His eyes begin to wake, slowly but surely opening to revel in the slightest gleam of light that is piercing through the far window.
“I’m still alive”
He says to himself in a hushed slur. The alcohol from the night before holding down his limbs, his breath drenched in the stench.
“Why am I still alive”
The throb in his head is only superseded by the throb in his heart. The light slowly cutting through the far window. Extending its reach, now covering his entire face. A light knock raps at the door, echoing through the cold room as the gears begin to turn in his mind. Always racing, no solace from these ever turning gears. From wake til slumber, these gears turn faster and faster without remorse. As these gears clunk and grind, so do his joints as he lumbers to sit up. His body, still attempting to sink back into the comfort of the aged springs. A loving voice calls to him
“Coffee is on the stove”
A warm voice from his caring mother. Except the only feeling this sound brings is dread. The dread that there is still someone that cares for him. Someone who will not let him die. All he wants in this world, is to not be in it. He begrudgingly lays his feet on the stiff, unwelcoming floor. The frigid feeling echoing up his legs, before dissipating into the warmth his body yet retains. The creak of a floorboard, the retort of his knee, as he stands the shadow of his thoughts lurking above him. No person living or dead can see them. Ensnaring him as they do every day as he wakes. The thump of his heart, that refuses to cease. He travels across the room to the closet where his work clothes hang. How jealous he is of them. The day is like any other, it starts the same, and it will end the same. Crawling into bed after drowning his worries in cheap liquor. It is the one thing he looks forward to. He unshelves a pair of dress pants that have forgotten the feel of a wash. He unhooks a dress shirt that you would find on any worker confined to a cubicle would wear. He wraps his body in these fabrics that reek of defeat. Each button feels like a nail in the coffin that houses his aspirations. As he finishes dressing, another ghostly tap at the door
“Are you up?”
His tether to this world asks. He meekly replies, and finishes putting on his shoes and jacket. He checks a pack of cigarettes in his pocket, to make sure that he has enough certainty that cancer will befall him. He walks through his bedroom door into the hallway that connects with the kitchen. The somber feeling of a twisted stomach that is filled with regret reminds him of his mistakes the night before. As he fills his cup with the coffee prepared for him, he wonders
“Will today be the day?”
The day that he no longer has to fight survival. Where he can fall asleep knowing, that consciousness would not return. That nagging voice in his head reminds him that he is not allowed to take his own life. He is only able to hope, that by some miracle, tragedy is brought upon him. He slips on his winter coat, worn so badly on the sleeves. The frosty air greets him outside as an old friend. A flash of light from his lighter ignites his chemical ridden hope. As he inhales what he hopes to be his undoing. The day has started as any other would. He drags his feet to his car, wondering if he should just stay home. If it is even worth it to show up to his dead end, meaningless job. His thoughts haunting him like the trailing cloud of tobacco smoke. His drive to work is uneventful as always. No garbage truck running a red light. No bus spinning out of control. No semi truck blowing a tire. None of the ways he had planned to meet his end occurred, as none of them ever do. He pulls into a parking spot near where the other soon to be cancer patients gather. Although he knows that none of them share the same goal as he.
As he makes his entrance to his small, unpersonalized workspace, these words are always exchanged here. What is so good about it though, there was no reason for him to say this other than pleasantries. As he sits, the dark cloud that follows him like a stray dog closes around him. For the next several hours, he is here. In this claustrophobic space. Typing and clicking, clicking and typing. Occasionally trading banter with the lost souls around him through the mobile cork and plastic walls. The day drags on as he sinks deeper and deeper into the void. The gears still grinding away, with no pause, no breathing room. A small relief once the clock strikes five. He is allowed to depart from his force labor. His beloved, soothing friend, waiting for him on the store shelf. Watching as those like him pass and select their own poison from the shelves. He cannot wait to leave this tomb of dreams to dive back into solitude. Before departing, he exchanges the rehearsed farewells, and agreements to return. Finding release of the day’s stresses in the familiar burn of a cigarette. The flame, like his endurance, slowly fading with each breath. The drive home offers similar entertainment, is uneventful, and nearing its end. This time however, there is an explosion of glee, ignited by the gleam of oncoming headlights sharing the same path of his own.