The night descended beautifully. The golden haze of autumn simmering to a dark-blue aura of October nip. The air fresh, free and unfettered from the thick stale heat of summer, the always hovering and pressing down of summer—like a heavy, unwashed blanket. The leaves on the sidewalk made a soft noise, like the turning of the pages of an old book, audible and comforting in their newfound death, nostalgic even. Some leaves were fresh, as crisp and pressed as a shirt from the dry cleaners. Others ground to fragments, dust even, from the myriad of feet that pressed upon them. The feet making their way from human obligation to human obligation, from sunrise until now.
As the moon peaked above the horizon, or more specifically, the rundown white brick house across the street in front of him, he felt a shiver down his spine. How strange it was to feel the ripple, from brain to spine to his anxious fingertips, the beauty of his central nervous system in full voluminous force.
Still, he knew what it meant, or feared what he thought it might mean. For days he had been free. The wind, once absent, now blew ominously through the trees. The trees, shaking and shuddering from the encounter. Or were they trees?
He could feel it happening. Again.
Could he face another winter? Could he face another day? Another hour?
He ran inside from the deck of his vacation rental cabin. An idea that at the time seemed so utopic, so perfect and necessary. A weekend away from the kids. His job. The duties and responsibilities of society which, though minimal, (and which he even found gratitude in compared to the annals of men before him), at the same time constricted and strangled him. He felt barely more than a skeleton. He ripped the cupboards open and poured himself a drink. Downed a valium and two capsules of Nyquil. Anything to escape what was coming. He knew it might not act fast enough. He took another drink.
Blood, he thought. Thinking of course, of alcohol and how it enters the blood stream. He immediately knelt down and did some push-ups. Push-ups which he had not done in years. Then he got up, took a swig, and ran around his cabin, his arms flailing like an inflatable car-sales-balloon-man.
“You will not get me!” he screamed.
He continued this for some time. These…reps I guess you could call them. Of alcohol, running, and sweating.
After thirty minutes of intense alcoholic and aerobic exercise he sat down in his chair.
I am ready he thought. I am ready.
So he sat there and waited for it. The plea to kill oneself. To think of yourself as a failure, as worthless and meaningless. The urge to destroy oneself.
He fell asleep even, which was what he wanted.
But then he woke up. And he saw the bottles and his sweat-stained chest, his lonely surroundings, his daily fights with madness. And he succumbed.
It’s tricky. How destruction, bitterness, and fear creep up on you.
He made his way out the door, past the fake pumpkins and kitschy Halloween decorations. He wandered into the street. Down past the pines. Through the fresh pressed leaves, the fragmented leaves. The air crisp and cool. He wandered. With the moon in his eye. He wandered for some time.
They say he had other intentions. They say he didn’t mean it. They say he was crazy, was on one for the night. He only hurt himself, and some others I guess, if you’re including counseling from the witness of such an event.
Before the moon rises full, when the trees are still calm, there is a sense of peace. If only the sense was not so finicky, so transient. We could be whole. The sinew of human life stitched onto a skeleton. At once new, and alien.