In the early morning, he ambles down the side street out from behind his apartment and around the corner near the bodega where he buys his morning coffee, and, once a month, his allergy medication. Today, oddly enough, he feels no congestion behind his eyes, nor soreness in his sinuses. His mind feels unmuddied and his body light against the cool breeze.

He walks for some time, enjoying the sun on his skin and watching the everyday pedestrians that pass him as he ventures forward. A child rhythmically jumping forward as to avoid the cracks in the sidewalk, an older black woman stumbling along with her week’s groceries in tow, a young man about his age curled in the entrance of a foreclosed building, his head down and his hands out.

He smells sunscreen although he wears none. The light split between the summits of the evergreen trees dares to challenge his vision. As he squints, a memory without clear origin floods his cognisance. The whistle the air would create when pinched between the passenger side window and the door frame of his old Volkswagen. The sickly chlorine aroma of the public pool still clinging to her wet hair. He cannot help but smile, not quite sure whether it is a show of joy or a self defense mechanism against the alternative.

Once more he is concealed by the shade, covered by the shadow of an old cobblestone building. He runs his fingertips against the grainy craftsmanship. Bricks and mortar; placed long before he was ever born. He silently hopes that they will remain long after he is gone. At the entrance to his long-time friend’s apartment, he opens the corresponding mailbox and places his letter within it. He says something, but without anyone there to hear his words, they fall out of space and drift away, carried by the currents of the wind.


As his train dives underground and enters the tunnel, he catches a glimpse of himself in the reflection of the windowpane. He studies the veins running along his forearm. He is in the best shape of his life. He eats healthy, over five servings of fruit per day. Every morning, he takes fish oil supplements. He tries new and interesting ways to integrate garlic into his meals. He wonders if he needs to get more sunlight.

The drone of the train burrowing itself underneath the city lulls him into a calm, submissive state.

He ponders the physiology, and in turn, the apex point of the human body. The Olympic athletes, the Marines and Navy SEALs, Buddhist monks and prize fighters. The idea of the hero, the modern superman whose physical body is surpassed only in greatness by his own moral compass. With more time, could he have the perfect body. With more time, could he become a better person.

For an instant, he senses the self-loathing creeping along the edges of his psyche and forces it outward. He, in what he believes to be a very simple and childlike wish, yearns for the absence of pain. He longs only to close his eyes at night and sleep in a realm beyond nightmares.

The sunlight blooms back into his world, and the claustrophobic trance of the tunnel is left behind him.


He sits still a top a green pastured hill, in a public park 30 minutes from the dense metropolitan area where he resides. Through the magnified lenses of his binoculars, he watches two people recite their vows. His nerves have settled, and his breathing has returned to its regular pace. It feels like an eternity that he had waited for her to call, every drunken night when the hour had run so late it had turned to morning. When he reveled in memories of them together, he was subconsciously sure she was dreaming the same dreams. The eyeholes of the binoculars fog and he wipes them off with his shirt before pausing a moment, unsure whether he really wants to gaze through them once more.

What a beautiful dream he had dreamt, if only for a moment. He had believed it to be a wonderful omen of a future more possible than not to come true.

He was so sure she could love nobody but him, but with one look upon her smile, the creases in the corners of her eyes contorting joyously, his adamant conviction is left shattered.

He is kicked to death there on that hill, by what feels like an infinite assault from faceless monsters.

He thinks the world has turned, but with a stabbing jolt of realization, he knows deeply and rationally that it has not.

Certainly, he had not put so much significance in just one woman. One girl. No. This was just the final beating. After a life lived so powerlessly, in a world so indifferent.

He is one man. A noose is wrapped around his neck. He is plunging through an immeasurable darkness. The rope protruding from his neck is unending, and whatever it is tied to is so far above him he could never hope to lay his eyes upon it. Beneath him are the screeches, the bestial howls of apes gone hungry and mad. Gnashing their teeth until their gums bleed and their eyes burst from their sockets. Covered in their own excrement and the gore of their peers. Their vehement eyes sorrowfully cut him down to his bone. And as this one man is plunged deep into this sea of screaming, hating darkness, he wonders if he is meant to feel hopeful.

He wonders would a candle flame feel insignificant under the heat of a scorching sun, if only it could?

There are cheers of celebration in the field below the hill. A gentle gust blows the blades of grass against the metal shell of a pair of binoculars.


It is night by the time he reaches the bridge. Every so often, the water beneath him breaks upon the cement beams suspending the structure. The wooden docks bend and creak undertow.

He is lost in thought, sometimes coherent, most times not. He believes the nature of men is to desire, and the nature of women is to obsess. This is a world without love; there are only these two ideas which give a semblance of what we would truly believe it to be. He concludes that the fall of every individual is the moment they give in to the nature of the opposite sex as their own.

As he takes in the blackness of the river below, one word comes to mind.


How much of it had he squandered?

The days and nights he had only existed to count the moments he spent without her.

He thinks time attempts to fill more space than it ever possibly could, and in doing so creates little more than struggle. Were time a currency, how much would he have to spend to become happy. How much had he wasted already? With what he had left now, could he afford that which he most deeply desired? He could no longer live with the answer. A life spent in indecision had accrued more debt than he could pay off.

Tonight is a good night. A good a night as any to take a plunge.

He places his wallet down against the cement. A marker for those who may come searching for him. A deep breath of the night’s air, and a few more words, spoken without ears present to hear them.

He raises his right leg to overcome the railing, but in a stopping instant he is covered in light. His panicked instincts tell him to give one last push. But there is a voice within the glow. His friends are here, they’re telling him they are going to have a couple drinks, and to get in the car. His leg is already back down. Had they seen him reaching for the edge? Had his instinct instead forced his body down rather than over? It no longer matters. He is walking toward the car. After opening the door and planting himself in the backseat, he tells them to wait. He ventures back into the quiet night, kneeling down and pulling his wallet from the cold granite plane. The car door closes behind him this time. They do not ask, and he stares out the window, up at the sky, at the stars and the constellations that he does not understand.

Soon, they are laughing, and not long after, he is laughing with them. And then they are drinking, and he is drinking with them. And a time he thought would fail to come is being spent with them.


In his friend’s apartment, they listen to loud music and play cards. They smoke and they drink and they curse and they laugh. After some time, he finds his way to the washroom. As he zips his fly back up, mindful of the urine he splattered against the edge of the porcelain, he notices a familiar article sitting in the trash. A letter he had written to say goodbye.

The letter is torn and its remnants lay scattered in a wastebasket.