Time can be a very interesting phenomenon, as many have observed before me. It stretches, vast and endless, as we wait impatiently for something much anticipated to arrive, or the special day to finally get here, or the end of school for all the squirming, restless kids. It can be interminable, while we wait for the diagnosis, the lab results, the next appointment that is available: “TheDoctoronlyseespatientsonalternateThursdaysinmonthsthataresafetoeatoystersthataren’thurricaneseasononthetropicalislandthatGilligandiscovered,whenhe’shadoatmealforbreakfastnotGilliganofcoursebuttheDoctorhadoatmealShallImakethatappointmentforyounowsir?”
Or, it can be astonishingly fleet, hours passing in a heartbeat of two entwined lovers, one position flowing to another and exhaustion setting in, with the realization that it wasn’t an hour, it was four. The brief glimpse of an afternoon, which speeds by in hardly the time it takes to turn the page when buried and engrossed with your favorite authors, be they novelists or bloggers.
How quickly indeed, an entire year can fly by, even when many, many of the days that comprise this twelve-month dragged with the slowness of molasses.
It has been about a year- (forgive me, but the exact date has actually been lost to my mind, and I’m not sorry about that)- it’s been a year since that day when in the midst of despair, buried under the crushing weight of black, cold darkness when absolutely nothing at all was even slightly, even remotely interesting; a year, since that dark, dark July day that I made the decision. It was, at the time, the only sensible thing to do- I marveled at my own slowness, my own stupidity. How could I have not *seen*? How, for a reasonably intelligent middle-aged man, could I have been so *dumb*?
The answer, it came to me blindingly, and I welcomed it, embraced it, cherished it, for it offered the solution- the pain, the dark despair, the hurt, oh, the constant never-ending soul grinding pain-
Kill yourself, and it will stop. There will be no more pain, no more darkness, no more bone-deep cold that no external temperature ever changes.
It was so seductive, so wonderfully soothing, that thought, that whisper from the black depths of my hell:
“If I were to kill myself, just think! Not only will it take away the pain, but Lynn, the kids- they’ll be better off too! They don’t need you, you’re in the way, they’re happy as long as you are the invisible man with a wallet. Why, they probably wont even miss you!
“Oh, sure, they’ll be a little sad maybe, at first, but they’ll soon realize that their lives will go on, just as before, and Lynn, she’ll appreciate one less person to take care of, a little more space in her bed, more time to play her games.
“The kids, they’re young, they’ll get over it, and they deserve a better father anyway, if you’re gone, maybe they’ll fix Lynn up, and have a dad that they deserve, you’re worthless as a father anyway.
“Go on, die a little, it’s better for all in the long run.”
So said the black thing, on that sunny day. I left my office, left my computer and chair and desk and the cells that we call cubicles. I left, and drove; my thinking was clear, I was going to head north and west, and I had just the spot- if I continued (as is normal for that area) at eighty miles-per-hour, and twisted the wheel just *there*, I would hit the bridge stanchion just so, and peace would be mine.
It had to be the bridge, you see, if I went tidily for pills (my other option), it would invalidate the insurance; and, I wasn’t so far gone even then, as to think leaving my children paupers would be a good idea.
A year, since then, and time has flown. I remember, as clearly as if it were yesterday, that day- bright sun, dark, dark shadows on my world. Clear blue skies, and all I could see was my own despair.
Obviously, I didn’t twist the wheel. I thank God, and Frank Warren, and Casie every single day. God, for letting me pass an accident, showing me that someone would have to clean up.
Frank, for constructing his project PostSecret, which book I had purchased not long before.
And Casie, for the letter she’d written, regarding the suicide hotline number that could be found in that book.
Now, I look back, and marvel- not at the simple clarity of my conviction that the only thing left was to die, but at the sneakiness of the Black Thing. Twisted, evil, malaevelent, wanting only pain, and in the end death, is the Black Thing. Disguised as a peaceful solution, offering the way out, and I almost fell for it. Missed it by about 8 inches, which I shall be eternally grateful for, now.
Amazing, where the time goes, isn’t it?