…[Almost] The End
It’s there. And it always has been I think—on some level. Waiting in anticipation—crouching just out of my emotional eye line. I think I’ve had it my whole life—a birth mark that I didn’t know existed until I noticed it’s quiet shadow on my back in the mirror—an early memory, a dream even that comes back from childhood to visit in old age. In these circumstances, here after all this time—it’s presenting itself to me. You know what I’m talking about I think because you felt it—feel it. Everyone has at one point experienced it’s subtle ubiety. It’s resolutely hopeless and decisively defeated. It’s that weird stomachy feeling deep in your gut, behind the sensitive, inconveniently delicate wall of your intestines—the feeling you had when you were little and you were invited to that kid’s birthday party: some brat whom you hardly knew and who you didn’t even like and he didn’t like you much either. You knew very well that his mother made him invite you and naturally your mom makes you go (because remember, it’s good to make friends. It’s good even if they despise you and you them). You were forced and so was he…and so it was. And everyone stares at each other the entire day in uncomfortable kid silence. You’re outnumbered and the afternoon would inescapably evolve into a game of Simon Says—he’s always Simon.
“Simon says ‘touch your toes.’ Simon says ‘touch your earlobe.’ Simon says ‘put your finger in the socket.’ It’s my house and Simon says ‘put your finger in the socket!”
Or even worse: it’s the same feeling you had the time you were the odd one out in a group of friends, a nittering bunch of girls with blonde pigtails who played heavily with Homemaker Barbies and My Little Ponies. And they all watched your every move and wondered why you were there. Humans are born with their sense of social hierarchies already intact and we understand this early. We already know the politics from day one, it’s diplomacy that takes us forever to learn and adopt. The girls—the racially cleansed suburban faction of symmetrical six-year-olds—they’d be at home in Guantanamo Bay what with how well they can interrogate and make you second guess yourself. You give the birthday girl the lame present that your mom bought for you to bring: Barbie’s more political friend Midge. And the birthday girl smiles painstakingly, absinthian, of course hating it. Demonstrably disdainful she cunningly says things like: “Barbie is so nice to allow Midge to play with her because Midge isn’t pretty like Barbie.” You’re glad her parents have taught her manners. The way children hate is impressively primal and they discover the emotion the second they hear the words ‘no you can’t.’
A millennia later your mom picks you up and talks to the birthday kid’s mom and it’s polite chatter: weather and such. Everyone had an awful time but at least the parents feel like they’ve made their kids more accepting individuals. We all grew as people and all went home miserable. They’ve all married lawyers doctors and accountants now and have had affairs with their neighbors. They still drink together in afternoons. That exact terrible feeling: offensive, unpleasant, awkward and entirely abandoned… I can feel it now.
There’s a gun to my head, a relatively simple and unassuming, yet powerful Glock 37 .45 GAP, the classy little black dress of the hand piece world. A gun that has enthusiasts (Republicans and terrorists in the ‘know’) waxing almost poetic over its stylish crafting, how it’s a “must have” in any collection, akin to the clutch or stunning pair of slingbacks that compliment the subtle patterning and colours found in one’s favorite cocktail dress. You only really notice a birthmark once it’s become malignant.
Well maybe not terrified, no, that isn’t how I would describe what I’m feeling right now. Confused? Definitely. Nervous? Absolutely. But there’s something else there though too and I can’t quite put my finger on it. There’s another unidentifiable ingredient in the batter where I’ve now found myself and it’s bothering me that I can’t quite pinpoint it.
Baking metaphors aside, I have to admit that my life hasn’t been exciting enough to permit me to be here…up until now obviously, though I suppose I have actively sought adventure, or significance anyway, on some level on numerous occasions. I at least like to think that I’ve sought adventure. It may be pretence, but I’m holding to the idea that I haven’t been complacent in my boring nature. There’s one main caveat to all this that I should explain if I’m going to have any of this story, confused, nervous and whatever else it is, make any sense: the hand holding the gun and the one finger quivering on the trigger are my own, and I’m not being forced into this by any means. I am completely by myself and this is entirely my doing…my free will, my choice.
My generation has a totally dysfunctional relationship with choice.
Grocery shopping is a prime representation of this point. If you look in any supermarket you’ll find thousands of different kinds of cereal, hundreds of different varieties of bread, billions of different toothpastes—all of which are filled with dyes, parabens, sulfates, sodium, sugars and whatever-thanols. They give us cancer, they make us go senile, they give us depression in our 40’s and heart disease in our 50’s and we have to choose between them.
Most of our time is spent choosing, deciding, waiting, worrying, picking through, sorting out, selecting and amassing more—no wonder we’re exhausted. I’m exhausted. And so I choose to do this—an ancient practice reinvented for the 21st century. It’s authentic at least. It’s genuine. My generation also has an issue with anything real. We get Asian character tattoos and put NutraSweet in all our food. We pretend we’re vegan.
I’m finally doing something innovative.
As I look around me I notice that my apartment, though I cleaned it thoroughly yesterday is still littered with choices both bad an benign: Diet Coke cans in various stages of empty, a stack of magazines of both the literary and fashion variety (neither of which have done much for me in my years) and a pack of unopened American Spirit Organic cigarettes that I must have bought earlier though I can’t recall that purchase exactly. The feeling grabs me in my throat a bit—a lump of cry forming. I find that my bad choices aren’t interesting in the slightest and that here, at the end of everything, I could have at least bought a good bottle of wine and had couple interesting books visible to the people that will walk through the door over the next week or so. Death row inmates are able to choose almost anything for their last meal. They can smoke a pipe and have a steak. They can toss back their favorite beer and swap niceties or obscenities (depending) with the guards as they count down their final minutes. But looking around I just seem a bit…boring. What will everyone say? Here Lies Katherine Henry: Daughter, Friend, Bromidic Nobody. I shudder to think of it. The cigarettes are still taunting me though.
I don’t smoke…
…I’m having a smoke. I can enjoy the smooth additive-free tobacco, and record my final thoughts with both hands. Using only my right hand for the last half hour to write in this little book while holding the gun awkwardly with my left has seemed ridiculous. Why has it taken me so long anyway? Don’t people normally just pull the trigger and then get it over with? I’d heard that some turn their heads in the last split-second because they chicken out or something, then by doing so they take a good portion of their cheek off with the grazing of the bullet and end up overdosing on pills later because they can’t live with how disfigured they are. It’s really a decision you need to make solidly before you pull the trigger…before you buy a gun even. I still imagine that it shouldn’t be this in-depth of a process—that it shouldn’t take as long as it’s taking me now.
Too bad I couldn’t have found out earlier how this is all supposed to happen. What steps I could have taken to make this go by faster or at least with considerably less doubt. I should have done some more research. Seriously? Supposed to happen? Ridiculous that I think there would be a website showing the one way that people kill themselves. From this day forward there will be a book though. Perhaps not a recipe, but a book.
It’s somewhat absurd that I think this event, my own “undoing” or whatever, will become the authority, the reference, on how people will approach their final suicidal moments from now on. Why aren’t I excited? If this somehow does make an impact I’ll become a household name or at the very least I’ll be a person of note in psychology textbooks. I’m nervous and confused, but not scared. They should go hand in hand I think.
Okay, gun back up to left temple, nice and tight. Good, good…
Did I call Jamus? Did I tell him it was today? Was I supposed to? Does he need to know? Is someone going to come looking for me? Will I be rotting in this apartment for months? How do I know someone will come? What am I doing? All things considered not really stressed or exhausted like most people who do this are and if I’m being honest, I’m not exactly depressed or all that sad even. Perhaps this is a dumb idea or perhaps