What difficult times these have been for both of us. What with the money problems and then my father's illness, it seems like every day has been a trial. I know things have been hard for you but it's been harder for me, I don't see how it could be otherwise. I used to be an optimist, but I'm not anymore, not even close. I no longer believe that things are suddenly going to get better. I've given up on dreams. I won't wake up one day and find out everything is better.
So I've decided to go on living, and there's nothing anyone could say or do that would make me change my mind. There has certainly been a lot of stress lately for both of us, and at times I've felt there was no way out except to kill myself. My dear Alex, I don't think that way anymore, so I'm writing this note to tell you about it.
It's as Joni Mitchell once sang, something about how we love our freedom. No, I'm thinking of that song about some turning to travel instead of drugs. I think that's what I mean. There are many roads at the crossroads, something like that. Anyway, I'm not sure which road I'm going to take, but I've decided to keep traveling. That's what I mean.
There's just one thing that I think needs to be done to straighten out my life. If there's one part of my life that I need to change, it's the part where you are controlling the TV and not listening to a word I say. By the time you read this I will be throwing the remote ("your" remote) off the Mandolin Bridge and into the river. It's something I need to do to. I know you'll understand. Now we can begin again. And isn't that a wonderful thing?
Just dropping you a little note to let you know that I''ve gone to the store to pick up some low fat milk and an assortment of fruit, after an afternoon of holding a gun to my head. You read that right, but I'll have you know that I never really got that close to pulling the trigger. I guess technically I was ready to end it all, since I was out back holding the gun to my head and the gun was loaded, but what I realized is that I haven't the slightest desire to kill myself. You know why? Because there's a chance -- why even call it a chance? -- a certainty that my death would bring you great joy. If I were dead you could do as you pleased and marry that schmuck in marketing. Well it ain't going to happen, love. I've decided to stick around, until death do us part, and in this case it will be of natural causes. I don't have much to live for, this much is true, but the thought that you would be celebrating my timely demise has stayed my hand. Now whether you like it or not, it's a race to see who will outlive the other, and quite frankly I'd say the smart money's on me. I'll do whatever it takes to win -- eat right, exercise -- whatever it takes, dear, whatever it takes. My only goal in life at this point is to outlive you. That's it. But my life has a purpose now. And I'll do it, just watch me. May the best spouse win.
Dearest, dearest Anna. I regret to say that I can hear them again. The symptoms are the same. I have been here before, it's all too familiar. I feel certain I'm going mad again, and I can't do a thing about it. And you know what? Bring it on. Bring it on, I say. Bring on those terrible times. Bring on those voices in my head, those nasty little voices. But from now on I'll be listening for their advice, or at least trying to get their jokes. Who's afraid of the big bad voices? Not me, or at least I hope not me. I've got to face up to the fact that the voices are out there and are not going away. I am doing what seems to be the best thing to do, which is to acknowledge this fact. Which is all I can do. Hello cruel world, I'm coming out to play.
If I kill myself the terrorists will have won.
Nobody understands me. My parents don't understand me, my teachers don't understand me, school sucks and the Browns lost again. Emily doesn't love me. She doesn't even like me. If she liked me she might talk to me when I talk to her, but she doesn't.
I'm all alone in the world, and there's nothing I can do about it. What I haven't got is the will to get out of here. Whatever it takes to commit suicide, I don't have it. I've thought about it, considered how I'd go about it, but the fact is I don't have what it takes to go through with it. So I'm sticking around, even though Emily doesn't care if I live or die. Even though my dad wants me to be a lawyer and I don't know what I want to be, except not a lawyer. But there's nothing I can do about any of this. No one understands me. Only Eddie Vedder understands me. And maybe Mr. Witt. So I'm going to put myself to sleep now with some cold medicine, the kind that makes you real drowsy. Then I'm going to get up and live another day, and another one after that, and another one after that, and so on. I'm 16, what else have I got to do?
I will smile at my taxi driver, my pilot, my fellow passenger. Everybody hates death, everybody fears death, so why shouldn't I? I am no different. I crave life, so I'm going to go on living. I will pray when I set foot on the plane and again why I take my seat. When the time of truth comes and zero hour arrives, I will straighten out my clothes, open my chest and welcome death. May that day be many days in the future. I only hope that this plane will take off on time. I've got places to go and people to see. And what a beautiful day it looks to be! If only I could take a picture of it.
To be! To be! To be! That is the answer. At least I hope it is.
About the author:
Peter D. Gorman keeps his chin up in the Washington, DC area. His stories have appeared in various publications, including Aethlon, Pearl, Thema, and The Vincent Brothers Review.