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At The End

by hiraeth


I’ve thought a lot about how to do this.

I’m no rookie. I’ve researched and drawn up stats and charts. I’ve read books, countless of them. I’ve witnessed my brother jumping down from fifty stories.

I’d been up there that day, with him, panting and begging him to come back, to walk away from the edge. He just smiled at me. He spread his arms wide, as if they were wings, and said: “I’m going to fly, Rye. I’m going to be weightless.”

My brother didn’t fly. But he was weightless.

Personally, jumping never really appealed to me. Sure, it’s a cool way to go. The feeling of being rid of the pressure on your shoulders, free falling to oblivion, the adrenaline, for once never slowing down—it’s probably bliss.

But I don’t care for falling. If it were my last seconds, I would want them up in the sky, above everybody else, rather than have my face plastered over a lifeless pavement that is walked over by thousands of feet every day.

That leaves the others: pills, poison, hanging, and other nonsense that include ‘making a statement.’

Let me be clear when I say this: I don’t want to make a statement.

I don’t care whether people remember me or not. I don’t care that they didn’t care enough to even notice me. It’s not their fault. Everyone has problems. Their life sucks too. I shouldn’t expect them to lend me a minute when they don’t have seconds.

Plus, I’m not dying for the people. I’m dying for me. To set myself free.

My parents love me, I think. They just have an odd way of showing it: a wooden spoon breaking on my spine, locked up in a nearly bare room with a few chemistry and math textbooks and some pencils. They want a good life for me: a nice income, far away from the shit-town that we live in, a respecting husband.

They told me I’d be happy. That my life would be perfect.

Fact: Happiness is overrated. Perfect is boring.

I want fun. I want quirkiness and laughter and surprises. And I found out real quick that life on earth doesn’t really come with that package.

That’s why I’m here, on the sand. It’s quite windy; the waves are like walls that open into different worlds. I imagine that if I could wade through them, I would break through to a parallel universe; that I’d find fun and figure out a way to bring it back to earth.

I have a surfboard with me. I don’t really know how to surf; just learnt the basics from a local teacher. These waves will probably kill me, but that’s the plan. I can’t imagine a better way to die: a death having fun, a moment where I live on my own terms.

A couple of minutes pass and I’m in the sea, waiting for the wave to crash over me as I stand up on my legs. For a second, I look back: my clothes are on top of a rock, neatly folded. The water will probably drench them in a short while, but that’s not the point. I just want to show that I did learn something from my life: I learnt how to fold my clothes (To my mother’s frustration, I never did that before because I found it pointless how you take so much of time doing this one task when you know that you’d have to re-wrinkle it when you wear it next).

There’s also my phone (with undeleted history, because really, who cares?), my old fluorescent blue sneakers (they’ve always been my favorite even though they don’t fit anymore), and a crisp white paper tucked beneath a rock. The paper has writing on it. A last note. I figured I should give my parents an explanation, in the least. An assurance that it wasn’t their fault. They’ll need it.

I look over to the majestic tower of water that’s threatening me; it will be a lie if I say I am not afraid.

Fear. It’s almost as good a feeling as Fun is.

And the next thing I know, I can’t breathe.

I’m blind in a world of blue.

It’s strange: I can fly here. I’m almost weightless.

There’s a suction against me that twists me, and I spin in circles against the blue, creating bubbles around me. It feels like I’m four years old again, in my father’s shoulders as he twirls me and throws me into the sky and catches me.

I need to tell him that I love him. I feel dread as I realize that I forgot to write that in my note. And I feel confusion as I remember that I chose not to.

I swallow a mouthful of saltwater; and it tastes absolutely ghastly, not to mention that I start choking almost immediately, which makes it all the worse. I wait for mum to come and rub her hand on my back and pat me and ask if I was alright, but I realize that I’m alone. And I remember, with some regret, that I wanted to be.

I can’t breathe and I think of summer days and my friends; I think of ice creams and cricket matches and hide-and-seek. I think of my old bicycle that I never really liked but rode anyway. I think of all my books and the ones I didn’t finish. I think of all the people I couldn’t save.

I think I would like not to die today.

I’d like to see what’s on the other side, but I think I’m not ready yet.

It’s too late now, though.

As everything goes black, as I regret my decisions, I think that others like me probably felt this in their final moments too: maybe all of us, in the end, wanted to go back.

________________________

Dear Mum,

I'm alright. Really. I mean, you'll never see me again, because I've travelled to a parallel universe, but the plus side is, you'll never have to worry about me again. I thinking I'm going to find a cure for cancer and depression (you remember when I told you that those two problems are equally lethal?). I'm going to do great things, and you'll be proud. But I want to do it on my own terms. I don’t need you controlling every move of mine. I don’t need you to be overprotective of me. And we all know you’ve broken too many wooden spoons over me; and I don’t think you can afford to lose anymore.

This my choice.

Dear Dad,

I understand I’m not who you wanted me to be. But you have to understand that I can’t possibly be anyone else. You can’t live my life. You already had your chance. It’s my turn. I’m going to actually live. You’ve made me feel real low all these years. You’ve put me down again and again. So I’m going away. To a different place. I don’t need you anymore. I can’t live like you. You don’t even know the meaning of fun. So I need to go.

Don’t worry.

I want this.

And I won’t regret it.

Not-yours,

Rye


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Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:24 pm
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TheMulticoloredCyr wrote a review...



Hi! So, before I review this, I have to give the small disclaimer that I noticed a few obvious mistakes in spelling and whatnot, but it's nothing that you wouldn't see yourself without another quick pass over the piece, so I'm going to skip over those in favor of focusing on the more structural aspects of the piece.

I'm going to go paragraph by paragraph and get really nitpicky for a while, then give my general thoughts at the end. With that out of the way, I shall stall no longer and get right to the review.

"I’ve thought a lot about how to do this."

Nice first line you got here, not perfect, but pretty good. The only flaws I can see are the facts that the questions it raises aren't quite as compelling as they could be, and it doesn't really set up anything else in the story. You can ignore that second one if you want, consider it a bonus. You can, and probably should give it up for the sake of drama if you can. Anyway, it's a good first line.

Let's move on, since I took entirely too long on just a single line (if that doesn't tell you sonething about my thought process, I don't know what will).

"I’m no rookie. I’ve researched and drawn up stats and charts. I’ve read books, countless of them. I’ve witnessed my brother jumping down from fifty stories."

Now, this section serves the purpose of building suspense, clueing the readers in on your MC's borther's suicide, and setting up the fact that he thought this through. And yeah, it does that pretty well, but I can't help feeling that it could have been done a little better? Structured, I mean. For example, "I'm no rookie" implies that the MC has done this before, which he clearly has not seeing as he's not dead and gives no implication of having tried to kill himself before. Maybe, instead of "I'm no rookie" you said, or rather, he said, "I know what I'm doing" or something along those lines. It has the same punchy effect that I assume was intentional, as most simlilar lines are, and it sets up a better expectation for what the readers are about to, well, read.

My reason for pointing this out is this, the line "I'm no rookie" paired with the line "I've witnessed my brother jumping down from fifty stories" gives off the impression that maybe he's about to do some kind of stunt or something. The fact that suicide is even involved takes a few seconds to register, and changing up the language a bit could remedy that.

And moving on, again.

"I shouldn’t expect them to lend me a minute when they don’t have seconds."

I just like this line and wanted to point it out.

"My parents love me, I think. They just have an odd way of showing it: a wooden spoon breaking on my spine, locked up in a nearly bare room with a few chemistry and math textbooks and some pencils. They want a good life for me: a nice income, far away from the shit-town that we live in, a respecting husband."

When you describe how the parents had an odd way of showing their affection, maybe try not just stating the facts of the abuse? I know you may have read that as kind of rude, but hear me out. When an abusive parent shows affection, the victim is more likely to interpret said affection as coming from the moments between the abuse. The, "good job kid" grunted out about a report card that sports only A's, that one time they went out for ice cream because it was on the way and the dad was hungry, or even that time the mom let them have the rest of the mashed potato's because she didn't want to deal with the leftovers.

Or maybe you were going for the "good intentions" aproach, in which the victime believe that the abuse was committed with their best interests at heart, in which case I would recommend having your MC state what he thought his abusers, his parents, were trying to acompish when they broke those wooden spoons on his back, or when he was locked in that room. Tell us why those are the things that are thought up when your MC tried to think of their parents' affection.

"That’s why I’m here, on the sand. It’s quite windy; the waves are like walls that open into different worlds. I imagine that if I could wade through them, I would break through to a parallel universe; that I’d find fun and figure out a way to bring it back to earth."

Nice transition to the present day. I don't have anything else to say about this.

"There’s also my phone (with undeleted history, because really, who cares?), my old fluorescent blue sneakers (they’ve always been my favorite even though they don’t fit anymore), and a crisp white paper tucked beneath a rock. The paper has writing on it. A last note. I figured I should give my parents an explanation, in the least. An assurance that it wasn’t their fault. They’ll need it."

My only complaint here is that the little comments in parenthases break up the flow a bit. not enough to be more than a non-issue, but seeing as they aren't really featured anywhere else in the piece, they feel sort of out of place.

"I need to tell him that I love him. I feel dread as I realize that I forgot to write that in my note. And I feel confusion as I remember that I chose not to."

Okay, so my issure here is an odd mixture of predictable and weird. The predictable part is this, you're telling, not showing. Now here's the kind of weird part, how I know that is because of the words that I have put on my literary red list, so to speak. Those words are "I feel" (and all varriations). The third rule of writing (Cyr edition) is don't tell the readers that the character felt this way or that, show them the character reacting to the feeling. If you must, at least remove the words "I/he/she/they feel/felt" (convoluted? Yes. Written down on a thrity page doc? Also yes).

In case I wasn't clear (because I hardly ever am) I'll give an example.

"She felt the cool breeze caress her cheeks and shifted her hair from her face." You see this line? This sappy, sappy line that sound like it was ripped right out of a dramatic love story just before the emotional climax? You know how you could see her, but you couldn't really feel what she was feeling? Like you were beside her, but you weren't her?

Let's write it again, because I'm in English teacher mode from helping my sister figure out what a comma splice was and also how to work Pottermore for some reason.

"The cool breeze caressed her cheeks and shifted her hair from her face." Better? No? I'm probably just bad that this. Anyway, I hoped that little rant was helpful, my twelve-year-old sister seemed to think so a couple weeks ago. Then again, acording to your profile, you're seventeen and therefore probably better at this than I am.

Existential cirsis later, though, let's jump to the end because everything until that was great. No comments, no complaints, no adjustments aside from little grammar things I wouldn't know how to descibe or fix anyway.

"Ryan."

Yes, the name. So, earlier you mentioned that the parents wanted the MC to get a husband, which led me to believe that your MC was a girl, but Ryan is generally considered a boy name. What I'm getting at is this, I'm fairly certain your MC is trans and if he is cool, I've gotta show this to my friend (who will react either minimally and awkwardly, or by going on a very long rant about trans rights and the suicide rate and all that depressing stuff that has no buisness being discussed at 7:05 on a school bus).

Anyway, that was my bit, I hope it was helpful. Goodbye and happy writing!




hiraeth says...


Hi! Thank you so much for the review, it totally helps! Plus, your rants are cool. they're awesome. keep ranting. And oh, just because i'm 17 and you're younger, it doesn't mean you can't help me out- it's always perfect from the writer's point of view until it isn't, we just really need someone to point it out. So thanks a lot, i'll try making changes to this.

also, as i told fabiha down there, one of my friends is named Ryan, and she's a girl, - it actually can be both girls' and boys' where i'm from(pronounced ree-an), like 'alex' so i totally get why people are confused. also, i changed it to Rye to prevent confusion, um, three days before your review? soooO...... consider me a little confused.

Anyway, again, it was really helpful, i totally agree with everything you said; and thanks again for your time!





I've never heard Ryan used as a feminine name before, weird. Maybe I spend a little too much time looking into symbolic names and thematically appropriate names rather than just...names.

Anyway, glad I was helpful, have a good day, week, year, and so forth. Also, good luck with that adulting thing that's coming up pretty soon for ya.



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Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:41 am
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Tawsif wrote a review...



Wow! What a story! To be honest, I feel really really jealous.

As I went on reading, the thoughts of your character made me think, and picture different things in my mind. It was such a resonant work! Well done!

Only one thing I didn't really understand here was this part: 'Fact: Happiness is overrated. Perfect is boring'. What did you actually mean here and what kind of a style is it? Please let me know.

'There’s also my phone (with undeleted history, because really, who cares?), my old fluorescent blue sneakers (they’ve always been my favorite even though they don’t fit anymore), and a crisp white paper tucked beneath a rock.'

Here you could use emdashes instead of brackets. It's my personal preference which kinda makes things more interesting.
Keep writing.




hiraeth says...


hi tawsif! Thanks so much for your review! also, since you wanted info on that line 'fact: happiness....bla bla bla,' it's actually about how happy lasts only so long, until everything becomes.... normal, you know? perfect becomes boring, because unless you're different, it just means you're predictable and not-interesting - which the protagonist here feels and tries saying that a life like that isn't worth living - you have your dramas, you have problems, you have situations (interesting ones), and you have fun - that's what makes life worth living. Thus, perfect and happy are overrated.

Anyway, thanks again so much for your time! I'm glad you think this story was okay :)



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Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:41 am
Tawsif says...



Wow! What a story! To be honest, I feel really really jealous.

As I went on reading, the thoughts of your character made me think, and picture different things in my mind. It was such a resonant work! Well done!

Only one thing I didn't really understand here was this part: 'Fact: Happiness is overrated. Perfect is boring'. What did you actually mean here and what kind of a style is it? Please let me know.

'There’s also my phone (with undeleted history, because really, who cares?), my old fluorescent blue sneakers (they’ve always been my favorite even though they don’t fit anymore), and a crisp white paper tucked beneath a rock.'

Here you could emdashes instead of brackets. It's my personal preference which kinda makes things more interesting.
Keep writing.




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Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:34 am
Tawsif says...






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Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:12 am
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FabihaNeera wrote a review...



Hello hiraeth,

The first thing I want to say is... wow. This is such a beautifully-composed story... I loved every bit of it. I'm leaving a review because I think this deserves to be taken out of the green room. The amount of detailing in this was fantastic. All of the imagery kept me hooked until the end... and I like how you really delve into the thoughts and emotions of this character.

One thing that I want to touch on is the passing of events in this story - like 4revgreen mentioned as well. You did a really good job of focusing on the present time, though not so much in the past - like with this character's family. The letters in the end really show the character's true feelings towards their parents, though this isn't really expanded on in the actual story. Maybe you can add more to what it was like when the character had to experience their parents just "wanting a good life for them". Even with the brother, it may enhance the story more by explaining why the brother jumped. Was it because of the parents too?

And one more thing... is this character a boy or girl? I'm sort of confused because the name is "Ryan" but it states them finding a "husband" somewhere... this is probably just a dumb question xD

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this and I would love to read more of your work!




hiraeth says...


hmm.... ryan is normally a boy's name, now that i research about it, but i've got a friend who's name is ryan and who is a girl sooo.... i think i should change the name to make it less confusing. or change husband to wife?

anyway, thank you so much for your review! i totally understand wanting more past info; but i actually kinda wanted it to be on the mysterious side, you know? like, i wanted the reader ro think. 'what could've happened?' and then run with their own imaginations. it's a little difficult incorporating all the background in a short story, but that's where i'll have to improve, i guess.

thanks for your time. :)



FabihaNeera says...


Yeah, no problem :D A mysterious side to a story never hurts either



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Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:57 am
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4revgreen wrote a review...



Hey, Che here for a review.

Woah, this made feel a lot of things. Mostly, it was sympathy for what Ryan had gone through regarding his brother. You certainly captured his emotional heartbreak in this story, and the way his mind changed after he witnessed his brother jump.

I would, however, have like a little more information regarding these two brothers. Like a little snippet of why his brother chose to jump, or more about their relationship. Just to really make it that touch more emotional.

There was one line that really stood out to me:

I’m blind in a world of blue


I just loved that line. There's a sadness captured in it, and it's so poetic. It made me think about life and death, a lot, which is good; you always want the reader to think when reading something like this.

Keep writing!

Regards, Che :-)




hiraeth says...


Thank You! And I guess I could add a little more about the brother-relationship part. I just added that as a reason for what ryan's doing, but if more people think that something needs to be elaborated there, i'll do it :) Thanks again, for your time and review.



4revgreen says...


No problem :-)




Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
— Captain James T. Kirk