The dark haired man's stomach dropped as two intimidating co-workers entered the elevator, their gossiping coming to a halt once they saw him slouching awkwardly in the corner of the small space. They both looked back in judgment, looking him up and down, before the one on the left spoke. "Good morning, how was your night?" She directed it at the man in an aggressive tone and a faux smile, but he did not look up or acknowledge what she said, instead he kept his head down and eyes on the floor. The co-worker on the right scoffed at the man's rudeness in ignoring the other and, in response, she whispered loud enough for him to hear, “How pathetic." The man slouched farther into his corner and his lips began to quiver as he felt the impact of their ridicule. These looks and comments happened every morning, making work a dreadful place for him to be, but he would just silently pray for the elevator speed to increase. When his floor came, he muttered, "Thank God,” under his breath and quickly shuffled by them to exit.
Before going to his desk, the man made a sudden turn and opened the door to the men's room, locking it behind him. He let out a few jagged breathes before loosening his tie and
resting this weight against the sink, looking at his reflection. "You got this, Guy," he spoke to himself in false confidence. "Just one more day and you'll be free from this." After a few more minutes had passed, he had finally calmed down enough to muster up the courage to straighten his suit and make his way to his desk. "One, two, three, four..." Guy counted his steps and stared down at his worn leather shoes, careful not to make eye contact with anyone in fear that they’ll start an unwanted conversation. When he had reached the count of forty-five, he arrived at his desk but the cardboard boxes in the one directly across caught his attention.
Out of confusion and curiosity, Guy walked into the other desk and looked at the lids of the boxes for any labeling or the name of his new co-worker. He noticed one on the ground with a few scribbles on it and picked it up to try to make out the lettering, but just as he stood back up, a young woman unknowingly approached him from behind.
"Is this your desk?" She asked with a panicked tone, worried that she had made a mistake.
Guy jumped, frightened at her sudden appearance, but he quickly regained his balance and set the box down on the desk next to him. "N-no, it's not," he nervously stuttered his words and avoided eye contact with the women now in front of him. "I just d-didn't know that they already hired someone."
She nodded at his response, looking him up and down before an awkward silence fell over the two. Guy was giving her an uncomfortable blank stare for he didn't talk much and didn't know how to properly carry on a conversation - he was secretly wishing that the women would tell him to leave. They stood there for a while in thought, until the blonde shot out her hand. "I'm Jane, by the way. I just transferred here from headquarters."
"I'm G-Guy; I've been working at this branch for the past three months. If you h-have any questions, my desk is right across from yours." He shook her hand and gestured over to his desk space decorated in popular tourist sites from all around the world.
Jane looked where he pointed. "Do you travel a lot?" she asked excitedly, finding adventure interesting herself.
"No, but I've always wanted to." Guy smiled at the thought, and since this was his first time expressing any emotion towards her beside nervousness, Jane smiled back.
"Why haven't you?"
Guy fell silent after the question – he was deep in thought, wondering should I tell her the truth, or just give her the answer she wants to hear so this interaction could be over? After a few moments of silence, he realized that he felt comfortable enough with her so far to be honest with her, but still leaving out some gruesome details. "I just don't have the kind of money it takes to go to those places," he took a deep breath before further answering. "I went to medical school for six years, which left me with a drained bank account and student loans to pay off.
Jane nodded, but then gave him a puzzled look. "If you went to medical school then why are you here? You could be saving lives right now."
Another silence fell upon them and Jane immediately regretted what she asked, seeing how Guy's expression changed and he now looked pained at the answer to her question, yet he still offered an answer. "I got a few too many DUI's – I didn’t have a problem, I was just a stupid college kid – but because of that, they kicked me out," he explained and let out a chuckle. "And the a**holes still made me pay for the rest of the semester I missed."
Giving a half-hearted laugh, Jane did not believe that was the full truth because of his hesitation to tell her, but she didn’t dare press him any further. It was obvious that he didn’t want to talk about it – at least, not with her. "Well, thank you for the warm welcoming," she started and held her hand out for a parting shake. "I’ll see you around?"
Guy stood there staring at her for a second for her kindness was startling to him. "Y-yeah," he finally said and shook her hand, "See you around."
She gave him a warm smile as he left and once he got to his desk, he sat for a moment in disbelief that someone was actually nice to him and seemed to enjoy his company. None of his other co-workers, or any human being for that matter, had tried to be kind to him since college – then again, he never reached out to anyone. Too bad I won't see her after today, he thought before giving Jane a side-glance, then diving straight into his work.
Guy indulged himself in his work for the next eight hours, tuning everyone else out and working hard to get every project he had for the day done on time. When it was 7:00PM, Guy sighed in relief and packed up his suitcase in a rush, eager to go home to his small apartment. Jane was still there too, transitioning from unpacking to typing away on her computer, but Guy's movements got her attention, so she stood up from her desk to bid him farewell. He steps out and noticed Jane standing by her desk as if she is waiting for him to say something. "Um, goodbye," he awkwardly waved at her and she did the same with one of her heart-warming smiles before going back to work. Guy's face flushed in embarrassment at his strange behavior and it stayed that way when he got onto the bus that would take him home.
He begun to think of everything he had in store for himself behind the dark-wood door that lead to the place he called home, and his mood changed at the thought. Guy was no longer flushed with embarrassment, he was now flushed with excitement – he was not able to contain his feelings as he broke out in a crooked smile and shuffled in his seat. "Sir, are you okay?" A small, older woman with dark -skin asked Guy, touching his shoulder lightly. He turned to her and faintly recognized her face realizing she rode this bus every day with him, but he didn’t really know her. "Sir?" She asked again, a look of worry prominent on her face.
Guy shook his head with a little laugh before placing his hand on top of hers. "I'm okay, just excited for plans that I have today," he said and gave her a reassuring smile. Guy didn't realize what he was doing – how easily he was communicating with someone else without having an ounce of anxiety in him. "Thank you for asking, dear,” he added and let go of her hand. The older woman gave him a smile and quickly nodded before returning to her seat on the bus.
A few more blocks, he arrived at his stop and Guy was still just as giddy as he was on the bus as he went into the apartment building, climbed the stairs in a rush, and unlocked his apartment door. The moment Guy got into his apartment he dropped his suitcase on the old, outdated and stained carpet. He began to prepare for what he had been planning for himself for months now, laying a painting tarp on his bed and tucking it in perfectly to make sure the whole surface was covered. Then Guy went to his bedside table where lay his loaded .44 Magnum that his father had passed on to him in his will, as well as a pen and paper. On the inside, Guy was
jumping for joy that this day of planning had finally come – months ago, he set this date for him to kill himself for, in his mind, it seemed that this was how he was meant to go and the only thing he thought could make him happy.
Guy took the pen in hand and began to write his suicide note that would give at least some answers to those who would be the ones to find his body.
For whoever finds this, trust that this was the right decision for me. I am sorry to those who I am inconveniencing with my decisions, but life has become too much of a burden for me to continue anymore and all I wish is to escape this constant pain.
My life was ruined thanks to my reckless mistake I made a year ago today on that drunk night and my actions haunt me every day. I can't get the image of that poor woman’s body slamming against my windshield and shattering it as she continued to roll all the way over my car, till her body flew to the ground – she looked like a rag doll. Every night, I dream of what happened – of what I did - and I can’t take it anymore. Knowing that I am the reason she can't walk anymore – I destroyed her life. I can't live with myself, the guilt is so pressuring I feel like I’m being strangled.
Her suffering is all my fault, and nothing I will ever do to help will change what I did, but maybe this can even things out – my life for the life she could've lived. I don't know if there is anyone who would even care if I did die, so I'll stop being a burden and end it before I make any more mistakes – before I hurt anyone else.
Please, forgive me.
Wiping away the stray tears that had fallen as he wrote, Guy folded the paper neatly setting it on the bedside table and grabbed the loaded gun instead. His confident feelings from earlier vanished and he was filled with jumbled emotions as he was fully understanding what he was about to do. Nevertheless, Guy held the gun to his head, the cold barrel of the gun making him shiver as it rested against his skin. Breathing heavily, he loosely held the trigger but couldn't find it in himself to pull it.
"Common," he whispered to himself, staring the gun head on. "Just do it already." But he couldn't, instead he sat there for a seemingly never-ending amount of time before throwing the gun with all his might at the ground by his feet and broke into a fit of frustrated sobs. "T-they were right; y-you are p-pathetic! Y-you can't even k-kill y-yourself correctly!" Guy screamed at himself while hitting his head with his fists in anger, so confused with his reluctant actions. He thought, earlier today I would have pulled the trigger, but what is stopping me now? What changed?
That question clicked something in his head – but it was not the gun – he realized that Jane is what had changed, as well as the old woman on the bus. No one in Guy's life showed that t hey cared about him until today – no one showed him that he could be happy even after what he did, except for them. At work, even after spending nearly fifteen years there, he did not know any of his co-workers’ names, and they never got to know his. But, with Jane, she talked to him – got to know him, and even waited to say goodbye to him when he left. Guy knew he could be over analyzing and overthinking, but the small sliver of hope that these thoughts gave him was enough for him to find the will to put the gun away – for now.