Water drops were falling on Holden’s head but he barely registered them. Sitting in his bathtub under the shower head, he was too busy focusing on his decision to move. Today was the day. He couldn’t take any more. The fake smiles and unrealistic expectations. The condescending looks when they thought he couldn’t see. He did see and now he couldn’t get them out of his head. Nothing was going the way it was supposed to. When he had graduated from high school everyone had made it sound like becoming an adult was this amazing, exciting adventure. His grandmother had beamed and told him, “Your whole life is ahead of you!”
When he had graduated from college everyone had again made it sound like everything was falling into place. Unless his place was at a mind-numbingly boring building with co-workers that would push him in front of a bus in order to get credit for his work, then everyone had lied to him. If that really was his place, then his decision was long overdue. That presentation had taken him three weeks to put together. He had worked weekends and hours of overtime only to have the credit completely stolen by his manager. Again. He had even skipped his sister’s birthday party to finish it on time. Bethany…
He let the knife in his left hand drop to the floor as he curled up, arms wrapping around his knees. He lowered his head and tried to think of anything but her face. He should have gone to her birthday instead of working. It had been a month since he’d last seen her and he felt enormous guilt over that but there always seemed to be something in the way. Work or some obligation to a “friend” that couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone when he called. The adult life they had been so eager to get to that ended up leaching every bit of happiness out of him. No. His plan was still the only way. But...he still longed to hear her voice.
His eyes were pulled to his phone on the counter next to the sink. Staring at it, he debated calling her. While he knew the rest of his family would be shocked and hurt by his actions, the only one he regretted leaving behind was Bethany. She was his twin. They had shared so much growing up and his eyes teared up thinking of her. Oddly, she was the only one he felt guilty over leaving. Not his mother, father, grandmother, or anyone else. Only Bethany was he tempted to stay for. Except, the thought of having to get up the following morning and face the black hole his life had become…
With renewed sense of purpose, he picked the knife up again. If he called Bethany he’d only lose his nerve. She’d try to talk him out of it and then it would be so much worse for her when they found his body. The letters he had mailed to his family, office, and police station would be delivered tomorrow. Hopefully, she would understand but even if she didn’t, he was still going to do this. He had mailed the letters. There was no turning back now. He was committed to this.
Holding the knife to his wrist he tried to breathe deeply and calm his heart. It was just a little bit of pain to end a gaping void of it. A few more minutes and his hand holding the knife started to shake. Could he do this? The voice in his head that reminded him what a failure he was started laughing. He couldn’t even stand up to his boss or his grandmother. What made him think he could go through with this?
A buzzing sound made him jump, the knife just missing his skin. His phone was vibrating, the screen flashing a message from his manager. The narcissistic bastard was going to be out of the office with their department head all day tomorrow so he wanted Holden to get started on the new project. The same project he would have been awarded after the presentation that he had slaved over if the higher ups had known it was his work. The black hole of his life loomed wider, threatening to swallow him whole…..So he did the only thing he could think of.
The knife was sharp and slide across his skin quickly but he still jerked at the stinging pain. The sight of the blood now painting his skin almost made him puke but he managed to keep his last meal down, a peanut butter and honey sandwich. At least they wouldn’t find him covered in vomit. He could have some dignity in death. There was more blood than he had expected but his brain had purposefully avoided thinking too much about this part of his plan. His grip was slippery and unsteady as he switched hands to slice open his other wrist. His weak fingers dropped the knife before getting halfway down.
Breathing rapidly, he stared at his work. He’d done it. He’d really done it. His eyes were clouded by tears he couldn’t stop. Curling up into a ball in his bathtub he started sobbing. This hurt more than he thought it would but he had actually done it. All he had to do now was wait. Wait and try to ignore the thoughts now suffocating him.
Would he end up burning in Hell? Would he be reincarnated and forced to go through this whole charade again? Was this all there was and soon he’d cease to be? Whatever waited for him at least he wouldn’t be where he was now. If he ended up in Hell then at least he’d have earned his place there, credit for his work at last. Closing his eyes he waited for it all to be over.