by P.R.Banks

This was written as a result of a discussion about writing about suicide stories and trying to make them convincing. Interestingly all of them centred around quite different reasons for dying. This one is a little clumsily constructed, but I include it here for reference. Partially to remind myself what my writing was like and partially to allow you, the reader, to see how my writing style has changed.

If it has changed at all of course.

I must add I in no way know anyone who has done this, and for that I am thankful. However the people who know me will see elements of my life worked in. I strongly suspect that one, as a writer, can never escape doing that, even in writing speculative fiction.

"It's always the small things" she mused quietly to herself. She had been looking out the window as dusk came, the light dimming and the air cooling to a chill but not uncomfortable level. Cars quietly snaked past on the street below, moving slowly in the gloom - their engine drone lending an unreal sense to the atmosphere. Sighing gently she pulled the window closed and turned back into the gloom that was the apartment.

With the light dimming from the sun the streetlights influence was slowly becoming the dominant one. It's inwards and upwards wan glow lit a broad band of the ceiling and lent the room a distinctly gothic feel. With the window closed the smell of almost, but not quite, cold food drifted in from the kitchen. It triggered memories of a meal in sullen silence, the candles unlit, the bottle of wine being used for but one glass till eventually that too was spent. A meal spent glaring at a full plate combined with the stinging juxstaposition of an empty seat.

It was only her birthday after all and he had only promised to be there, no matter what the cost. There was a twinge of bitter resentment at that thought. Recollections of many birthday's missed, the father always missing or if not missing then the family wishing he was and her mother struggling as best she could to be everything and coming close, oh so very very close. Close enough that she could almost believe that once they had been a tightly knit family. But the clarity of thought that age and a little experience gives soon corrected that mistake.

For a time there she had thought that perhaps her new found love and partner would be _the_ answer she had been looking for. But she found her attempts to include herself in everything he did were taken as a cloying and clogging influence till she had been forced into desisting or living without him. Naturally she had chosen to desist and hadn't things got better? She tried to imagine they had but it didn't work and a laugh escaped her lips. A twisted wry laugh that echoed off the walls, distorted, and sounded terrible. "Who am I trying to fool?" Herself probably she thought.

Moving again from the now closed window she wandered over to the one possesion left she valued dearly, her stereo. Idly looking through the tape pile she picked an instrumental piece, Albinoni. "Bad bad move, very bad move!" she chided herself as she collapsed into her favourite listening chair, positioned just so, near the fire with the stereo and tapes in easy reach. The sadness of the music struck a resonant chord with her mood and together the two drew sustenance from each other, intensifying and bringing a new clarity of thought to her.

"Hadn't things always been like this?" She went back through her memory remembering all the disappointments, failiures and bitterness. All the darker events that go towards shaping and making a lifetimes worth of memories. And the repetitiveness of it all crushed in upon her. Hadn't her parents disappointed her before? Hadn't he? Her friends? The sense of aloneless and loss grew stronger reaching an intollerable creshendo.

It was a familiar feeling, she had been here before. Listening to the same music in the same chair even. "Oh god how repetitive! Even when I am depressed it's the same cycle repeating again and again." She had for sometime been contemplating ending it all but had been procrastinating so many times. She had played a game with herself, setting 'goals' for the day like "I won't kill myself today if a stranger waves to me." or "If he says he loves me before I leave, I'll live another day.". But as the days had worn on the bets with herself grew harder and harder to meet.

And now her luck had run out. Or was it luck? It was true she had been making the bets harder, perhaps her subconcious was telling her something she already knew. But still she had kept going, even when the bets failed, for some reason she simply stubborned out another day...hoping, yes that was it, hoping things would get better. That everything would change miraculously and all would be all right.

"But what hope is there when the one person I think I can trust, lets me down?" Her parents no longer figured in her thinking, they had long since made it clear what they thought of her when she had spoken out about the situation at home. Abruptly the tape stopped with 'click' that sounded terribly loud in the suddenly quiet room. A lethargy struck her as she sat there, the sunlight was long gone now and only the distant, remote, noise of the city permeated the dark silence. A loud rumble denoted a truck passing below.

A screech of tires and a muffled thumping noise suddenly sounded from the street. This acquired her interest and she crossed to the windows again, opening them once more to get a better view. The chill had gotten stronger and the now night air raised goosebumps on her arms making her shiver slightly. A car had rear ended the truck and a very irate driver was now displaying his knowledge of swear words with some vigor. Concerned she called out "Do you want me to ring the police for you?". The driver looked up, saw her, and in an obviously unpleasant tone told her "Get back in the fucking house bitch! Back where you belong and keep out of other peoples business!", coupled with gesticulations with his fingers that she couldn't quite make out from this distance but had a healthy suspicion as to what they were.

With as much dignity as she could muster she slammed the window shut in a picture of irritation. But the words rang in her mind. Maybe they were right, maybe she should get out of other peoples business and stop distracting them. God knows what happened last time she had tried to integrate in with _his_ life. A resolve gripped her, she passed quickly through the dark to the bathroom. Blinking in the light she had turned on she opened the medicine cabinet. Yes there they were, the sedatives she had had when she couldn't sleep. A nearly full bottle of them.

Grabbing them she carefully shut the cabinet, turned off the light and slowly now bumped her way to the kitchen as her eyes adjusted to the faint light again. Half filling the glass with what was purported to be water she crossed back to her chair and settled down again. Turning the tape over she set it playing again and opened the bottle, staring the white capsules inside. "No backing out now m'girl, you said you were going to do it - so DO it." That thought complete she poured a handful out, palmed them and washed them down with the decidedly metallic tasting water. "It is done." she thought.

He came in an hour later, flowers in hand, just in time to hear the last of the tape and the click when it ended...

Philip R. Banks
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