Just a short story I finished writing last night.
|The pink hue glares into the thick darkness. Old newspapers, food containers, dirt and grime line most of the apartment floor. Neglect, listlessness, apathy, all live here; but something tangible also abides in here.
The sun flows freely over the residence, not welcome, but what choice does anyone have? The brightness starts filling corners, leaving nothing out of its lively wake.
But something glints in response to the sun. It welcomes light, lets it flow and reflect all over it’s body, showing its full fury and force. Except for the trigger. The finger rests on that little piece still.
Of course the man is still alive. He lays sprawled against the wall, legs spread out. Slouched on the wall furthest from the window, the being appears deceased, but the eyes still move, still thrash about, searching. Blue, bloodshot, and alert, they show more emotion than anything else. The blonde hair doesn’t show hurt; the legs don’t reveal this man’s struggle. The arms are flexed and the body muscled, ready for a fight that’s almost lost. Sometimes the most vulnerable times in life are the times where we are the most prepared. It was like that twelve years ago for this same individual.
Vulnerability is a relative term. Some people even use it as an excuse. This same man might have used vulnerability to his advantage twelve years ago, but we may never know. Even he doesn’t know the answer, which may explain his finger on the trigger. Who can say they reacted the right way or justly in a threatening situation? Have you had to make a decision that involved another life?
The lake was glimmering like a diamond, like the gun is in the young man’s hand. But nobody else was out there that morning to appreciate the lake’s beauty. Nobody else was out there when he decided to take a quick dip. At least he thought he was all by himself. But that was all it was supposed to be—a quick dip. No cop cars, no searching the waters for a body.
The jolt of memories sends the gun up to the man’s temple. With a wince and a small squeal barely making the man’s lips move, a tear slides from his wide open eyeball. They’re glued to the gun, glued to the possibility of that object exploding into action. But the finger doesn’t move—the impulse action of the brain isn’t yelling ‘Do it!’, ‘Pull the trigger!’. Slowly the gun backs down to the floor again, asleep. Just like the body floating deeper and deeper into the lake. The same blue eyes as his staring at him, sinking into oblivion.
Anger comes in to join the flourish of emotions. Anger that he can’t pull the trigger. Anger that he can’t move on. Anger that he can’t be forgiven. Anger that he swam so far out. Anger that he didn’t turn around sooner. Anger that he didn’t hear her until it was too late. Anger that he lost his innocence. Anger that he failed.
Anger brought the gun back up, this time to the heart, the center of his trouble. The gun felt so cold, so lifeless against his bare, sweaty skin. He already felt his hand waver, the finger less tense on the pull to death. He let out a whimper of defeat, trying to regulate his breathing. Pressing the gun harder on his skin proves no closer to his demise, and once again the chamber rests on to the carpet.
A soft sob escapes the man’s lips. A wave of desperation hits the man. He wants what he cannot do, but why? It has been a plague for so long, like a limp or a freckle. It has been a constant reminder, a perpetual questioning of his actions and feelings ever since that morning. It follows every move and decision he makes. Crawling behind him like a shadow; not really a part of him but still bound by some dark, torturous alternate reality.
Slowly, with a new resolve, a new feeling of struggle, he nestles the gun between his eyes. For once, the blue eyes, the only color in the dreary room, close with a shudder. A quick, last whimper falls out of this lips. This is it. The finger tightens around the trigger, seconds from Doomsday.
But the loud noise that follows isn’t a gunshot. The phone is ringing. The man’s baby blues open on the second ring as he realizes he didn’t fulfill his plans. The ring fills all space, leaving no room for the man to think or plan or move the gun. Just stunned actions. Just a sense of hopelessness. Again. But the finger doesn’t tighten. The phone rings a fifth time, then a click. Then a charade.
“Hi, you’ve reached Daniel. I’m not here right now; I’m off conquering the world! Just leave a message and I’ll get back to you.” The shrill beep mocks his words, as if it can even read through his mockery of reality.
The burden deepens upon hearing his own words of greatness bounce back to him. The finger starts to liven up, to feel the trigger again. But a small, angelic voice breaks the silence.
“Hi Daddy. Hi. How are you?”
The cold, blue eyes sparkle alive again. Is that Marissa?
“I love you Daddy. I go bed now. Bye bye!”
A lone, reaffirming tear trickles its way down his cheek. His breathing slows, the finger forgetting its purpose. Suddenly, the man doesn’t still see a gun between his eyes. He sees his little three year-old girl, twirling and dancing in front of his vision.
How could he forget about his daughter? His light? She came unexpectedly and unwanted, but that was only at first. She grew up becoming more of a support than a hindrance, but somehow the man had forgotten that. Until now.
The gun lowers as if by itself, mechanical. All the man sees is Marissa dancing around his living room. He puts his hands on the wall and carefully lifts himself up. There’s something to live for. His first step is stumbling, but then he continues toward his Marissa, his apparition. His eyes close as he wraps his arms around nothing. A thin smile spreads across his lips. He finally sees a purpose for him. A beam of warmth settles over him and he opens his eyes. Standing in the sunlight, the baby blues aren’t staring at a gun anymore, but outside, at the bright dawn.