Today is the last day of my life.
Ignore the inconvenient fact that this is the seventh day in a row that I had declared as such. As it turns out, setting into motion the end of my existence was proving to be more troublesome than I had imagined. The irony that I was failing at ending a life of failures was not lost on me.
That is my life. Failure. I’m too good for this shitty world. That is the only explanation. Everyone is against me because they are jealous. My art should have made me rich and inspired the hearts and souls of people all across the world, but instead, here I was. Miserable and alone. Well not anymore. Fate was in my hands.
At first I attempted the tried and true method of a razorblade. There I was, blade primed across the throbbing veins of my wrist, my heart pounding but resolute. I nicked the skin and saw the first beads of blood form. Then, quite without warning, I passed out. You see, I’m deathly afraid of blood, and the slightest sight of it always renders me unconscious. I had figured that a swift enough action, combined with the iron will of committing to death, would have avoided such a reaction, but alas, my feeble body betrayed me, just like everyone else.
The next day I had vowed to cast myself from the roof of some nearby flats. I made it to the top but my vertigo got the better of me. I never was good with heights. After shopping around for a while, I finally found an accessible ledge that I deemed high enough to be fatal, while being low enough to keep my stomach in check. Wouldn’t you know it though, a bloody school field trip was taking place below. I’m a bastard, but I could hardly go splat myself right next to a group of children. I have morals after all. At least, that’s what I tell myself to make my cowardice more palpable.
Day three led me to the railway tracks. I wandered just outside of town, slightly enjoying the walk through nature, until I arrived at the dark slit of land where the tracks cut across the woods. I would wait for the rumble of engines then step out into the trains path. In a heartbeat I would be gone. No pain, just a mist as my body is instantly exploded by the high speed impact.
It turned out that I wasn’t alone. Another downtrodden looking fellow stood a little bit further down the track on the opposite side. We looked at each other awkwardly. I offered him a tentative wave and he nodded back. Then we waited. The train was due any minute now. Time, like my existential misery, marched on. I checked my watch. The train was late. More waiting. I finally check my phone.
The 12:50 train to Leeds is delayed due to an issue with the signal lights.
Great. Both me and the other man stood there in silence. By then my legs were aching. More time passed. I check my phone again.
The 12:50 train to Leeds has been cancelled.
I sat down, resolved to wait for the next train. The man sees this, and after a few more minutes, he too sits. I spent the mental equivalent of three years clockwatching until the minute hand of my watch had completed a single rotation. There was still no sign of a train.
The 13:50 train to Leeds has been cancelled due to a shortage of carriage staff.
Bloody East Midlands Train service. Absolutely useless. How they dared charge so much for a ticket when the trains were ancient and never ran on time was beyond me. I shrugged awkwardly at the man and he shook his head angrily. We both stood up and began a disgruntled walk back towards civilisation.
For my fourth attempt, I decided to go back to basics. The plan was to overdose on medication. Take lots of pills then fade away while I slept. Perfect. I didn’t actually have any money to buy anything from the pharmacy, but everyone has pills aplenty scattered throughout their homes. I searched my cupboards and collected together everything I found.
- Three Paracetamol tablets
- Quarter of a bottle of Night Nurse
- A single indigestion tablet
- Six cold and flu pills
- Two leftover hayfever tablets that expired last year
I’m no doctor, but it didn’t seem an impressive haul. Still, I’m no quitter, so I took the lot of them. I had a mostly full bottle of cod liver oil pills too, and while I know that they aren’t exactly medicine, I figured that they couldn’t hurt. Or rather, maybe they could. I forced myself to swallow them all. Thirty two in total. Suffice it to say that it didn’t kill me, though I certainly wished it had.
No plans were made for the day after. I became intimately familiar with the toilet with little mental capacity left available to me for grand schemes. Thankfully the torment passed and I was able to commit to my goals once again.
After having missed a day, and growing increasingly frustrated with my repeated failures, I was eager to move on with moving on. I will note here that in all of these days, nobody called in or messaged me. Hell, I’d even written ‘The Great Beyond’ as my holiday destination on my leave of absence form at work and not a single person had checked in with me.
This was one of the many reasons that I found myself here. People. Every last one of them is a bastard. I hear them talk about me behind my back. Who cares that I put milk in the cups of tea first? What does it matter that I stammer when stressed? Maybe I wouldn’t be so damned stressed if they all just left me alone.
I don’t remember a time when I was truly happy. Nobody spoke to me at school, and nobody speaks to me in the office. I try, believe me. Memories of the time I plucked up the courage to ask a girl out still haunt me. I was so nervous that I ended up puking all over her. It’s fair to say that romance didn’t ensue.
Those memories spurred me on, fueling my fires of self-loathing. It was time to bring out the big guns. Not actual guns, mind. Too hard to get a hold of around these parts. The Yanks have this stuff easy. Typical bloody Americans. Us Brits need to be more creative with such matters.
I finished up my morning toast as I ran myself a relaxing bath. Everything was looking to be a perfect day. I grabbed the toaster, made my preparations, then slipped into the warm water. Once I was comfortable, I turned on the toaster, braced myself, then knocked it into the bathtub.
The expected thrill of a million volts never came. Instead there was a disappointing sputter then silence. I sulked for a while then finished my bath. Some internet research later and I discovered that all modern appliances are built with Ground Fault Interrupters that prevent violent electructions. Just another example of Hollywood lying to us. I wasted a perfectly good toaster for nothing, and don’t even have the money to replace it. Breakfasts have been miserable ever since.
As you can probably imagine, I was pretty frustrated by this point. Things, as was usual, were not going my way. Failure was my MO after all. A constant river of rejection had slowly whittled down my soul until the shell of my body could barely hold itself together against the void within it.
I had a folder in my email dedicated to the rejections, a shrine to my shortcomings that my masochistic nature couldn’t help but to study daily. Job applications, screenplay submissions, conversations on far too many dating websites that went nowhere, all of them bundled together in a neat little bow that I could present to each and every therapist when they inevitably told me that it was all in my head. Maintaining a positive attitude was all fair and good, but it couldn’t change reality.
As I miserably shovelled down a bowl of prison-grade porridge, I wallowed in my negativity in search of inspiration. Nothing creative presented itself so I did the only logical thing and walked out into oncoming traffic. It hurt. My chosen weapon of self-destruction turned out to be a Volkswagen Beetle driven by a little old lady. She slammed on the brakes with impressive reaction time, reducing my glorious death into a single cracked rib, some bruising, and an earful of verbal abuse. Yeah, hurl insults at the suicidal guy, that’ll make him feel better. Inconsiderate bitch.
I was taken to the hospital where I was left to wait hours for the simple privilege of being discharged. Stiff and aching, I hobbled my way back home, each painful step reminding me how much I hated life. But when God closes a door, he also opens a window. Usually he slams said window down on my fingers, but one day I’ll dive through the gap before he can react. Maybe this was that moment.
Up ahead was a group of young thugs clustered around an alleyway. They were jeering and throwing stones at a stray dog. A lightbulb clicked on in my head. This was it! This was my chance to die, and in a heroic fashion no less. It was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Those lowlife scumbags would kill me without a second thought. I’m far less endearing than that poor dog, and they are gleefull in their torture of him.
I marched over to the group, the aches from my injuries soothed by a wave of adrenaline. They confronted me but I didn’t slow. With a manic smile on my face, I drove my fist into their leader’s face and watched him crumple to the ground. I was laughing, beckoning for them to attack me, to pull knives from their pockets and slice me to ribbons.
Instead they ran. Another failed chance. Now that the adrenaline was fading, I guessed that maybe they did look only about twelve years old. In the shadows of the alleyway they had looked decidedly more intimidating.
Disappointed, I turned to leave but felt something brush against the back of my leg. It was the dog. Some kind of short haired mongrel. Looked a bit like a terrier. It looked up at me with watery eyes and wagged its tail appreciatively. I took a few steps and it followed.
I’d never had any animals growing up. My mother hated anything that was untidy. Cautiously, I bend down and assessed the pitiful creature. How did you tell if a dog had rabies or mange? Other than being half starved and filthy, it looked like any other dog I’d seen. What about temperament? Would it bite me?
The dog nuzzled its wet nose against my hand and wagged its tail even harder. I stroked its head and it seemed to make the dog happy so I continued. I couldn’t help but smile. After a while, I stood up and took a few more steps away but the dog refused to leave my side. As one wretched being to another, I felt a certain kinship towards the mutt. I sighed.
“Come on then. Let’s get you some food. No important decisions should be made on an empty stomach.”
The dog barks its agreement then trots after me happily. I had a new friend to care for, something more pathetic and helpless than myself to put my life into perspective. He needed me, and it was strangely comforting to be needed.
There would be plenty of time to kill myself another day. For today I had another purpose. A better one. Death could wait because today was the last day of being alone.