⌠I always think the same thing when I read about someone committing suicide. I think, ⌠There but for the grace of God, go I.■ I think, ⌠There▓s only a twist of fate between me and them.■ I think, ⌠It could have been me.■ I think, ⌠I hope that I can give someone else a reason to live through today so he or she will give me a reason to live through tomorrow.■ Dahven White FRIDAY:
It▓s Friday.
I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. Grace was next to me┘ always next to me.
The sun shined through my windows mercilessly through my silk curtains. The weight of Friday▓s reality stung my bones. Its oppression consumed me and my shoulders felt as though they might snap. The emptiness I felt. The complete loneliness that was inside of every breath I took.
All of the busy socialite nights I spent. All of the endless hours with mindless chatter seemed so distant, so far away. Filled rooms seemed empty to me. All of the noise and bustle seemed silent.
I remember those nights vaguely. Every day was a blur now. Everything seemed to blend together into one endless day. Thursdays turned into Mondays, fall turned into spring, and my ashes will turn to ashes and dust to dust.
I roll over and look at Grace. I hesitate to touch her for I did not want to wake her. Her breasts move cautiously with ever breath she takes and I abrade her neck in my fantasy. I hear her breathing and it is almost as peaceful as the wind, more peaceful even.
I can▓t imagine life without her. I can hardly imagine life at all anymore. Life seems less valuable than it used to be. Every year was distant now, so distant. Absentminded and clouded was every pathetic memory of mine. I turned back over and looked at the clock, it said 6:34.
Should I get up? I kissed Grace▓s neck and she stirred. I kissed it again and she rolled over and her eyes opened meekly.
I kissed her nose and she scrunched her face, ⌠I love you,■ I told her. She rolled her eyes and flipped over. I put my arm around her and shut my eyes. I wanted that moment to be every moment. Everyday I wanted to wake up next to Grace. But no, there were no more days.
People always say, ⌠live like it▓s your last day on Earth┘■ No.
Live each day like it▓s your first┘ young and naОve, with no knowledge of the world▓s complete evil and torment. If you know not of how cruel the world can be, then you will be sweetly ignorant and invincible.
⌠Grace,■ I whispered into her ear. ⌠Mmm?■ ⌠What do you want for breakfast?■ I kissed her neck again and she tilted her head. ⌠Bacon, and pancakes, and a bagel,■ she mumbled. I smiled and kissed her cheek and got up.
I put my slippers on and my robe and left the room. I swayed back and forth in the hallway. Trying to take in every little detail of the corridor. The scent of fresh linen with a hint of cigar smoke from Stan when he was still around; the bright carpet and light curtains that were so carefully placed; and the walls the walls that saw everything.
I entered the laundry room where Rosario was busy folding clothes. ⌠Hey Rosie, can you get chef to make us some breakfast?■ I said as I hopped on top of the dryer. She wouldn▓t look at me, but she said, ⌠Lady I found your journal this morning.■ The words were sharp and nauseating. ⌠What? What do you mean you found my journal? You read it?■ I snapped. How dare she? Who did she think she was? Rummaging through my stuff as if she were my mother.
⌠Yes and thank god I did! Miss Karen are you planning to kill yourself?■ she sang.
My eyes met hers in a fiery twist. What could I say to this woman┘? What would turn her away? ⌠No Rosario, I am not planning to kill myself,■ I bantered. My expression was one of complete faГade and my hands danced wildly from exhaustion.
⌠Then why would you write such terrible things?■ she asked. Terrible? Suicide is not terrible; it▓s beautiful. It▓s the safest thing in the world; the sheer protection and subtle securities it offers. ⌠It was just something a found and I wrote it down Rosie, don▓t worry, sheesh, Karen Walker? Commit suicide? Please! I▓m indestructible I▓m going to live forever!■ The words were inconceivable, even to my own ears and I slipped away but said quickly, ⌠Tell chef to make me and Grace breakfast,■ I was then gone.
I towered through the manse incredulously beside myself. I belted into the far bathroom and went into the drawer to the left and pulled out then gun and I placed it to my head. Now was the time.
I looked in the mirror and the gun looked good so close to me, that was where it belonged. My finger tightened around the trigger but I remembered my list┘.
I forgot to cross one off┘ Say Goodbye.
I never said goodbye to Gracie.
I never said Goodbye to Will.
I never said goodbye to my Jackie, or Rosie.
I shakily set the gun on the counter and sobbed uncontrollably. I looked down at my wrist. No one had noticed my injury┘ not that I wanted them to notice┘ Why hadn▓t I pulled the trigger? There was unfinished business to attend to. Say goodbye? How silly. Why hadn▓t Will tried to stop me? Surely he knew I was lying. Surely he noticed how suicidal I am. And Rosie, how could she not have stopped me? She read my journal where I clearly stated my intentions.
I took a deep breath in and put the gun back where it was to rest until tonight.
I sauntered back into the room Grace occupied; she had fallen back asleep. I went out to the balcony and I carelessly swayed my arms over its edge. Oh how I wish my body would tumble down to the bottom and my blood would stain the bitter sidewalk.
They dangled and I pretended I was already dead as I let my limp body slide to the ground. ⌠Karen?■ I jumped up. ⌠Oh hey Grace,■ I said. ⌠What are you doin?■ she had a sheet draped around her and I couldn▓t bring myself to answer because she looked amazing in the sunlight.
⌠Ugh I have a hangover,■ Grace sulked. I laughed at her. I was always drunk so I never had hangovers┘ I barely even remembered what a hangover felt like. ⌠You want some pills or something sweetie?■ I said while soothingly rubbing her back. She moaned again and I smiled when I was sure she couldn▓t see me.
⌠Karen, I▓m not taking anymore of your pills, last time I took one I woke up four days later with my clothes on backwards and,■ ⌠a sticker of Baltimore on your forehead?■ I finished. She smiled, but she thought I couldn▓t see. There was a long pause and I let my memories take over.
I remembered the day Will danced with me in the rain. I wished I was dancing in the middle of the street. I look at Grace; our bodies should be twisted in the rain. Her eyelashes wet, her face glistening. I brush the hair away from my face and let her kiss me. The song seemed to stop but it never really does. The music will always be playing; it▓s just quieter now. The beat is slow and steady; jazzy but excruciatingly sad; beautiful and endless┘just the way I have lived.
Grace looks up at me and I begin to cry. She is confused at first, (probably because she had never seen me show any emotion, let alone a vulnerable one,) but then she stands up quickly and straightens out her skinny body. ⌠Kare what▓s the matter?■ she said pulling me to her chest in a hug. ⌠I just love you so much Grace,■ I say. I wish I could tell her why I was crying. Why I was REALLY crying. It WAS because I loved her, but that wasn▓t it┘ it was because I loved her SO much, and I had to leave her.
I looked at the sky. It looked blank, like someone had taken an eraser and just erased the whole thing. It was pure white, and it appeared to be flat but endless.
We walked back into my room and she let the sheet fall, I saw her tattoo. I hoped every time she looked at it she▓d remember me, and how much I loved her. I think I will love her even after I am gone, and I hope that she will love me too. Can love conquer death? Can it proceed throughout the afterlife? I don▓t think anyone can answer that, but we all can hope.
Grace walked into the bathroom and I followed her. She looked in the mirror and rubbed her face exhaustingly. ⌠Oh Grace, I▓m gunna miss you kid,■ I said to myself. She heard me faintly but the water was running so she didn▓t say anything back.
I walked back out onto the terrace where there was one last flower in bloom. All of the other flowers had wilted because the seasons were getting ready to change. I picked it and gently carried it to the bathroom where I stuck it behind Grace▓s ear┘maybe she▓d wear it to my funeral if it▓s red petals didn▓t fall off. It almost blended in her blazing hair but it accentuated it remarkably. She blushed and her cheeks matched.
There was a pool on the top of my roof and I went up there a lot to clear my mind, since hardly anyone went up there to swim anymore. The pool water was clean┘blue┘but it was covered with bright red leaves. The leaves set the whole thing completely on fire. It looked as if it were blood.
I slipped my heels off of my feet and gaped down at the water. Everything was spinning. Everything was fogged now. Nothing seemed real. Maybe I had died years ago and I was just my ghost, wandering the earth. Had I talked to Grace just ten minutes previous? Had I kissed her goodbye? I wasn▓t sure┘. maybe it was all just a terrible nightmare, my whole life I had just been sleeping.
Maybe everyone▓s life is a dream and death is just waking up. Thoughts┘. these thoughts consumed me as I gazed into the garnet water. I slipped my skirt down my porcelain legs and I removed my top with the utmost care and I dove into what appeared to be the surface of Mars┘or the Sahara desert. I opened my eyes under the water and I looked above me to see a red carpet with several gaps that let the sunlight shine through. The water felt a little cold but it made me vigilant, something I hadn▓t been my entire life.
There was always a thought coursing through my dusty mind, but now it was just empty. All I could think of was the water. The red leaves on top of the blue water. Red and blue. Blue and Red. It was all I could see and it was the only thing in my mind.
My lungs began to collapse and I emerged through the sheet with a gasp. The leaves embraced my shoulders and I pulled myself out of the edge. I shivered for the air outside the water was a much cooler temperature. I looked up at the sky and it looks cloudy┘like it was going to rain.
I retrieved my pile of clothes and hurried back inside. As I dressed I heard someone come into my room. I was in my closet, and I let whoever it was to come to me. ⌠Hey Kare Bear,■ said Jack. I let his mundane voice sink in deep before I replied, ⌠Hey poodle,■ ⌠Who▓s your daddy?■ I sighed and said, ⌠you are.■ He caressed my wardrobe frivolously and then plopped on my chair. ⌠Why ya all wet?■ he asks. ⌠Ya gotta leaf in your hair,■ he said while pulling it out. I smile to myself but turn to him and say, ⌠I went swimming and there were leaves in the pool,■ he looks at me funny, ⌠you can swim?■ he asks. I don▓t reply I just put my shirt on over my bra.
My mouth is dry and I feel like my body is in sinking sand. Jack talks about some guy he met behind the counter at some yogurt stand. I pretend to care. Why does he babble? Doesn▓t he know it▓s the end of the world?
⌠Jack,■ I start, ⌠shut up.■ He looked confused for a moment and he cocked his head, ⌠What?■ he responded finally. I looked him dead in the eye and repeated, ⌠just shut up.■ He shook his head and looked around as if there was someone else named Jack in the room ranting and raving like a diseased parrot. ⌠Karen,■ he said heart-brokenly, ⌠Jack, I don▓t care about the guy you made out with from the yogurt stand, I don▓t care. Don▓t you ever think about things that actually matter?■ His eyes were wide and then he said, ⌠it matters to me Kare┘ just like drinks matter to you.■ My how the tables have turned┘ ⌠Yeah but I don▓t go on and on about that,■ ⌠yeah but I constantly see you taking them┘ingesting anything and everything that will get you the slightest buzz. You▓re pathetic Karen, really.■ ⌠I▓m pathetic?■ I snapped back. ⌠At least I don▓t sleep with everything that moves and act like I▓m seventeen years old. You expect us all to support you and your nonexistent acting career but no one cares about it,■ ⌠No one cares about it? Well at least they care about me. No one cares about you Karen, you▓re just a high waste of space.■ With that he stormed out.
That was really not how I wanted that to go.
Our quarrel made the gun look even more appealing to me. I paced back and forth in my room┘. carelessly wasting time. I glanced at the clock and it said, 11:00 am. I bit the inside of my cheek and pivoted on one heel and changed direction.
I paused, and then reached over and picked up the phone.
I dialed and it rang. Ring. Pause. Ring. Pause. Ring, ⌠Hello?■ ⌠Jackie I▓m sorry, I didn▓t mean to say those things,■ I burst. ⌠Um, this isn▓t Jack, it▓s his boyfriend Paul, Jack▓s in the shower can I take a message?■ I sighed, ⌠Ugh yeah tell him Karen called,■ I said. I was about to hang up when I heard, ⌠hang up,■ whispered on the other line. It was Jack▓s voice┘ he obviously wasn▓t in the shower. ⌠Hey wait one second,■ I said quickly, ⌠yeah?■ replied the man. ⌠can you tell Jack one more thing for me?■ he didn▓t respond and I swallowed hard, ⌠Just tell him that I really love him, and to please not be mad because I didn▓t mean a word I said and to please call me ┘anyways┘ bye.■ I hung up quickly and left the room in a hurry.
I walked down the street rubbing my arms because it had suddenly gotten cold out. It was obvious summer was almost over. The leaves were changing, the wind was blowing and I was crying.
That▓s a good thing about New York┘ you can walk by someone sobbing and not even get a second glance┘ or maybe that▓s a bad thing┘ The street was dressed in ashes and the skyline appeared to be dancing. I turned the corner sharply and got into an empty taxi as it began to drizzle. ⌠Where to?■ said the man in a rough accent. I directed him to Riverside Drive.
I got out and paid him in a hurry since the rain was now pouring down in buckets. I ran inside and went up the elevator. ⌠Will?■ I said while pounding on the door. ⌠Will, open up its Karen.■ He opened the door seconds later with a smile. I coughed. ⌠Are you sick?■ he asked while guiding me inside. ⌠What▓s up?■ he said before I could answer the first question. ⌠Um, I don▓t know,■ I said while looking up at him from the couch. He sat on the couch▓s arm next to me. ⌠You don▓t know? Karen are you okay? You▓re kinda scaring me lately.■ I smiled and touched his hand, ⌠No honey don▓t be silly I▓m fine,■ I said at a faint murmur.
If only every day were Friday. If only I could wake up every morning and die. All of the stuff I could accomplish that would just be meaningless by nightfall. I inhaled briskly and shut my eyes and I lied down on the coach. Will stood up and came around back and he covered me with a blanket.
I woke up and the clock said 4:00. ⌠Shit,■ I said to myself as I got up quickly. I saw a note taped to the fridge so I got up and peeled it off.
Dear Karen, Hey I went shopping with Jack and I didn▓t want to wake you┘ stay as long as you want and make yourself at home, I should be back in a few hours┘ Love Will I smiled to myself; I smiled to the world. Death seemed frivolous now and the thought teased me. I danced with the speculation more than ever at that moment and I wished I had the gun with me just then because I wouldn▓t hesitate to pull the trigger.
Although I would not like to splatter Will▓s apartment decor with blood┘ My death was no longer a dream, but a fantasy. My head consistently ⌠fantasized■ about its own demise. Will I be considered a failure? A hero? A no one? A recluse? Or will I just be forgotten? Will people go about their days as if nothing happened? As if I never existed in the first place?
People think I am shallow┘but that is just because I am deeper than comprehension. My thoughts run unfathomably. I grab a pen from the counter and flip Will▓s note over and write,
Dear Will, I wish you would have woken me up; I really did not want to fall asleep on your couch! You▓re a sweetheart and thanks for everything, Love ya lots,
Karen Walker Ps. I took a Crunch Bar from your cabinet and I stole your umbrella hope ya don▓t mind I took a bite out of the chocolate as I walked from the lobby. I opened the umbrella and walked onto the street. I ended up in a familiar cafИ. The one where the four of us dined occasionally. It smelled like home.
I took my coat off and I turned around to see Jack sitting at a table alone. I cautiously approached him and as I did so, he turned to me but turned back snobbishly. ⌠Jackie?■ I said. I sat down. ⌠um, that seat is taken,■ he said. I didn▓t move. ⌠Jack listen to me, please don▓t stay mad please, I know you▓ll regret it,■ I said. ⌠Regret it why? You▓re the one who should regret it, you were the one being mean.■ I was in shock! Here I was, trying to apologize to the kid and he was trying to pick another fight with me.
⌠Jack I wasn▓t the only one who said harsh things here! Please accept my apology with the spirit which it was intended or I▓ll kick ya in the getles!■ ⌠No!■ he said.
Will came out of the bathroom with toilet paper on his foot and we both burst out laughing. ⌠That▓s not funny,■ said Jack, ⌠I know! He could trip and break his neck!■ We once again burst out laughing and he leaned across the table and hugged me.
⌠Oh I▓m sorry Kare, let▓s never fight again!■ Will came over skeptically and sat down and said, ⌠Hey Karen, didn▓t expect to see you here,■ I faked another laugh with Jack but then smiled for real. God these fluctuating moods were brutal.
Will tilted his head and I didn▓t understand why. What was he thinking about? What was he looking at? He was looking at me, obviously┘but why? What did he see when he looked at me, what did anyone see? I batted my eyelashes downward and took a bite of Jack▓s doughnut.
⌠You want some coffee Karen?■ said Will. I looked at the clock┘5:30. My, the day was going fast. I wasn▓t sure if I wanted to see Grace again before I died. Not that I didn▓t love her with all of my heart, but I loved my last memory with her. Waking up with her next to me was good enough, I thought. Plus, I loved sitting there with my boys sipping coffee.
Then I realized┘ no, I had to see Grace one last time. I had to touch her, talk to her, kiss her, one last time. I hugged Jack and I kissed Will gently and left my hand on his cheek and whispered, ⌠thanks for everything Will,■ into his ear. He looked a little confounded but he smiled crookedly and rubbed my back and I grabbed my purse, umbrella (Will▓s umbrella) and walked out.
It was still raining hard.
I walked several blocks down and entered Grace▓s office through the service elevator. She was sleeping on her desk. ⌠Boo!■ I shouted she jumped up and I laughed. ⌠So, this is what you do while I▓m gone?■ I teased. She smiled and rubbed her eyes. Before she could say anything she stood up and kissed me gently and walked over to the coffee machine and poured herself a glass.
I then felt guilty about not inviting her to the cafИ with Jack and Will, but what▓s done is done┘ I learned feeling guilty about things you have no say in is a complete waste of time.
That▓s the way to live, honestly.
⌠So, had a good day at work?■ I ask. She shrugs and says, ⌠It woulda been better if you were here,■ she bumped me playfully. Grace was always so playful, so vibrant, (even when she was half-asleep)
⌠I▓m sorry honey, I just didn▓t make it in today for some reason, the day just┘just flew by,■ I said somberly. I ran my fingers across one of her sketches. I looked up at her who was smiling coyly at me. ⌠Sweetie,■ I said, ⌠I love you,■ I told her. She rolled her eyes at me and I got up and kissed her neck, ⌠I do, I love you,■ I repeated.
I kissed her neck again.
Her hair smelled like honey.
I looked at the clock as I was buttoning my blouse, and it said 7:00. I had to get going.
The day was almost over and the sun was setting.
It was time.
⌠Goodbye Grace,■ I said while kissing her lips. ⌠Why are you leaving?■ she asked. I slipped my heels on and said, ⌠Just some stuff I have to do around the manse, ya know, but I▓ll-⌠ I stopped abruptly. I could not say, ⌠Call you tomorrow,■ I couldn▓t say, ⌠See you in the morning,■ so I said.
⌠I▓ll be seeing ya Gracie,■ She smiled vaguely and I left.
I got two blocks away and the rain was coming down harder than ever so I jumped into a cab. I told him my address and then I realized I had forgotten my purse at Grace▓s office┘Oh well┘ I didn▓t need it anymore anyways; I didn▓t go back.
That was stupid.
I knew Grace and I knew how nosy she was. I should have known she would have gone through it.
She opened it discretely and took out my perfume and smelled it. She opened up my side pocket and helped herself to a piece of gum. Then she saw the list.
I got to my bathroom and pulled the gun out of the drawer. I walked through the halls meticulously carrying it until I made it to my room. The thunder rumbled and I stoked the barrel.
Grace read the list carefully and she read the back which said, ⌠Friday night┘pull the trigger,■ she covered her mouth and ran outside. She had Will▓s car that day so she started it up and floored it out of her parking space.
She called dozens of times but I had set the phone off the receiver so she was sure to get a busy signal.
She rounded the corner sharply and the tires screeched. With every block she went, her driving became more and more reckless. Plus, she had a phone constantly dialing my number so her steering was impaired. The rain came down hard and her tires slipped.
I pulled out a pre-written suicide note out of my bureau.
Hey kids, I▓m sorry I have to put you through this but this is the way it has to be. I▓m the happiest woman in the world and the luckiest to have you guys but I▓m also the saddest. I▓m empty inside and I can▓t help but end it all. When you▓re empty, you have to fill it and I couldn▓t do that.
To Rosie, you▓ve been by me through everything, you▓re my girl and I love you. To Jack, my poodle, I love you with all my heart and I want you to know you can still always turn to me when you▓re in a jam┘I▓ll listen. Will, thanks for everything┘I love you. Thanks for dancing with me in the rain and for being there for me when the world was against me. Grace┘to my Grace. To you I give everything, I give you my money, my jewels, and my heart. I give you everything. If you are the kind person I knew, you will share some with our boys and take care of them for me, and sweetie┘ I▓ll be seeing you. With that it▓s over, I▓ll pull the trigger to set my spirit free of this body...finally I am free. I lay down on my bed and ran my fingers through my hair and I checked to make sure the one bullet was still inside. It was.
One bullet.
One was all I needed.
I took the safety off and I pointed it to my head when I heard a load crash outside. My finger got tight around the trigger but I was too curious to look outside. I did.
The car that had crashed into a bus seemed oddly familiar. I looked at it for a few moments and then I heard sirens. I squinted and saw red hair behind the steering wheel. I gasped and ran down stairs. I sprinted out to the sidewalk. The rain was calming and it was now at a faint drizzle.
I opened the door and Grace flopped out lifelessly. ⌠Gracie, wake up,■ I instructed frantically. ⌠Karen?■ she asked. Her head was bleeding and she had cuts all over her hands and face from the glass. ⌠Yeah honey it▓s me it▓s me,■ I soothed. ⌠You▓re not dead,■ she stated. I could have sworn I saw her smile just then, but I was wrong. She coughed violently and blood splattered out of her. I knew that wasn▓t good but couldn▓t say anything to her then.
⌠Of course I am,■ I said. I brushed hair away from her bloody face. ⌠Don▓t kill yourself Karen, please don▓t. Promise me you won▓t do it, promise me,■ she said weakly. Tears were streaming down my face and I said, ⌠I promise.■ I kissed her lips while they were still warm and moments later she was taken away on a stretcher┘pronounced dead.
I stood still on the sidewalk.
The blood spattered sidewalk.
Glass stung my bare feet and I shook irretrievably. The last of the bystanders left the scene and they asked me to go back inside so they could finish cleaning up.
I was in complete shock.
Grace was gone┘ I was alive┘ not exactly a fair trade.
I slowly went back to me room, the gun was lying on the bed.
I couldn▓t use it though┘ Should I call Jack? Tell him that Grace was dead because of me?
Call Will? Tell him that I▓m still alive because Grace made me promise not to kill myself?
I scream for all of the world to hear and I pick up the gun and throw it against the wall┘but I left the safety off┘. The bullet came at me in slow motion. Almost like a dream. I spun towards my head and I gazed at it. I thought to move, but there was no time for that┘it went into my skull and blood plastered my room.
Life as I knew it, was over.
That was not how I had dreamed it would happen. My wildest fantasy could not predict my demise with such abomination. We were like Romeo and Juliet┘kind of┘ We were Karen and Grace.
I stood up from my body┘my lifeless body┘ I looked around at the room, I looked at me┘but it wasn▓t me.
It was no longer me. I saw Rosario run in and scream. She tried to attend to my wounds but it was too late, I was already gone. Then she saw the note and she read it painfully.
It wasn▓t a suicide!
It was an accident! I had promised Grace I wouldn▓t kill myself!! I didn▓t kill myself!
I wanted her to know...but she wouldn▓t┘ she would never know the truth; no one would now. Besides me, but I am no longer me.
Our funeral was together┘ Grace▓s and mine. Our boys were there, holding each other but still sobbing.
I was buried next to her.
I saw Grace▓s spirit standing next to Will, trying to touch him and I walked to her. She made a beautiful angel, but then again┘so did I.