as she shivered and cried; while suffering the torments of the bitter cold December air; after their father kicked them out of the house for the afternoon.
Dave’s last words were witnessed by another second floor resident that didn’t really know Dave, but he never forgot his words. “The saddest thing in life is not death, but what dies in you while you’re alive.” Then all that remained was his shell lying on the bathroom tiles.
For a while life on the second floor was somber. No one really knew Dave or cared that he died they just viewed death as a tragedy, and in the morgue the morticians found Dave’s corpse easy to prepare for his funeral, as no effort was needed to bring a peaceful look on Dave’s face. The frozen ground accepted Dave welcomingly; while kind words were spoken at his funeral.
The weeks passed and turned into months and slowly things went back to the way they used to be. Dave Never left a mark on the world. His remembrance was wisped away like the smoke and his dreams, and his grave remained unkempt and weeds covered his name. It was like he never existed.





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The following comments are for "The Tragedy That Was Dave"
by Nick





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