Absent




    Absent

 

 The Sun had slid past the western horizon. An azure blue hung over the small island strand, and he could see it from his south facing window.

 

He was happy. He lay propped up next to his bed, leaning against the old futon. A cool draft  blew in from the window, it softly wove through his long blond hair. He had grown it since the last time they had shaven him on base. He liked the length and how soft as it felt as it waved over the sides of his cheeks.

 

He was reading “A history of Danish Dreams” By Peter Hoeg. It wasn’t his favorite book, but he liked the prose, and it reminded him of Danmark, where he had been happiest, among the wheat and rye fields, and the windmill that stood above the hilly village...

 

His eyes began to scan around him, the modern lamp light lit the room with a soft yellow glow. It made all of the colors of the room match: the honey futon frame, the blonde dressers, the pine laminate floors, the white walls, white window shades, and white closet. It was perfect.

 

 He looked again at the lamp and its yellow light vaulting into the ceiling and over the room. He thought he should think of all the happy times in his life, and a few came to him. But what he felt the most was that feeling that stopped everything, that let him know that he was worth less than most and that he was only a burden to others.

 

A few tears rolled over his cheeks. they were warm as they crawled down his cold chin and fell over onto his shirt. It was cold now, and he was happy for that, because its never cold in Florida.

 

He was happy it was going like this. His life had never really started, and the only thing he saw beyond this was either homelessness, poverty, hunger, and all the things that his country didn’t want to think about. He’d known it would come to this. He knew it a year ago. He knew it more last Christmas, and more during their vacation in France. He knew it when he was fourteen, and twenty, and twenty six. His father had done the same, and his father too.

 

It wasn’t because people didn’t care about him, many did, but they never understood, and when he tried to explain they didn’t know how to help. It wasn’t because he’d been unemployed for so long, but that didn’t help.

 

He had listened to all of the songs that made him cry before he did it, it didn’t make it easier, it didn’t make it harder. 

 

He began to feel a tug of weariness at the edges of mind, the draw toward sleep, like quicksand. He had researched the effects and knew that it would cause an initial drowsiness, but that his body would rebel and go into convulsions. He would probably start vomiting and experience neuropathy. But it was the best way he thought, he didn’t want to go like his father, who had used a rifle on his front porch, in front of everyone, for no reason.

No, he wanted this to be clean. 

 

But it wasn’t so easy as he felt a wave of fear brake over him. Somehow, your body always knows, and continues to fight even when you don’t want it to. You're always afraid of death, no matter how old or young you are, whether you've had time to think about it or not, and whether its fast or slow. We're all constantly dealing with death.

He thought about the wife that loved him less, the mother that used to, his kind grandmother, his friends. He was scarred, but the fear didn’t last and soon, before he knew it, he was gone.

 

It takes time to make the right decision. It takes time to find the strength to do so. Some come, but some remain there too.