-The Failed Act-
Catherine adds this piece she wrote 7 years ago:
I almost died.
I was alone and depressed with no one around.
No one would hear the shot. I was unemployed, no one would miss me at work. My landlord wouldn't even miss me until the rent was at least two months over due. I was a cop, he trusted me. He never knew I turned in my badge under a cloud of shame.
He would never know my pain. No one would smell me as I rotted. No one was there. No one cared.
I almost died. I don't remember what set me off, what made me load my gun. I loved that gun. It was different from the other cops guns. More stylish. More friendly looking. More powerful. The other cops joked about it. They always kidded me. I know they respected me. I was different. Kinder. More compassionate. My car smelled like lost dogs, confused old ladies and the cookies that they gave me. Their cars smelled like mace snuff and sweat. They liked me because I was different but they never knew why. Why I was always there when someone called, why I never complained when woke up from a sound sleep. Why I never raised my voice needlessly. Why when I did people listened.
I almost died. I loaded it with some really good ammo. The kind regular people aren't supposed to have. The hard hollow pointed ones only cops could get. There would be no second chance. There would be no turning back when I pulled that warm friendly trigger of my protector one last time. I said goodbye to all my friends. The ones who abandoned me. The ones who said they would stand by me but were not there. I said goodbye to my family who I could never talk to comfortably because of my ghosts. I said goodbye to my boys who would never understand why I had to go. Why I had never really been there.
I almost died. I remember I cried. I cried like I had never cried before, I had been crying a lot but this was different. My vision went to black and white. I apologized to my Mother. I apologized for breaking the promise I made to her on that Christmas day when my sister died. I told her that all the rest of her children would out live her. She knew I spoke the truth. She remembers the times I would tell her things as a kid that would come true. She knew I was different. She knew. My hearing was gone, my head buzzed with what I was about to do. It wasn't me controlling my body anymore. I was committed. I was finished. I had nothing to live for. No friends. No family. No career. No hope.
I almost died. I don't remember what room I was in at my rented home. Not to many miles from the big old rambling house I had started to restore. Not to far from the loving spouse who I would do anything for that rejected me. Not far from the friends, job, dreams and life that had been dashed from my hands like a cat dashes the very song out of the bird it stalks. Not far from the life I ruined.
I almost died. And then I heard a laugh. Not a human laugh. Not a friend, relative, co-worked, or stranger. I was on the verge of death and someone laughed.
I almost died and someone laughed. People made fun of me for a lot of reasons. People made fun of my phobias. People made fun of my cloths. People made fun of my dreams and people made fun of my pet. I didn't own a dog. I didn't own a cat. I had one pet the entirety of my adult life and it was a bird. Not a parrot. Not a grand white cocktail. It didn't talk. It didn't do tricks. It didn't even sit on my shoulder when I wanted it to. It was a dove. A stupid, little, dirty white dove. And it laughed. I wanted to go. I wanted to die. I wanted the pain to stop and I wanted it now. But that bird laughed. Who the hell is going to feed that stupid creature now if I blow my brains out. Oh for Christ's sake she's so stupid she'll sit there and look at my dumb, overweight, stinking dead body waiting for me to feed her until she starves to death. Why I ought to pull two rounds off with this 45 and make the first one the birds for interrupting me. Because
I WANT TO DIE.
Then slowly like a creeping fog dissipating I started to realize what I was doing. I was staring at the end of my gun. Intending to end my life. My life. My life. For what? For what? Nothing is worth this. Nothing! Life may suck but it beats the alternative. Oh my God. I almost died. I almost died. So now what. I am still here. I am still breathing. I am not oozing out all over some cheap rented carpet. What do I do? What do I do? I am all alone there is no one to call. There is no place to go. Oh God. I almost died. Oh my God.
I almost died.
My vision is coming back. My hearing is working. That stupid bird was here a minuet ago. Where the hell is she? Probably off doing one of the few activities she seems to enjoy. Crapping some place where I will step on it in the middle of the night. Oh my God. I almost died. Unload the gun. Unload the gun. Jesus you made it this far don't get killed unloading the gun. Put it away for tonight. Sell it tomorrow. That was way to close. Get a drink. Get a whole lot of drinks until you fall asleep. Drink until the sun comes up but first just unload the gun. You proved to yourself that you COULD do it. Now unload the gun. Put it in its case. Shut the lid. You never have to look at it again. It will be gone by tomorrow afternoon with a few phone calls. Put it by the door. It is not yours anymore. Now drink. Drink until you are stupid. Drink until you are sick. Drink until you pass out. Drunk, stupid, crying, unemployed, hopeless and alone but alive. Just make it until the sun comes up and then you can figure out what do to.
Oh my God, oh my God, oh my GOD!! I almost died.
I don't know if I slept. I doubt if I dreamed. I doubt it because I don't think the dead have dreams. I know I was never happier to see the sun. But it was different. I had made peace with everyone because I was going to die. I came to terms with my screw ups because I was going to die. I accepted my mistakes and my bad choices because I was going to die. I cleaned my slate because I wouldn't go until I did. But I didn't go. I didn't die. The sun is up and now it doesn't matter. Now it doesn't constantly eat at me how my life turned to crap. Now it doesn't matter that the people I loved the most rejected me. It doesn't matter because.
I almost died. The bird is calmly sitting on the part of the couch where I rest my head when I watch TV among several little green puddles. I will clean those up some time before the news. My prize Sig Saur is sitting beside the door in it's travel case with a little bag of ammo beside it calmly waiting to take the ride into town. I don't even open the case for one last look at its two tone finish before I put it in the Jeep. Someone will adore owning this gem. I am done with it. I am done with pain. I am done with destitution. I am done with depression. I am done with what might have been because,
I almost died. So what now. Gone is the life I was so desperately holding on to. Gone is the familiar. Gone is the comfortable. Gone is the proven. All that's left is me. Me without the expectations of friends. Me without needing to keep up appearances for the sake of keeping a marriage together. Me without a reason anymore to lie about who I am. Me without anything to loose because it was all taken away by people I trusted. People I believed in when I didn't believe in myself. Emotionally I am stripped down to the bare minimum. Finally there is nothing to loose by being me. There is no reason to go on living the lie. Mother always said that lies have a way of catching up with you. My God, that is what happened. I am shaking. I am confused and scared as I walk out the door on the first day of my new life. I am scared but confident that I will never live that night over as long as I live. I am shaking and have a tear in my eye as I turn the door knob to leave. Finally confident that I know what needs to be done. What always needed to be done but until now had been out of my reach. Out of my reach because I was afraid to stretch my arms to their fullest until my balance was in jeopardy and my own personal safety was at risk. I stepped out into the crisp mountain air on the first day of my new life and as I did the bird laughed.
I almost died but I didn't.
Or did I?