Thursday, February 9, 2017

Please Do Not Read

Leaving things unfinished is one of the most despicable things human beings are capable of. That’s why I paid all of my debts  bringing my net worth to a total of twenty-six dollars and thirty five cents, completed the two weeks’ notice before quitting my job, and respectfully waited until my apartment lease was up, and then and only then did I climb to the top of Jumpers peak. I had sold my car to help with the debt because dead men don’t need cars, so I walked the eight miles from my former apartment to the edge of the Wasatch Mountains and then another mile and a half up to the peak. It had snowed the night before and though the main road had been plowed the rest of the mountain was covered in white, and if it wasn’t for a pair of crisp tire tracks cut into the path to the peak I would have never been able to find my way up to the fence that was put up to stop people from killing themselves. It didn’t do much good; I climbed the fence easily, though I did cut my wrist pretty badly on a rusted piece of jagged fence. I even stopped to worry about getting rust poisoning, but I remembered what I was climbing the fence to do and felt stupid when I saw a gaping hole cut into the fence right where I had climbed over. So I just went on bleeding into my shirt sleeve.
I had pictured myself stepping up to that ledge plenty of times before. I always wondered if I would be afraid and stand there for hours before actually doing it, or if I wouldn’t feel anything and just jump right off. Any way you do it I guess it doesn’t matter because in the end you get same exact thing, but when I was actually there I thought I would just walk off. Not even stop to think, just one final step then nothing. I didn’t want the thought of cops and old woman who read obituaries dissecting me and deciding why I would kill myself stop me from actually doing it. I couldn’t even tell you why I wanted to kill myself. Not because I didn’t know, but because there’s no rational or logical way to explain something like that to someone. It comes with a general feeling of melancholy sadness that becomes what’s normal, and a sense that you’re reliving the same day over and over again as weeks roll into months into years without change, and you realize that the closest thing you have to joy is sleep because at least that stops everything for a little while and punctuates the mundane. I thought about all of that and God as I walked to the ledge, where the snow and the sky met at a white and grey boarder. I couldn’t help the lump in my throat that grew tighter with every step, and I had to close my eyes to keep moving forward towards the boarder. I took two more steps and on the third my foot snagged what I could only imagine was a step up to the ledge, and I fell forward with my eyes still closed. I saw myself falling, falling, falling, until finally I hit the ground and splattered into an abstract puddle of blood, or maybe I would impale myself on a conveniently placed stalagmite and my blood would drip down onto the snow in little droplets. But when I did hit the ground it was face first into the snow and accompanied by a shrill screaming. When I opened my eyes I realized that the ledge was another ten yards off, and the only blood I left in the snow was from the rusty cut on my wrist. The shrill scream persisted in gasps and sobs, and when I turned my head back on my prone body I found the culprit lying at my feet wrapped in a wool blanket and crying its lungs out in the snow.

                I stood and looked in awe, trying to comprehend how and why and who would leave a goddamn baby on the edge of a cliff in the snow to die! I picked it up out of the snow and brushed the frost off of it’s face. It’s face was like ice, but when its hand broke out from the wrapping and grasped around my finger I felt how warm the palm was. It couldn’t have been there long; it would have been dead if it had been out there over an hour but it was alive and screaming. I thought about the crisp tire tracks that carved out the path, and the large hole cut in the fence. It couldn’t have been coincidence that all of those things were there at the same time; there was no way they could be independent of one another. I took off my coat and wrapped it around the baby, covering the spot where the wrapping had come undone as a cold wind began to blow and I made my way back, through the hole in the fence and down the mile and a half mountain path, walking within the tire tracks. The mountain path led off to the main road, where the parallel tracks curved off to the left and then disappeared into the plowed road—opposite the way I had originally come.           

6 comments:

  1. I love the twist at the end. Does he raise the baby!? I have to know

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  2. Is this the story you were telling me about in class? I love how you involved a baby! And the contrast of the character at the beginning who is ready to end his life and the character at the end of it who is ready to begin life anew, in a sense, is very invigorating. Nice work! Please keep posting

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  3. Thanks to both of you! It's only part one. More awful things to come!

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  4. A very engaging voice. There's something morbidly fascinating about the narrator's perspective, especially since he's such a responsible guy (as established by the details at the beginning). Interested to see where things will go.

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  5. You explained depression so flawlessly. And I love the twist about the baby. A lot of the time a sort of strong motivation to do something can be exactly what a person needs to break the cycle. Also, very well written. Really took me out of my computer screen and put me in the protagonist's shoes.

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