Who are you, that you should forget the Lord your maker, who has stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the Earth?
All day long the thought of death has taunted him. It was there in the morning, fleeing swiftly from his muggy dreams to squat malignantly in the shrill sound of his alarm. It followed him to the bathroom, staring from the mirror as he stood motionless, waiting for his toothbrush and comb to wake him up. In the kitchen, at the bus stop, on the sidewalk, all day long in the unending toil of his mindless job, it hovered there next to his ear, whispering its evil little mantras and chants. The time has come. Today’s the day. There’s no point. Give it up. She’s gone forever. There’s nothing left. This is it. This is all. There’s nothing more. Forever and ever and ever.
In the silent apartment, he nukes a tray of something he couldn’t name if you put a gun to his head. Lets it cool completely in the microwave while he watches nothing on the wall. Throws it away. Turns the TV on and cycles through all the channels he has, his eyes wandering the screen like an alien’s might. There’s a razor blade in the medicine cabinet. He turns the TV off. There’s drain cleaner under the sink. There’s a cliff down by the water. There’s a tide coming in to get him every few hours. He could go stand on the sand and wait.
Turns on the shower and watches it run. Turns it off.
Death. So easy. Why not? Why? There is no reason one way or the other.
There are no reasons at all anymore.
The phone rings. He watches the wall and waits.
“Matt? … Matt, it’s your mother. Pick up, ok? … Ok, listen, Matt, I know this is tough, but come on, you can’t just drop off the face of the Earth, ok? You know she wouldn’t want that. Matt, pick up… Ok, I’m coming over. I know you’re there. I’m coming over. Just wait for me, ok? Matt? … Wait for me, ok?”
He watches the wall and waits.
He’s no longer sure exactly what he’s waiting for. He spent so long waiting for her, and then he found her, and now she’s gone, and now he’ll wait again. There’s a razor blade in the medicine cabinet. There’s drain cleaner under the sink. This is it. This is all. There’s nothing more. Forever and ever and ever.
When the knock comes, he’s standing in the bathroom, turning the razor blade over and over in his hands. She rattles the knob, knocks again, calls out his name. He stands and waits for nothing.
Long after she’s gone quiet, he slips back down the short hall to the dark living room, the blade gone, somewhere, somehow. He can see her car sitting on the street below his window. For no reason he can think of, he tiptoes to the door, lays his ear against it. Oh, no. Not again. Not still.
“Oh, Lord God,” she’s whispering, “please help my son. He’s so lost and alone,” and now his tears come. He can see quite clearly, through the wooden door, that she’s standing with her forehead pressed against the other side, between her hands. He places his hands over hers, through the door, two inches away, a million miles away. He stands with his hands against hers, his head bowed over hers, and cries silently until he realizes she’s gone.
There’s a razor blade in the medicine cabinet. There’s drain cleaner under the sink. This is it. This is all. There’s nothing more. Forever and ever and ever.