Curtain Call

She looked at the tiny vial in her hands. The vial brimmed with a transparent liquid that caught the moonlight and sparkled deviously. She absentmindedly twirled the vial between her long slender fingers, savoring the feeling of power it accompanied. Her lips were quivering slightly and she felt slightly hot, despite the flapping wetness of the night air.

She gazed out of her window, out to the oak swaying in the windy night. Her windows struggled to smash shut, barely restrained by the rusty stopper. Swirling black clouds blotted out the moon, casting a twisted silver lining of steely light against a mass of black.

She felt the tears begin to rise as she felt the pressure pounding down on her. All through her life, she had been told what to do. She had been expected to study, and ace all her examinations and be the ideal daughter. Her father had made it no secret that he had wanted a son, and never in her life had she remembered a word or act of kindness from her father.

The only thing that she really liked to do was to act. It was her passion, and she felt it liberated her in a  way little else could. When she was on stage, acting, she didn’t have to be herself. She could delve into the personas of noble ladies and foreign diplomats and queens and strong independent women. When she was up there, she could be free. Whenever it seemed like everything was going downhill, she could turn to the theater.

Until her father had decreed that she had grown too old for acting.

And now, she sat in her room, alone. She sobbed heartily, her body wracking with dry spasms of despair. Her entire life, she had been helpless. She had been little more than a tool for her parents to fill their wishes through her entity. She was just a vessel. She could see her life ahead of her, and it was bleak. She didn’t want to lead such an existence at all.

Today was the day, she had decided, that she would take control for once. For the first time, she would do what she wanted and not care. No one had cared for what she had wanted, why should she?

When she had wanted to enroll in summer camp, her father had refused on the grounds that it was pointless.

She had never gone to a field trip. She wasn’t allowed to make any friends. She was allowed to just…exist.

She had had enough. She was going to rebel. One final act of defiance. One final act to break free.

With a steely resolve and shaking hands, she opened the vial and downed it in one gulp.

It was tasteless. 

For a second, as the rush began to subside, the enormity of her decision hit her. What this would mean.

And she came to the realization that she had nothing to live for. No one to live for. Nothing to grasp onto and clutch onto it for support. She envied everyone who had an anchor: a best friend, a parent, a sibling, a wife, a child, a puppy.

She slowly got up from her bed as she began to feel the contents of the vial coursing through her body. At first it began like a slow heat, slowly ascending till it felt like a blazing inferno trapped inside her veins, scorching her from the inside.

The clouds parted and a single moonbeam burst forth through the inky night and pirouetted into the room, illuminating her. She was surrounded by a diaphanous aureole of light, like a final spotlight. 

Her vision began to blur, her breathing growing shallow and painful. Her head hurt with an excruciating throbbing. As she tried to scream, she discovered her vocal chords would not obey.

A strong gust of wind blew, and the rusty stopper gave into the relentless force of the wind. The windows banged shut, the glass resonating with the force of the impact. As the branches of the oak danced in the wind, they bombarded her window.

The howling of the wind, the branches against the glass, it all sounded like the tumultuous roar
of a happy audience. This wasn’t the cacophony of conflict, this was the symphony of appreciation.

A slight smile curled up against the side of her lips, despite the pain. She began to picture, slightly, the thronging mass of people cheering for her in the theater.

Silhouetted against the moonbeam, she felt her legs buckling under the weight that her body had become. Groaning in pain, she sank to the floor as the pain began to crescendo.

Her back arched with mirthless agony of a body trying to persevere, she looked to be bowing for one last time. Her final curtain call. 

Then, as a single tear rolled down her cheek onto the curve of her smiling cheek, she fell to the ground. The pain began to fade, as did the spotlight. And before she knew it, she faded off into the darkness.

One final act of liberation.

One final bow.

Curtains close.

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The Final Step

With the wind howling against my body, I stepped towards the precipice of the cliff staring out to the sea. The wind was belligerently pushing me back, raging with all its might against the direction I wanted to go. The night sky was clear and a million stars blazed overhead. In the middle of the sky, against a velvety black backdrop, hung the moon in all her glory. A glimmering organza of silvery light trickled down from her, casting itself upon the roaring waves and amalgamating into the black water, creating a sparkling visage of melded darkness and light. The tantalizing moonbeams flitted and danced over the vicious water, beckoning by their glitters. Calling towards them. Calling for me to join them.

The wind was cold. And I was clad in just a flimsy shirt and jeans. I had no idea what to wear and I wasn’t aware that there existed any proper attire for ending one’s existence. And I wasn’t too concerned about pneumonia mainly because I didn’t think I would be alive so long for it to pose a problem to me.

I took a deep breath. The frigid air burned my throat but I didn’t care. I felt alive. They say you never feel as alive as when you are near death. They are right.

It was like my body was alerting me to what I was giving up. Because suddenly I felt aware. More aware than I had ever felt before. I was aware of each muscle, each tendon and each nerve in my body. I felt my heart beating ferociously inside me, as if savouring its last moments. I felt the adrenaline coursing through my system. I felt my brain go into overdrive, filing through all of my memories and thoughts, desperately searching for something to dissuade me from my intent. But I didn’t worry. I calmly let my life flash before my eyes. I was in no hurry.

Beneath me the sea was vehemently crashing against the cliffs, the resounding sound amplified by the surrounding cliffs. The resonating sound was like a cacophony around me. The timeless chaotic music of the sea.

My throat was dry. My eyes were dry. My mouth was dry. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t sad. I was just…done.

Too long I lived with the pain. For too long I had survived with these feelings bottled up inside me. I had kept them holed up inside me, stashing them in the back of my head, burying them. Now the dam had burst, and the flood had ravaged me. I was now ready to end it.

The pain had been set free, a demon destroying my happiness.

The regret had been unleashed, a monster ruining my memories.

The hopelessness had been unchained, and now every shred of resolve had been eviscerated.

And I realized what the problem was. My existence caused more pain than it did relief. I was a source of endless discomfort to all those around me. To all those who cared. I didn’t want to cause any more pain. I was tired of hurting others. I was tired of disappointing them. Of disappointing myself.

I was a disgrace.

I was a burden.

I was nothing.

I take one more step. My feet are now on the edge, I am perched precariously on the edge. This thin rock under my feet is the only thing separating me from death; from bliss; from freedom.

I look down to the jagged rocks and the angry waters below me.

I look up to the stars twinkling with such earnest.

I look ahead to the horizon and see sea as far as my sight goes.

I open my arms.

The wind howls again, this time its not that adamant. This time its a melancholic wail. This time its pleading.

I stand on tiptoe.

I am ready.

One last breath.

A single tear escapes my eye and slides down my cheek.

My mouth curls into an involuntary smile.

I send a silent prayer of forgiveness to my friends and family, but they’ll be happier without me.

With that I swing forward on my feet and launch myself over the edge.

The wind whistles in my ear. It beats across my face. It is mind numbingly cold. The water is rushing towards me. The moonlight is reflecting off the water, its iridescence is mesmerizing.

I close my eyes.

I’m flying.

I’m free.

Then there is the impact.

I don’t even feel the pain.

All I feel is silence.

I feel disconnected.

I feel the bliss.

Then I feel no more.