Hope in a Dead Man

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A piece I had to write for English Coursework.

Submitted: January 27, 2008

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Submitted: January 27, 2008

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I laugh as the sweat from my hand drowns the gun I’m lugging to and fro around my apartment and the red felt tip marker I plotted on my temple gets itchy; a small aiming target I drew just in case I forgot where to aim. I can barely hear myself think from the ferocious roars of traffic through the shattered windows and wrecked doors of this once welcoming flat that now stands decrepit and dilapidated, unfit to even be called a home.

Although the past weeks have been excruciatingly unbearable, my repugnant ex-boss, the most idiotic man in the world, whining about his burgled mansion feels insignificant if juxtaposed to my woe. 

Knowing that trying to put roadblocks in my mind to stop me thinking how I got here won’t help, so I try my best to restrain myself from starting the fireworks too early. Past my eyes and skull my memory’s already venturing back to a scene in my life that still seems foreign and alien to me, yet I always remember it the same. 

Connotations in my head lead me to that unfamiliar diminutive café that I sat in with Emily, her hair still faultless and unchanged, staring across the table at me as she yawns. Our plates were empty and silent like our tongues as we looked around the closet of a room for something to take us away. Remembering the cold hit me every time the rusty cherry red door creaked half open to let another person wrestle their way through the already swarming café still makes me flinch. My fingers had gone numb and a disturbing washed-out colour and my nose seemed to dribble endlessly just to aggravate me. 

Through the hordes of ghostly pale faces and infuriatingly loud moans of the zombie-crowd, the stench of body odour and poorly cooked food wafted through to Emily and me. I looked at her and saw her tired empty eyes gazing over the monotonous flocks of people. Her boredom is apparent to me now as it was those three months ago when we sat at that unstable rickety table. “The foods all right, though,” I lied, trying to merit a response. 

“Mmmm…” she mumbled. I could tell something was on her mind, something more than the clumsy silence between us and the echoes of laughter breaching out ears about the ephemeral transitory couple with nothing to say. “John,” she started, clamping her eyelids shut. “We have to talk…” And so followed a pre-rehearsed speech swamped with words I didn’t quite understand and phrases that aren’t quite true. She was always smarter than me. 

“I can change,” littered the air. There was me begging for another chance at paradise with my one love. If only I wasn’t so pathetic. 

“I’m sorry,” she had said, concluding with an apology before rushing to be rid of my presence. “I can’t do this anymore,” were the last words I remember exiting her lips and flooding my ears. 

My constant tears had sealed my worn-to-shreds pillow to my face. Adhering my semi-lifeless corpse inside my insipidly life-draining flat lets more incessant sweat leak from my paper white flesh as I wonder what I’m waiting for before I change my wallpaper design to brain and skull. I’m still asking myself if I think my landlady knows how to get puddles of blood out of carpet. 

Suddenly panic frisks itself over me. Fragmented fractions of my reminiscence find that I don’t remember if this frigid block of metal I’m holding on to has a single bullet in it. I know I went to the store and bought some. I know I did. But are they in the gun? 

My mind disregards this for a second as I go back again to a time I wish was more nostalgic. Things had gotten better. I managed to scrounge a week or so off work to mourn the relationship. As more time passed, second by second, it was harder for me to get back to my lamentably dismal desk job. Another week had gone before I decided to try a day of something productive. 

Recalling what day it was is tough, but I imagine I went in on a Thursday. Thursday’s always seem to breed grief and hours of constant wretchedness. Over the soaring skyscrapers, through the surging crowds of homeless pleading for spare change, inside the faceless corporation building that overshadows the small-time businesses and struggling restaurants like a child waiting to squash an ant hill, there was me taking my first day back after two weeks of self-pitying desperation. It was too short a time before my boss barged in, howling over the stolen objects in his ridiculously huge mansion that were given to him by the overly-fortunate people of wherever. A few cocky comments from me later and I was out of a job too. I always hated that guy. 

My rage tore out of me until it pushed my fists through my windows and got my legs swinging at the front door. And what did I find nestled in the carpet? An envelope from Emily on the glass covered floor beneath the door. My fingers wrapped themselves along the edges of the letter, clutching it so hard I’m almost surprised it didn’t rip apart. It was an apology that had come far too late with an untrue “I’ll always love you,” at the end with a couple of x’s. There was the final break up letter. She had officially split up with me. A few days on and I find that she’s had an abortion. She’d had our unborn child forced out of her and disposed of like it was never there. My tears escaped from my quivering eyelids for the blissful woman I grew to love so much and the child that I could have loved. 

That was a week ago. This is now. The roads in my memory all seem to lead to a trail of tears down my cheek. Sometime I wish that I had never met her so that my pain would disappear, but then the years of pleasure would be swept away from me. 

I still have something to live for, don’t I? I can keep the delusion of hope upon me, can’t I? “No,” I mutter, “It’s too late for that now.” I start to laugh. I start to cry again. 

Twenty minutes pass and Im plagued with the question to whether my sweat-clogged gun has anything to fire at me besides dust and echoes. Before my mind starts to wander again, I decide to leave my irrevocably old life to luck. If I pull the trigger and nothing happens, the shells are elsewhere and I’ll abandon this place, get a better job and find someone new. If the gun does fire then I’ll enjoy the ride. 

And so it comes to this: I can smell a river of sweat drip off me like a waterfall, hear the monstrous racket of cars outside. I can see my life flash before my eyes. I can see Emily. I feel my finger begin to bring in the trigger. I feel hope.


© Copyright 2017 John. All rights reserved.

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