Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Another Happy Story About Love And Suicide

Today in the cafe... I was in a reasonably good mood in the morning. This is actually a small miracle. I soaked it up. I back-swam leisurely through those usually grumpy A.M hours, kind of wondering what the hell was going on. What a luxury to be in good spirits first thing in the morning.

Then sometime during lunch service my mood took a hit and went into a tailspin. Oh Christ, I thought, here we go. This is more like it. This is what I'm used to. But fuck - such a horrible contrast to how I felt just such a short while ago. Just earlier I felt content and happy and lucky, whereas now is all gloom. Now I am acutely aware of The End Of All Things. Happiness ENDS. Friendship ENDS. Love ENDS. Life ENDS. Everything fucking ENDS.

If I sound jokey about it here, I did not feel jokey about it then. This bleakness is real and suffocating and I hate feeling it so much that I just want to curl up and go to sleep and never wake up, because never waking up means never feeling this way again, and that is a good thing. I just want to stop thinking. I just want to not be.

Thing is, I have felt this way frequently throughout my life. My default setting is not happiness. I write funny things and I write happy things, and I am actually an optimist, I'm just not a happy soul.

The funny thing about all of this is that people around me never know that these shifts in mood occur. Or rather, I think they see when I am happy; I just don't think appreciate the dark depths my mood frequently plummets to. I think they like my occasional smiles and my oh-so-rare LOLs, but they are used to my thoughtful quietness without realising just how quietly crazy I actually am on the inside. They would probably be shocked that I have often wanted to die.

But what the fuck do I know? Maybe all of us feel the exact same way.

I used to have a humour column in a cool music mag. That column saved me so often. I'd be in these moods, these desperately dark moods where death felt like a snuggly dooner, and I'd have these deadlines. Blackest mood be fucked, I have a deadline to write something funny, and I'd look around at the world filled with all you funny humans taking things too seriously, taking life too seriously, and I'd squint a little and see the funny. And I would write some funny.

I really can write funny. I love writing funny, because writing funny makes the pendulum swing. Suddenly, I'm laughing, as I write about some random shit I saw. If I'm laughing as I write, I know (and this is the real pay-off) that my friends and total strangers are going to be laughing as they read. My column had been going for 10 years, and over time I trusted this feeling. If I can just make myself laugh while writing, they will also be laughing when reading. So I've made myself feel better, and I've made other people feel better. That's a pretty cool thing.

So today I thought about all of this in that black fug I was going through, and I realised that even though I don't have the column any more, I can still set myself a deadline and just write something funny. This will be awesome. Squint a little to see the funny shit and write it.

I squinted like Clint Eastwood, and yeah, I came up with a story.

I'll say here that I also write some pretty dark stories. There's an e-book of mine on Amazon called 17 Stories Of Love & Crime, and there's some really dark stuff about love in there. When I come up with a story, I know if it's got the right stuff because I get waves of goosebumps. I well up with emotion. The story starts feeling real. Time kind of stops and I hear the narration and the dialogue and see the plot unfolding. It's a strange and unique feeling.

So looking for humour to climb out of this dark, dark hole I was in today, this is what I came up with:

There is a couple, happy in their coupledom. They have been together for quite a while. They reminisce about how they met. How did they meet? He saved her life. She initially fell in love with him because he saved her life, but they got to know each other and she loved him because of him, because of the kind of person he was. He got to know her, and he fell in love with her too. He has always been puzzled about the beginnings of her love for him. The act of his saving her life... it has always been a curious thing for him. She admits that yes, that's where it started.

You were a stranger. You were the only stranger who cared enough to stop me going through with it.

But another stranger might have come along.

No, it was you. It was you, it was meant to be... all these years might never have been... I love you and I thank you.

I love you and I thank you too.

(What makes the story work is this little thing he has never told her. Maybe he tells her now, after all these years).

I'm glad I was there to save you. I'm so very happy I talked you out of it. Who knows - maybe, you're right, maybe there wouldn't have been another stranger who cared enough... maybe you would have gone through with it and you would not be here now.

Oh God... too sad to think.

Yes, too sad to think.

There's a thing I never told you. This small detail.

Really? Tell me this small detail.

Okay. The night before we met... the morning before we met, actually. The morning before we met I woke up hungover with a plastic shopping bag in my bed. I was puzzled by this. I mean, of all the odd things to wake up with in bed, a plastic shopping bag?


I was drinking a lot at the time. I was alone. You know, I'm a solitary kind of man.

Yes. I know. But the plastic bag?

I remembered, eventually. I'd had enough. I'd had enough booze and I'd had enough of everything, and I decided to go to sleep forever. I went to bed with the plastic shopping bag with the intention of putting it over my head and never waking up.




And after lying there in the dark and thinking about everything for just that little bit too long, I missed my opportunity. I fell asleep. I passed out.

Ah. Wow. And if you hadn't passed out...


They looked at each other for a long time, really fell into each others eyes, and they hugged a long hug that might never have been.

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