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My Birthday

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Perhaps I will kill myself on my Birthday? Who would care?

11:59 PM Saturday – one minute until my birthday. I had just entered the house from a long day of work and had collapsed on my bed in the pitch darkness and in the silence of the nothingness I felt as if a change were coming.

A single demonic flashing red light from the landline dragged me from my hard bed towards it. The phone beeped, “You have one new message, press one-” I tiredly tapped one to play the message. “Ahem, hello, Andy” Once again he got my name wrong, my name is Blanc. It continued to say, “I’ve rearranged the work schedule; instead of working part-time on Monday you’ll be working overtime on Sunday instead.”

I sighed and mimed ‘that’s the change?’

12:30 AM. I was looking forward to at least one weekend but what can I do besides making sure I get enough sleep to wake for 6:00am? Perhaps I could think about how my boss never remembers my name? Or maybe even better how no one remembers my name? I can picture the Sunday already; the sounds of keyboards drilling inside my head for twelve hours, tap, tap, tap, and the clicking clicks of the mice accompanied by abuse from the boss, “Andy! Damn it, Andy!” he yells for everyone to hear, to laugh and to embarrass me. Even after all of that I’ve acquired a warped sense of humour and laugh, but I can tell with every laugh it pushes me closer to my last breath. Then again, would it be so bad if I died on my Birthday?

No it wouldn’t, but would it change a thing?

12:45 AM. ‘Working on my Birthday’ I thought without any expression or emotion while closing my eyes as I lay defeated on my hard bed. Humph, anyone else would have refused but why didn’t I? Because it’s not my birthday, well technically it is now that I’ve been alive for a decade and six years, but what is all that time really worth when no one will ever care? What is there to celebrate? After all, celebrating one day won’t discard the other days that have come and will come. These ‘special days’ as many call them don’t make a dent in my life. My life is a glass prison where my boss creates the rules, so I seek comfort in watching the free frolic as I once did before the accident. The accident which I dare not talk about but obsessively think about – except at work where there are distractions.






***
Now that my thoughts had changed to the accident I began to drift off into a world of sorrowful memories.
“I can’t live like this!” I whispered with built up angst into my pillow for anyone anywhere that was listening in the world. No reply.

My thoughts are interrupted by a damning sound; a sound that penetrates my heart and travels through my bones like electricity. It is the sounds of birds singing. I jump out of bed like a man on fire but I don’t stop-drop-and-roll, I seize my watch and stare at it until my eyes acclimatise to the still darkness. It reads 6:35AM, in the frenzy the watch slips from my sweaty palms and breaks.
“Work!” I said looking back at my reflection of my red tired eyes in a broken mirror. I began to laugh apathetically and continued, “No, not today...” Grinning, “Today feels like a good day to...Quit”

15 minutes to get dressed and catch the train.

I hurriedly got ready in a disgraceful manner; I moisturized my sad skin, put on a tacky black suit, brushed my aging white teeth and combed my coarse hair into a dignified due ready to face the new day that the golden sun now over the horizon had brought. With every inch that the sun gained in the sky it enveloped my room with its soothing rays. The grey that had grown like mould in my room faded to the sun’s strength. I faced the sun and the sun faced me. My heart beat raced. Lips became dry. An emotion I hadn’t felt in years had come over me; happiness. I wondered how long it would last.
I left my house making sure to lock my door for I know I won’t be coming back. Ever.

I arrive at the train platform with two minutes to spare. The platform was eerily quiet and still. The cold air caused vapour mists as people took deep breathes as if preparing themselves for the worst.

2 minutes until the train arrives. The train screeched like a banshee’s scream and lashed lightning bolts as it roared towards the platform.

1 minute until the train arrives. The train is in view. I’m still happy. I smile.

Etching closer to the edge of the platform with anticipation an enormous energy originating from my gut made me shudder with excitement. I screamed abruptly but no one paid me any attention.

30 seconds.
“This is it!” I shriek and prance around to waiting passengers in a crazed elation but they must think that I am crazy and make no attempt to create eye contact. I shouted it three more times before something stopped me. With less than 10 seconds to go and the round lights on the train growing as it gazed into my eyes, I took one last glimpse of the world. All around me are passengers in long black coats in silence as if in mourning. They lack energy yet it is a beautiful day, the most beautiful I have ever seen. I cannot describe it any further.

Last five seconds.
“Here it goes.” I say not to everybody but just to myself, Blanc, not the guy called Andy.

Then, suddenly, within the space of two seconds two objects averted my lust from the train tracks to behind me. Two little kids aged four and five years old, dirty in mud and scruffy but very jovial. They were unaccompanied by an adult; free. To my amazement the other passengers continued to wait for the train unaware of the vulnerable children. They ran around the platform busily in their own game, paying no attention for their surroundings. They edged closer to the edge. By now the train had paused and the doors whined as they opened. The scene transfixed me for a second; two dirty, filthy kids unattended edging closer to danger.
“Snap out of it, Blanc!” I whispered to myself while shaking my head. “There’s still time.” I turned towards the train tracks ready to jump.
“Happy Birthday, Blanc.” I said in a tone so low that only I could have heard. I closed my eyes and everything went black. I began to lean forward. I took my last gasp.
Then abruptly an innocent sound burned through my ears. “Excuse me, mister” I opened my eyes to see the two children standing at the edge with me. I ignored them and closed my eyes again.
“Here.” My eyes opened once again. The younger child held out his hands filled with mud as if offering it to me. Without smiling I stretched my hand out to take it but the child quickly retracted his hand while smiling and said,
“Happy Birthday”

Whilst smiling I backed away confidently away from the edge to enjoy the rest of my Birthday.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

magnesart said...
Mar. 5, 2011 at 2:52 am:

I really enjoyed this piece! It reminded me a lot of Anna Karenina; especially as the train is approaching and the main character keeps repeating "This is it, this is it".

One of the things I've been wondering, though, is how old is Blanc? In the beginning he says that he is "a decade and six years" old, which would make him 16, and yet he brushes his "aging white teeth" and seems to be living alone. Was it just a typo?

Also, I'm guessing the children were just a figment of... (more »)

 
Kennikenjo replied...
Mar. 5, 2011 at 11:31 am :

Thanks for the detailed feedback :)

The 'aging white teeth' wasn't a typo I added it in to illustrate his stress or state of mind. Additionally, one reason why it appears that Blanc is living alone could be down to the accident which he refuses to talk about.

Originally the children were real  characters but now I actually like the idea of them being a figment of his imagination. I guess I'll leave that up to the reader to decide ;p

The mud was there to show a link b... (more »)

 
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