She held it to her wrist knowing she would not use it, but incensed by the knowledge that one day she would. Its beguiling face would draw a sinister smile across her skin. She playfully stroked it across the wrist in a moribund swinging fancy, deliberating on some noises from the apartment next door. Their inconsequentiality to the moment, like notes dancing on dilapidated lines, leading to nothing, sharpened her cynicism and juxtaposed their feeble musings to the matter at hand. She was outside herself, looking in. Pale bloated skin looked flaccid on a coach. Her mind’s eye was critical, but only a spectator to the machinations at hand.
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Drunken pleasure dragged a slow dim smile across her face as the shine gleamed off the metal edge, caught only by the corresponding glimmer of the metal goblet. A haunting procession of moments leading up to this passed quickly through her mind, sublimating emotions to a peak extenuated by the blurring alcohol. The blurring was a blending of past into the current mess she saw, or at least perceived. Its reckoning was a composite of disparaged moments, clamouring now for attention, screaming for acknowledgement. These vignettes, bound by tender thread from moment to moment, insubstantiated themselves at a failed end. Of this failed end she was keenly aware.
The curvature of circumstance and decision, blurred at the crossroads, denied to her the basic tenets of responsibility and brought to her attention a flurry of malcontent lashings towards those around her. Fearing the descent into sobriety, she took another drink. The wine warmed her disgust. The cross thatch from the window weighed its shadow on her body like a threatening crucifix. She saw this darkness bear its weight on her hands and groggily she moved to the other end of the room; this helped her avoid present circumstance, as though it was defined by the 10 feet she decidedly stammered in motion.
Where did she begin? She never asked herself as every moment was its own beginning. She didn’t see a beginning now, only a desperate now. The desperate only see the now. Live for the moment, is only the rallying cry of those who can bear the moment they are in.
Courage. It eluded her from both ends. She punished herself, looked again at a photo left for her suffering, her bemusement. She looked again to the metal, its blurred upside down visage. Her mind’s eye betrayed him to the metal and his form cast a shadow against the lamp, in turn casting a lie upon the floor.
She asked herself, would she flinch? Would she stop, leaving the work half done? Perhaps not, perhaps this would be the only act of conviction in her adult life, the only legacy passed on. She anticipated and nothing more. All anticipation is impotent; anticipation is the waiting on a moment that owes you nothing.
you want to climb the ladder
you want to see forever
you want to go out Friday
and you want to go forever.
Another glass of wine; she would miss this.
She pictured her alligators.
Relentlessly she pursued the course only to pull back at the last moment. Realizing she had been staring at the wine, she looked up, scanned the walls reproachfully and then rested her laden view on the books. The collection she was so proud of had failed her. She had read all the right books, considered herself an impassioned soul. An impassioned soul was the word she had written in her journal. She knew at this moment that she could read all the books in the world and be no better off. She had thought the volumes read would offer her an emotive stance, they did not.
She started pulling the books off the shelf, a macabre bibliography of justification. Kafka, Maugham, Thomas, Layton; not Plath, she was too dark, disturbing. She stopped at one by Knister; it had been to her the escape within the escape last summer. She dragged her index finger across the spines.
The phone rang in the distance, interrupting like a ripple interrupts the lake. It rang from the back of her mind, slowly working its way to her attention, an unwelcome noise, a vehement noise, persistence, and then nothing.
Light above; dimmer, round.
She thought again of him, not as a person but as a foreboding sky over an expected day. He covered the moment, touching everything, leaving nothing unscathed. She wanted to write her thoughts down but couldn’t.
She thought the phone rang again, she wasn’t sure. Did someone suspect? Was there some clue?
In her journal she wrote “To feel apart, to lose cohesiveness, to lose everything from the ground up, to see the separating spectrum, its colours unfolding like a melting prism, bleeding its raison d’etre.” Tomorrow she would not remember writing this.
This was Friday. Saturday came like the juggernaut.
She woke to darkness. She felt thirsty. The heavy curtains were closed, effectively blockading her bedroom from any referential signs of the outside world. She didn’t remember going to bed. Slowly she raised herself off the bed and walked to the living room. The apartment smelled like old wine.
She saw three glasses on the coffee table; two were half state, and one was empty. She could smell them from across the room. There was a small wine stain on the carpet. She licked her finger and tried to wipe the stain clean, fretting over it. She caught herself worrying about having a stain on the carpet; the irony, not being lost on her, caused her a small smile. She abandoned the stain to retrieve the glasses in hopes that soaking them would eliminate the pungent odour. She noticed fingerprints all over the television screen and photos lying on the floor.
Later she told herself, later.
She felt a burning sensation in her nostrils when she inhaled and smelled the rancid stench of alcohol coming from within her. Entering the washroom she realized that her nose was bleeding and stepped quickly to the sink. She let the drops fall, a bemusing dress rehearsal she thought. She shoved some tissue into her nostril and sat at the toilet. Her urine was dark and had a horrible stench. She got up, not flushing and went to the kitchen to get some water. She felt some urine run down her leg. She took a glass from the counter and filled it from the tap, spraying her hands in the process. She gulped the water down and ran immediately back to the washroom to vomit.
She didn’t know how long she had lain on the floor of the washroom. She was curled up on the bathmat, alternating between crying and residing in the half sleep world that holds us tether to reality. The crying felt good; it was the first release she had had in a while. She felt her own weight on herself – a burden, like an external force; she was her shadow.
The dull headache that had visited her before had subsided somewhat and promoted in her the idea to clean up.
She flushed the toilet and wrapped the bath mat up to clean it later. As she threw it in the tub, she caught a scent of her vomit and purged again, then ran the shower.
Again she lay still for a while waiting for the sobs to subside; she groaned, raised herself to the sink to rinse her mouth and left the washroom. The living room accosted her with the fury of a new space yet to conquer.
She picked up a paper from the carpet and in doing so her head rocked slowly with the wayward balance of a sinking ship; it was a page torn from a notepad. She didn’t remember writing it: “I am the wind; I am not here for me, for anyone. If you see me, I am merely a shadow of something resembling what you once thought you saw, only less so.” To the writer, finding a note one doesn’t remember writing is like meeting a relative you never knew you had, seeing your eyes in theirs. It was an ominous feeling reading her own suicide note – as though she was someone else finding the note and the body as well. She pictured her body, creased like cloth, bent over the edges of the contorted room, absorbing every corner like circumstance. She thought about the paleness of her skin, its folds, its imperfections, mostly its weight upon her.
She looked at the closet mirrored door and barely recognized herself. Dark pockets under her eyes, she looked old. Sprinkled red dots, above her eyes from vomiting, attested to the night before. Her skin looked tight, dry; her cheeks were red. Dark purple crusty lips looked in quivering defeat upon the mirror.
Her body’s need to nourish itself resounded louder than her need to end her life.
Food serves many functions; hunger is just one. She needed comfort. – needed more. The thought hit her like a riptide. Bread was good, fast – it eased the acid in her stomach. It displaced the moment; the moment was acid, the moment was discomfort. All moments come to an end. All moments are alleviated.
She looked through her papers again, a collection of photos and letters. She needed the moment to feel intense; she was feeding off herself, cannibalizing her emotions, allowing one pain to be the analgesic for another. Photos, always photos she thought. She had started to put the photos together again; they were strewn on the living room floor of the apartment.
Distraction breaks the sinews of the imposition of circumstance; it allows a moment of recollection, of relocation. She thought to look at the call display – nothing. This was what she wanted, this weekend was planned and she would destroy herself in a multitude of ways.
She had cleaned the room, dutifully, methodically, and apparently oblivious to the matter at hand; this matter, it held a sardonic expression to her actions like motive betraying reason. The journal was left out, documentation of the event was almost as important as the event itself. The event lives only through moments remembered; to forget a moment is to kill oneself in proportion to that moment. Her suicide would erase all these moments. This is what she wanted.
The room’s hard geometry housed this tender creature. She opened a bottle of wine, and the red escaped into her goblet like the last light from a sepulchre. Her stomach burned with the taste and she thought to eat whatever was at hand. She thought she should be crying and was surprised she could not do so.
What does one do now, sitting in a room destroying yourself until you get the courage to do it right? Does one watch television, read, make notes for posterity? Does one clean and play house so as to leave a respectable crypt of one’s abandon? Will the paramedics notice the wine stain on the rug?
She stumbled an awkward imbalance and descended to the couch like a circumstance to fate.
I feel so little – the burn, the sensations self inflicted only, and while they remind me of some living memory, they are internal only – the outside being now closed.
Teasing her still unspilled glass to the horizontal, she smiled a smile of satisfaction and took the last sip. She kicked some books that laid by the couch. The world was a blurry mess now through the now glass goblet, covered with oily careless fingerprints.
She reviewed the repertoire of methods. The tool had been left on the floor by the couch. She looked to catch its icy glare from the lamplight. She needed to define a moment like one demands meaning from a blank page. It would be defined with the parameters of stern decisions, of resolve. She could only think of it as “the task at hand”. The other word was unsavoury, unpalatable.
She checks if there is enough wine left. Does one end everything with a cab or merlot? For humour, she looks to the bottle, it is a pinot noir. She drinks. Sprawled across the couch with drink swaying in hand and tear in eye she stares the wall down in the relentless pursuit of meaning for a weekend that affords her nothing and owes her less. She is seen crying by the walls, the chair in the corner, the floor. She does not see this – the palliative despair of her surroundings, comforting as they attempt to be – go unrecognized. She longs for something other than this. Nothing comes. The despair rises like water above her comfort, the light fading in the rising profundity. She stares at nothing while her mind cries; overflow, her eyes water.
She is drunk.
Do it. Do it now. Once the wine is gone from us we will change our mind.
A lineage of words repeated with less scrutiny in each iteration become mantra. Darkness is the gift bearer that always provides on exit.