(Image from HERE)
Suicide no. 72: One
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
He’s so blue, the only thought that a five-year-old tomboy could muster up to consider where to begin to act. His potbellied corpse somehow swayed from ragged jumper cables tied into an unkind form of knot, affixed to a four-by-four wooden truss that held up the roof of a garage that looked as if the whole building—the world itself—would collapse on top of both of them if she even so much as breathed too heavy. Years later, she would learn how better to describe that tie—a “noose”— and she’d cringe every time she saw one, or even heard a word that sounded like it (loose, deuce, juice…). Over the years, she’d slowly try to piece together why Daddy—of all the people she loved most in the world—had done that to himself.
Marital politics—ranging from paying bills, cheating, not communicating, not spending time together as a couple, job-related stress, etc.—were all things that a now twenty-seven-year-old Clarissa could easily, logically, and somewhat forcibly factor into the suicide equation. She’d already done that, though, and the specifics of the vices typical to the downfall of any traditional marriage weren’t important enough to consider at this point in her life. What she always wanted to know, more than anything, is why she wasn’t enough to convince her father that life was worthwhile.
After all, Clarissa had her own three-year-old: Edward. There wasn’t even the slightest chance, in her mind, that she’d ever do anything so terrible as to leave her own son blind-sided by such an atrocious act: especially considering even the remote possibility of him finding her cold cadaver.
Clarissa sat on the edge of a queen-sized mattress in a three-bedroom house that she, Edward, and her husband, Ben, all shared—reminiscing the same events she always did around her father’s birthday. She held a small, musty-scented cardboard box full of memories—photos, a watch, and a handwritten note she always read to herself—to try to remind herself of how far she’d come in trying to come to terms with the person she’d lost—or yet, never got the chance to have:
daddy, why did you have to go? mommy and i miss you, and we will always be a family no matter what! we love you! we always will!
No matter how hard she tried, her father was gone, her mother was tormented with blame, and there was no family to be had with the exception of the one that she built with Ben.
As her thoughts wandered aimlessly, Edward came barging into the room.
“Mommy, Mommy! When I grow up, I want to be a fireman!”
Grow up? She thought, but didn’t communicate anything but a soft laugh and warm smile. He’s going to grow up, and move away, and start a family like me.
Suddenly, a sort of indescribably darkness came over her—reminding her of not only where her father was, and who he was with when it happened—but also of another moment: a time when she had a beagle named Jedi, and he aged, and wandered off into the woods to do what dogs do when they know that they’re facing the inevitable death: to be alone.
Even with Edward in the room, scuffling around on the floor, she felt what her father must’ve felt in those last moments.
She wanted to ask him, but she already knew the answer:
In the end, there is only one person to face death with: yourself.
You’re the only one.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Audience of One.”