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.
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.
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.
I want this.
And I won’t regret it.