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Mourning

An alarm goes off. It’s an ordinary alarm with the same grating tone that beeps in two second intervals at 7 o’ clock each morning. His hands rummage through the piles of paper, past his watch, keys and wallet, to anxiously turn off the sound. He yawns and struggles to get out of his Temperpedic bed, no longer a restful place. He looks out the window at the pouring rain and bloated clouds that hinder the sun from shining its rays of light. The 26-year-old law school graduate tilts his head away from the window. He doesn’t want to look out the window anyway. It’s just as rainy as it was that day. No, that day was darker, with a greenish haze. The man forces his strongly-built but small body to get up. He slowly walks across the eco-friendly, no-glue cork floor that he ordered from Spain, to the bathroom. He opens the mirrored door of the medicine cabinet, finds the long, round, orange case and immediately pops two pills into his mouth. Closing the cabinet, he glances at the mirror that reflects the image of his olive-skinned face, and begins to scrutinize every feature: droopy green eyes, pointy nose, broad forehead and big lips. He realizes that he has not shaven for a significantly long time. He runs his fingers across his cheeks and chin to feel the disorganized and dirty stubble, which reminds him of the rough grass he used to exercise on every Saturday morning. With a resigned sigh, he treads downstairs to the kitchen and wonders whether he should replace the linoleum floors. He opens the sparsely-filled refrigerator and settles upon the Chinese take-out that he had ordered last night, the red box that is stuffed with brown noodles and rice. Deciding whether to sit down or stand up while eating, he notices the note that keeps finding its way onto his kitchen table. He retrieves this note. The letters huddle together in small cursive:

HENRY. Come over, I want to tell you something. It’s important. Call me when you get this. Kyle.

Out of habit, he crunches up the note and thrusts it to his right, although it lands a mere three feet away. He throws the food into the plastic garbage can. He barely ate but his stomach is upset. Hands on his belly and mouth above the garbage can, he abruptly throws up. Now he has a headache. His hands are trembling, his eyes are closed and his lower face below the lips is dripping with saliva and puke. Millions of thoughts are rushing through his head, especially the thought of that day, that day which changed his life, that day for which he is to blame. It is the only thing in his head. It’s my fault, it’s my fault, it’s all my fault. He remembers that day with haunting clarity. Every movement, detail, and word. The dark sky. The paralysis.

The fog had refused to clear and the rain poured like the candies into a pillow case on Halloween. But still, he drove towards Throgs Neck Bridge, where he had planned to meet his friend. He honked his horn at the car in front of him as a useless effort to hurry the busy traffic. Out of the corner of his left eye, he noticed his friend, steadily advancing toward his Avenger SXT Sedan 4D, his new car which he had recently bought for $17,495. It had been an amazing deal. He got out of his own 1998 Honda Accord to greet Kyle. Instantly, he knew something was wrong. His friend was doused in cold rain, his Ralph Lauren buttoned jacket, white collared shirt and brown corduroy pants all ruined. He didn’t speak as he stared into the eyes of his friend, the same sky-blue eyes that were now as pale as fluorescent lights. He knew his friend had been going through a rough patch. The death of his baby while she was still in her mother’s womb, the unexpected loss of his job and the cancer that was slowly killing his father all contributed to his sadness but the eyes, the round eyes that stunned him, told him something different. “Enough is enough, you know?” Kyle shouted into the storm. Henry stared. It felt too much like a cinema plot twist to be happening in real life. But it was. “He was fine a week ago,” Henry repeated as he talked to himself into staying calm. “Totally fine. Coping well. Dreading the holidays, sure, regretting the new car, but still fine.” Kyle began walking backwards towards the bridge. He was waiting for Henry to stop him. Henry was waiting for someone to yell “cut!” He wouldn’t. Right? He just wouldn’t. There’s no way. Kyle’s body trembled as if there were an earthquake with a magnitude of unimaginable scale, but Henry stood and watched. Kyle was over the rail. Henry watched. This isn’t happening. It’s not possible. Kyle closed his eyes, and let one of his hands dangle free. Henry watched. Kyle’s remaining fingers slowly released.

The alarm beeps. 7:00 am. It is gray again, as gray as it was that day.





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