It could only be described as the end. It had to be! All true fatalists eventually delve into that psychic-seeming sector of the brain and realize that the time is nigh.
And now has come the time to tell the tale of the great fuck-up of my life. The end. The absolute end of all imaginable ends.
The man had been mine, why do all horror stories start that way? My golden angel, he drifted into my life like sweet ether dripping onto a clean, virgin cloth. I was very in love with this small excuse for a man…I was so adept at covering up his little nuances. His late forays into the dead of night to ‘walk’, or the early arrivals on a Sunday morning, boots off and back into bed as if he had never left my side.
I knew his type.
They were hard to pick and were not usually how you’d expect them to look. He was a non-descript type of person, a waifish man with smart clothes and a stubbly chin. A scent seemed to pursue him everywhere and that’s what I noticed first, this musty smell that followed through the air behind him.
(I was) Always behind him.
Grace worked upstairs. She was a real bird-like woman with a nervous disposition, a mane of black silk hair and bulging eyes. An innocent. She was as skinny as a twig, until she got pregnant. At work she liked her margins exactly three centimeters apart and she liked her invoices in black-ink-only, so how would she cope with the indignities of a pregnancy? Everyday I had to watch her climb those stairs that separated her shop from mine. Everyday I had to watch her waddle with the determination that only a new mother could muster. I had to watch her grow and grow, a symbol of the unstoppable tirade of circumstance.
And I know who did it to her.
And now I know that this is the end. I don’t believe in choice in life, I don’t believe in trying to go against fate. Life is too beautiful to be random, life is too perfect to be unplanned. There is a plan to things and I am but a piece in the puzzle. The unconquerable hand of circumstance has circumnavigated my best intentions and has arrived fully in view. It seems that even in utter pain there is beauty, in pure chaos there is a sacrifice to order.
I was always what you would describe as a ‘good’ person. I never had to doubt my own intentions and people always trusted me. It’s funny, because in life it’s always the untrustworthy people who get all the attention, it’s always the one who makes the fuss that gets remembered at the end of the day… I was sick of being forgotten by this crappy little life. We can all do something bold once in a while, we can all receive the opportunity to break out of our shells.
So to sacrifice myself to beauty is easy. I can just slip away into the scheme of things and present myself as an angel. I can ensure my place in the memories of those concerned as a lost soldier, a wounded animal, as an unselfish brother or a caring teacher. My memory will explain my actions. My fate will take me home.
My lover really was a bastard, you know. The worst thing about people like him, this non-descript type, is that they seem so lovely to everyone else. Charming and considerate, polite and humble, he graced the presence of every room with his masculine control and his designer clothes.
He seemed sophisticated, he seemed worldly, but he was actually from the country and a country boy at heart meant old-fashioned values, old-school opinions. He tried to seem new age and was the epitome of charm in most circumstances, but beneath this veneer he was awash with notions of negativity, homophobia, racism and domestic violence.
Yep, a real bastard.
You wouldn’t want to know what he did to me, mentally and physically, and I don’t care to think what he’ll do to her. Eventually. I wore my scars with dignity and pride, just as I wear all my achievements and faults. I am not a perfect person, even nice people can cause a fuss.
It was Grace who told me in the end. Like a friend she came to me in the evening and outlaid all her problems and placed them in my lap. I wanted to do it then. I wanted to do something drastic to explain my emotions to the world. I didn’t need to feel any anger or disdain for her, I knew that fate would take care of it. You can’t escape fate.
So I let him leave, and I watched her grow, rounder and fuller. Happy and glowing. I didn’t want to look too sad, I didn’t want to say too much. Their lives were now intertwined and that was all that mattered. My life meant nothing and my time was up. I decided then at that point that circumstance revealed only one thing for me. I realised my way out.
And that’s why this is the end. It’s a cold day and it’s a long life and I no longer have the energy to come out from the shadows.
I sit with a pen in one hand and a key in the other. I can feel my heart beating in slow methodical bursts of blood. The pulse of life is killing me, the world will not stop so that I can look around and get my bearings. With a shaky hand I place the key in the lock and turn. The drawer slides out as if I did not even touch it and the silver, shiny object that is suddenly in my hand floats to my temple as if guided by some unknown force.
Not yet. (someone may see me)
I run the metal across my skin, I indulge in the coldness and the harshness of my fate. As it runs across my lips I shudder and wince, my hands begin to shake as I open the drawer again.
Not now. (someone could hear it)
Why me? I ask. Why do I deserve this outcome? Why did I need fate to hold me up against a wall and slap me in the face? It didn’t matter anyway, I did not begrudge them their existence. I was willing to make amends in the only way I knew how. I look at the drawer again, I look at the pen in my hand and I scan the room. Is this a crazy idea? I am a bit afraid that I’ll regret this tomorrow…if there is a tomorrow. But it’s now or never, fate has made the call.
I reach into the drawer for the last time, and I hold the cold, metal object in both my hands. It’s large for a baby’s rattle. I give it a shake and delight in the hollow little noise it makes. Shake, shake, shake. How could anyone resist this as a Christening present?
I tie a blue ribbon around it and sign the little card. I leave it on her desk at work and grab my bag from the hallway. Today is my last day…actually my first day on the road, living life as I always should have lived it…free.
Fate spoke to me. Finally I had my answer to life. As I stride out of the front door I imagine that some might say that I’m taking this well, that the little present is too much… but I have always believed that circumstance cannot be changed, but doing something nice for someone can never hurt…
After all, I believe in karma as well.