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Why We Do What We Do

The cottage was Teresa's for the weekend. She shared it with her brother who lived closer, and so he used it more often, but she specified she wanted it all to herself this weekend. The old man had lived here, built it on some land he thought no one would miss. He didn't realize everyone else thought it beautiful too. It stood small overlooking the rock enclave of the shore below. No one ever actually swam here, the gravel sand was not kind to bare children's feet in the summer. It had been just right for Teresa's old man, who had wanted to sit and look out on the ocean in his later years.
Teresa and her brother had not known about the house growing up. Only in the very end did their father ever let them into his secret hideaway because he wanted to die there, but not without them. So he set himself up in his little room, phoned them, and waited for their arrival. Teresa and her brother fell in love with the place as any sane person would, and its beauty combined with their father's poor health laid to rest any resentment they had toward him for keeping it from them all these years. He explained he began building it when Teresa was ten and her brother was eight initially as a surprise for the whole family, but by the time he had finished he had become selfish and wanted it all to himself. It was the home of his affair with himself that all in long term relationships have. Some indulge in solitary movie trips, others in luxurious gifts to themselves. Teresa's father had had his cottage.
Right now it was Teresa's and she understood her father. If she could move everything, the cottage, the ocean, the pebble beach and the cliff beyond to someplace her brother nor anyone else would ever find, she would. Here she could forget anything or anyone ever existed. There was only the cottage and whatever was in sight, and beyond there was nothing. It is dreadful to feel you are shunning or being shunned by the world, but to have it not exist is a relief. She saw why he hid and why he wanted to die here. To leave such a peaceful world and be able to believe the microcosm would forever be peaceful was a comfort. Yes, dying here would be nice.
Teresa had thought about it as often as anyone. Dying. To die in a momentary accident or drawn out medical phenomena, to die of the ominous old age. To die by one's own hand. Everyone thinks about killing themselves at least once in their lives, it's inevitable. On a bad day or when hearing someone else doing it, we all think about ending our lives. (isn't it dreadful to realize everyone else does what you can't admit to yourself you do?)
Teresa had thought about it a great deal. When you're alone you think about it, and Teresa was a solitary creature. She now had the perfect set up. She would do it on a day like today, in a few hours when the sun goes down. She would bring the rocking chair, her father's old rocking chair, down to the pebble beach with her favorite book, Anna Karenina. Once these were in place she would go back to the house and get out to the new bottle of Ambien she had bought from the store today. She would take the bottle and a glass of water with her to the cliff beyond the house overlooking the pebble beach, and she would swallow a few pills one by one. She would only take a few and then return to her chair where she would open to her favorite page and begin to read. After every sentence she would swallow one pill. At last, either when there were no tablets left or her eyes were too heavy, she would settle the book in her lap and pull her shawl around her, and fall asleep. Her limp body being carried away with the rocking chair and Anna Karenina in the tide, a peaceful burial. No one would know what happened, they would assume there had been a momentary accident.
Yes, there is an art to killing yourself, thought Teresa, it's a shame you can only do it once.




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