Suicide hurts

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic
30 years after my father took his own life, I've written his story through my mind's eye. Supporting positive mental health

Submitted: December 11, 2016

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Submitted: December 11, 2016

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Suicide hurts

He was doing that running thing.  Running like you can only run in your dreams…high up in the sky; faster than Daley Thompson on a good day.

He wakes with a start but doesn’t open his eyes.  He likes the feeling of the darkness and doesn’t want to see daylight.  He likes sensing his heavy frame, cemented to the mattress – reminding him of that familiar, weightless feeling he experienced as a child, astronaut-like without responsibility. 

He no longer tries to stop the questions hijacking his first thoughts of the day.Every morning it is the same.  Questions without answers.  He tries to find answers, rather solutions (as he prefers to think of them), but there are none.  Hopelessness.

What if he had stood up to herWhy hadn’t his son visitedWhat could he do about the shame he feltWho could he tellWho would even listenDid his mother still think about him?

He becomes aware of that familiar, dark, twisted feeling, tied up in his chest.  It had almost become a comfort to him.  He glances at the clock.  It is already 06.43h and without waiting for his 08.00h alarm, he sits up and bangs the clock hard.  He has a lot planned for today and so drags himself out of bed, putting on his Y-fronts that he had thrown on the floor, just before he had stumbled into bed the night before.

In the kitchen, he makes himself a mug of tea; strong with two sugars.  He sits down, stirring it slowly, thinking about her.  She hadn’t come home last night but he knew where she was.  He had seen her car, hidden in its usual place.  Not hidden at all, in fact.  She just never expected him to drive there to look for it.

He had thought about a divorce.He couldn’t remember exactly, the saying his mother used to say.  Hanging your dirty laundry out for all the neighbours to see, or something like that. People in the town knew…everyone knew!  He wouldn’t know how to begin the conversation with her anyway.  He was a proud man.  His mother always liked that about him.  Proud and sensitive.  He could have her.  Good luck to him!

He had two children, well, three really but his eldest son had never had a look-in.  He tries again, as he had every day this week, to remember the actual year he had given him up.  He knew it was at least twenty years ago because it was just before he married her.  His mother had broken her heart.

 ‘You’ll live to regret this’, she had cried.  He’d never seen his mother cry in the way she cried that day.  She was wailing like an injured baboon he’d once seen in a David Attenborough documentary.  Probably significant, he thought in later years, as that baboon, like his mother, had lost her offspring to something hungry and more powerful. 

He is sure the boy had been four years old and a few months.  He hadn’t yet started school.  The knot in his chest makes another heavy twist as he pictures his small son, already without a mother, wearing that grey cotton shirt and red, nylon shorts his own mother had ordered from the catalogue.  He had kept his brown, leather shoes clean for him, shining them up weekly in order to save the expense of buying a new pair.  He kept them clean up until the very day he gave him away.

He finds a pencil on the table and picks it up.  He scribbles some sums down onto the back of her Avon order.  Five thousand and fifteen!  He had missed out on five thousand and fifteen goodnight kisses.  He continued with his calculations, in the little bit of empty space available.  One thousand, eight hundred and twenty-five bedtime stories, or thereabouts!  Arithmetic had always been his forte and today it gave his actions meaning. 

Bedtime stories…Mr. Twiddle was his favourite.  His son would have liked those stories, especially the story about the missing spectacles.  He begins to smile, thinking about the forgetful Mr. Twiddle and his endless blunders.  He is able to escape in his thoughts, for a short while but then remembers that his son never got to meet Mr. Twiddle, nor know what happened to his spectacles.

He drinks his tea and then slowly but carefully, puts three, thick crosses through his sums. He desperately wants to erase the memories, the pain and the guilt he has lived with, for what seems like a lifetime.  He feels old beyond his fifty four years.  His shame is the blackest of holes; locked in and hidden. 

Too soft – he knows he has been too soft.  He should have been stronger, firmer, stood his ground.  He despises his life of regret and knows that he now deserves to be disowned and outcast.  He has let the Devil in. 

The guilt he carries.  It lives deep within him, like a tumour, invisible from the outside but doing its work from within.  Menacingly manipulative, taking a grip.  No longer did he feel justified in casting out a child so small, so innocent and so in need of a father.  He feels an overwhelming urge to put it right, to pay his penance. 

The boy’s mother, had she been alive, would have turned in her grave.  Maybe he could ring his adored mother…she may just help him out.

He enters the dining room and sits by the phone.  He realises that he no longer knows her number.  She had made sure of that. 

His mind wanders and he thinks about his other two children.  A boy and a girl; so very different.  The boy is his youngest; quiet and reserved.  Worshipped by his mother.  It is clear he is her favourite.  The girl is the apple of his eye.  She has never seen eye-to-eye with her mother and has rebelled in every way imaginable.  She has her own daughter now, nearly two.  He is glad she has a girl.  He cannot remember being two!

His girl and his boy have already left home.  He misses them but he knows they had their own paths to tread and their own futures to dream.  He doesn’t want to burden them but he needs to explain.  He wants them to understand.  He picks up the pencil again and begins to search for paper; tidy, new, unblemished paper.  White preferably.  He begins to write.

He plays his situation through in his mind.  He is trapped.  Trapped with her and she knows it.  His first-born, now an adult, has denied him more than once and he doesn’t blame him.  He only blames himself.There is nothing he can think of to make amends.  He is now constricted by the straightjacket, tightly bound around him and he can hardly breathe.  He is tired of thinking.  He feels relieved. 

He remembers it is nearly Christmas.  He had promised to bring the decorations down from the loft and this had helped him make his plan.  He walks over to the drinks cabinet and takes a full bottle of Bell’s from the top shelf.  He had been replacing it for weeks now; empty bottles well-hidden at the bottom of the garden.  He walks up the two flights of stairs until he stands underneath the loft hatch, slightly breathless.  He cannot fail. 

He almost smiles when he remembers he is still wearing only his underpants.  He has to do something about this so he pads back down the stairs, to their bedroom and puts on a T shirt from his bottom drawer.  She irons everything!

Back upstairs, he takes the ladder from the built-in wardrobe and places it under the hatch.  It is just long enough.  He knows this because he has made this judgement many times before. 

With his half-smoked packet of Rothman’s and lighter, he sets the ladder against the loft hatch.  He climbs the seven steps to the top and manages to haul his body inside the attic space.  He wonders if anyone will bring those out-dated, musty old decorations down this year.  Highly unlikely he decides.

The electric cable has been ready for weeks; just in case.  It is just the right length and is more than strong enough for the job planned.  He sits on the edge of the hatch, legs dangling and lights a last cigarette from the packet.  He closes the packet and places the lighter on top of it. He takes off his glasses and positions them squarely on the opposite side of the hatch.He is thinking of his children – all three of them.  He knows they will be happier without him. He knows they will not find him.  He hopes they will forgive him.  He really is so sorry.

He draws deeply on his cigarette and it glows orange.  He feels calm and resigned to his destiny.  His plan will make things better.

He stubs his cigarette out on the loft floor, ensuring it is no longer alight.  He then throws the butt into the darkness of the loft, somewhere behind him.  Then, very carefully, he reaches out of the hatch until he can feel the top of the ladder.  He has rehearsed this so many times before. 

He just about manages to unbalance the ladder by striking it with his hand.  It crashes away and then silences itself, at the bottom of the stairs.  Without feeling, he unscrews the lid from the whisky bottle and drinks great mouthfuls of the fiery liquid, making him feel brave and broken at the same time.

He replaces the lid and arranges the bottle neatly, next to his glasses.  He pulls the electric cable towards him and puts his head through the noose already prepared.  He hopes it will be a clean break of the neck.  He hopes that God will grant him that.

It takes exactly three minutes for the man to position his legs and dangle them out of the hatch; sitting…ready.  There is nothing below to break his fall.  Only the perfectly tied noose around his neck will do that.  He asks God for forgiveness. 

The man allowed his body to drop from the loft space, trusting the noose to do its work.  As he did so, images of his mother, his father and himself as a boy flashed before him.  He saw himself hanging, watching from a distant corner from within the hallway.  Then nothing.  He was dead.

Written by your daughter 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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