There is a stretch of Route 3, right before her exit, that curves off to the left for a bit to reveal the most perfect New England postcard. A lone white steeple pokes, needle like, through a haystack of oaks and pines. In the fall it is especially beautiful with the blazing orange oaks set on fire against a crystal blue sky.
It is here that she frequently daydreams of her demise, in the movie of her life.
Her end scene.
She would be coming back from another perfectly awful meeting with the school regarding healthcare enrollment. Not only would her whole paycheck be swallowed up whole by enrolling her family in the family plan, she was going to end up owing money.
“You never know what’s around the corner, I’ll pray for you” the receptionist would console. She would smile weakly at the receptionist’s kind words, nod at her, and duck out of the office shell-shocked. She would feel awful for wanting to choke her.
She would slowly walk back to her car, slump down, close her eyes and sigh. She wouldn’t cry, she was too dry and tired for that. She was having difficulty looking for the sugar to turn this lemon into lemonade, especially when she wasn’t exactly handed a lovely bag of sunshiney lemons. It was more like a dirty ol’ bag of crap.”When life hands you crap, make a crap salad sandwich!” Not the same ring to it. And no amount of mayo and dill would make the crap taste any less awful. She’d sigh once again, deeply, jamming the keys into the ignition.
“You never know what’s around the corner”
If only…she would whisper aloud.
Checking the rear view mirror she would frown. Tired eyes. And under her breath she’d whisper a very exhausted “Oh shit”… because her gray hairs were starting to show through a long over due hair coloring. A gratuitous expense she had to forgo since her husband’s layoff. She dreamed of winning the lottery and treating herself to a spa day and a loaded pizza at Pete’s. The money wouldn’t change her a bit she’d boast. She’s still a girl from the neighborhood. The blue collar was sewn into her DNA.
As she waited for the light to change and get onto the highway, she would have an unusual craving for a cigarette. She was not a smoker but, strangely, at this moment she would desire nothing more. She would even hold her fingers on her left hand in a V on the steering wheel as if she were holding a cigarette. She imagined she’d be a “Lights” smoker as that seemed the logical choice for her, a Diet Coke drinker.
As the light changed, a petite, pony tailed, sweetheart of Sigma Chi in a green Prius raced past her and cut into the on ramp. This pissed her off mightily, but she let it go. Her 8 year old Corolla and 40 something year old body were no match, her decades old common sense informed her. Pick your battles wisely, had become her daily mantra.
After a few miles she would turn on the radio and “Afternoon Delight” would be playing on the lite FM station. She would sing along and imagine puffing away on her pretend cigarette.
“my motto’s always been when it’s right it’s right”
Her moment would now be stretched out “around the corner” across her windshield.
“why wait until the middle of a cold dark night“
It would be a beautiful, clear day and the oaks would be at peak color.
What a spectacular backdrop for my demise, she would marvel.
“When everything’s a little clearer in the light of day“.
By now she would arrive at the part of her movie she’d been having trouble with…her end scene. She’d picked the location, set the mood, casted it and even scored the soundtrack but the perfect exit, thus far, had eluded her.
She thought of jerking the wheel very hard to the right, crashing through the guard rail and letting the car fly off into the crystal blue horizon with a nice shot of the undercarriage. The car would hang in the air for centuries, spinning it’s wheels. All would be calm, with just the sound of the wind and her heart beat filling her ears. Her rosary would slowly swing, twinkling from the rear view as it caught the afternoon light. She would close her eyes, drifting away in heavenly peace, letting gravity do it’s job. She would not take off her sunglasses.
Ahhhh but…..Wait a minute!
Hasn’t that been done to death?
The last thing she wanted to go out as was a cliche.
My God, she feared that more than death itself.
And so once again, she watched her moment pass by her windshield. She snapped back to reality, rounded the bend and signaled for her exit.
“And you know the night is always gonna be there any way“.
She always felt a sense of relief as she made it to her exit, as if she had somehow cheated death.
Relief was putting it mildly, that feeling was downright orgasmic. She had so little control of her life and found great empowerment in the orchestration of her imagined demise. Sure it was a bit warped but it was all that she had. Smiling in victory, her fingers on the steering wheel in a V formation, she shook her head and laughed, sharing an inside joke with her plastic Jesus, riding on the dashboard of her car…
“If only they knew”…
“Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight……AAA- Afternoon delight”.
Selections from “Afternoon Delight” written by Bill Danoff 1976
Performed by Starland Vocal Band
Editor’s Note: The preceding was a writing exercise, it is not based on actual events or desired actual events..so please do not freak out and be alarmed! And really, if I ever pulled a stunt like this my family would kill me. 🙂
Besides that, my house is in no shape for company.
If this has made anyone uncomfortable I am truly sorry. It made me a little uncomfortable when I received this assignment and even more so
when the words started pouring out of me! You never know what you hold inside until you are forced to open yourself up and take a look.
If you have ever had thoughts of suicide it is important that you seek help:
Talk to a friend or someone who is likely to listen, or contact someone within a community health center or a local place of worship, you don’t need to be a member or even religious…they will listen without judgement.
Or dial, in the US, 1-800-SUICIDE
“Suicide is not chosen; it happens
when pain exceeds
resources for coping with pain.”
Peace – Rene