Breathing but not wanting to, he woke to the sound of a phone version of “The Ode to Joy,” how ironic. Life had been a collection of awkward hellos and goodbyes, entrances and exits, working and doing nothing. He didn’t like it; the routine, the schedule of every day, every week, and every year. Occasional changes of pace and surrounding were nice but in the end they became another boring fabric of life that was all too recognizable. Friends were like the wind, you liked them one day and hated them the other, gone when you need them, and there when you could do without them. School seemed to have ripped the soul out from within him, from early ages he knew what his calling was and what he wanted, but by the 8th grade he was lost, he did not have a clue where he was going in life. This was going to be the day.
“My life in five words: Dull, boring, exhausting, mind-numbing… Wait does that count as two?” “Maybe, I think the hyphen may make it one word.”
“Oh okay, so boring, exhausting, mind-numbing, and was that all?”
“No I think you said dull too.”
“Oh right, so boring, exhausting, dull, mind-numbing, and… grueling.”
The conversation was a mere dream and thought; these internal conversations began during the summer between 8th grade and 9th grade, which was a lonely time. Throughout a life of finding things to hate, he found that he loved his bed; it was like quicksand to him, once he got in, it held him tight until he had relaxed. This occasion was no exception, he had simply wanted to sit down for a few minutes but very quickly he found himself lying down, and then very asleep.
“Hey! Wake up.” His 15 minutes of doing nothing were up, it was time for school, he tried not to accept the harsh reality but the voice was not going to give in. “Come on, you are going to make me late, it is 7:55!” 7:55 A.M., a time on the clock that he had seen too many times, it depressed him. No other time could bother him as much as this and all it meant was that he had 15 minutes to get ready for school. Droopy eyes and a frown callously stared at the bathroom. His face felt heavy as he leant into the shower and turned the same knob he had for years. Scalding hot lava of water was a relief in the morning; it warmed his cold and dried skin. Drying off, putting clothes on, brushing his teeth, it all seemed to be a blur but it took around 10 minutes to do, he was going to be late. Today was going to be the day.
Empty seats around him, the bus seemed to be deserted besides his sister and himself. Silence was only broken by faint whispers and chatter from the back of the bus. The ride was peaceful and short, he wished that he could enjoy the outside world a little more before he would have to go back to work inside the school. It was boring but it did have its moments, moments to laugh, moments to be extremely irritated, and moments to work hard. It had its ups and downs as well; shallow conversations and intellectual debates, helloes and goodbyes, and stairs. Windows were a sweet salvation. He loved the view from the various floors of the building, each car that drove by he would imagine that he was the driver, free and out in the open air, but each time he was transported back to that desk and uncomfortable chair. Lunch was another part of the day that he found himself enjoying, the food was mediocre but it was food and that was enough. The memories of the yesteryears were always there with him along with the transient friends he had made. Food fights, spilled milk, recess detention, it all seemed so silly back then, but he could not help but find himself missing those days before he was once again transported back to that uncomfortable seat with that not so amazing food undone in front of him. Today was going to be the day.
The ride home felt longer than the one in the morning. Was time trying to make everything he looked forward to far away? Maybe it was the awkward conversations taking place between strangers and acquaintances; he listened to every word, every syllable, and every letter, each burning into the back of his skull. The headache he had developed near the end of the day was growing; a monotonous beat echoed around his brain, it felt as if his brain was growing, and it would be at the expense of his life. Box spring threw him up as he had fallen like a dead man onto his bed, he was gone.
Retina burning was the alarm clock of his afternoon. Squinting against the bright light coming through the curtains, he rose, stretching his back and arms as he sat upon the bed. He knew naps were a waste of time and he had to savor every one of the 7 hours he would have awake at home, but to have an hour of not thinking about anything was true bliss. Stumbling upon the stairs with his half-awake body he was on a mission for food, the school lunch had not done its job. His mission was interrupted when his sister called out, “I am going to work! Bye!” He was alone, again. It was time for permanent action; it had been in the back of his mind all day. Out of the shed he retrieved a rope, with instruction from the Internet and some average hand eye coordination he had done it. Carrying his weapon behind him he went back into the house, now it was time to eat.
Cold air tickled his arms as he opened the refrigerator, trying to find fuel for his exhausted body. Eyes scanning he found it, it was suitable, it was good enough, no it was perfect. The steak crackled in the microwave as his eyes followed the plate spinning within the microwave. Dried meat with soda along with paper and pen, it was all going well. He scribbled upon the paper as he ate, writing his feelings, his story, he wrote his life. It was all coming out finally. He smiled as he relished in the sweet dried out flavor of steak and he sobbed as he wrote all that was trapped inside of him. Today was the day, it was happening.
“Ahh.” The dry sound dripped from his mouth, the steak had turned against him. Lodged in his throat, his preemptive swallow was murdering him. His sweaty palms gripped his throat, the meat was lodged. Thrashing about the room it seemed like time had slowed, he saw everything he had known crashing around him as he looked for a savior.
Glasses spread into what seemed like millions of pieces, the plate that had held the murderer fell to the floor, time was coming to a halt. “Help!” he hoped that by some miracle that someone would hear these distressed and muffled calls for help. The life was being taken from within him, soon he would be gone. Throwing himself upon the countertops, the table, and chairs, it was stuck; it seemed that his time had run out. One final blow to the chest from his own hands was all he needed. His throat was clear, the air rushed in. A mess lie around him, he looked upon the broken glass, the chairs that had failed him, the homicidal steak, the note, and the noose.
A minute and 25 seconds had changed him, the battle for air had seemed like it had gone on for hours. Nothing had changed but everything had changed. The oxygen was like gold, the sun was no longer just a thing shining in his eye, and the wind was always welcome. He went to bed early that night; death would not get any more chances this evening.
The “Ode to Joy” woke him up again, he hummed along, and he was breathing.
© Copyright 2016 Jury Cricket. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Young Adult
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