I was walking back from dropping off Sapphire and I kicked it on the street. I was not looking for this. It was looking for me. That was when I knew something had to change.
Sapphire and I had gotten into a fight. I don’t remember about what, and she had stormed off. Had marched right out of my room and out the door. She stomped off into the night and I knew she was headed to Wells. Guardian would not let her go alone. He grabbed his coat, because it was very cold now, and followed her out into the weather.
He let her stay ahead of him, keeping her within sight and not letting her get too far. He gave her the space she needed. Her pride would have been hurt if she had known he was following her to protect her, so he stayed back, walked all the way to Wells, and watched her enter. Then Guardian walked back.
He got a few blocks and out came Shadow, howling about how much of a bitch she was and how she needed to fuck off and die. The fight had been about Bekah. They were beginning to fight about that more and more and they needed to deal with it. Sapphire and I needed to face the fact that Bekah was my future, and we needed to break it off, but that would not happen for a very long time. We had a lot of yelling and being miserable ahead of us.
So Shadow is pissed and talking to himself about it when his foot kicks something that slides off the sidewalk and into the street. He drops to a knee to see what it was and recognizes it immediately. If he had carried it back to Kentwood and set it on his desk that would be one thing. But he did not do that. Shadow looked at the box cutter. He looked around to see if anyone had seen him pick it up. He slid it in his back pocket and kept walking.
You see how that is a problem, don’t you? You see the face of that for what it was? He did not want anyone to know he had it. It was his secret. The object he needed to get the job done. It had come to him. And he had hidden it away. This was his destiny. This blade. This was his path that led from all his pain. He could almost feel it sliding into his skin. Could almost feel it opening his arm. And the thigh, too. All of the main veins and arteries. All of them.
There would be so much blood. So much wet everywhere. Maybe he would become part of the lore of Kentwood. Maybe he would be the next ghost story. Possibly get caught in that spiritual vortex, whatever the hell that was. This was his only way. This was it.
He had a blade that no one would know to take away from him. Shadow had the beginnings of a plan.
It began to stir and contort as he worked this twisted bit of a problem around. He wanted Randal to find him, so he had to pick a time when Sapphire would be in class but Randal would be coming home. He knew Randal’s schedule so it was not too hard to find that time for himself.
He needed Bekah to be far from him. Needed her to hear about his death not see it. So, he planned a time when she would be in class, too. They would not show her his body. She would not see the room. The only trauma she would suffer is what her mind showed her.
Shadow could live with that.
He picked the day.
He picked the time.
He had it all ready. Woke up early and felt refreshed. He thought to call Bekah and leave a message on her answering machine explaining himself, maybe a note addressed to her. But he did not want her to obsess about him, and that is what it would lead to.
So, he grabbed a pen and paper and sketched out a rough drawing of a terraced bridge. He drew a crude image of a man standing on the top of the tress, then he drew a heart under the bridge. He wrote above it.
The worst day of your life is the day you met me. I free you from this. Go be lovely somewhere else. I died in an apartment long ago.
The phone rang. That was not in the plan. I let the machine get it and I heard Angel. She was a manager at Pizza Hut and she said she was thinking about me. She wanted to say that when I came in to work today, she wanted to talk to me. Then she said, “I just heard Jumper by Third Eye Blind.”
I got into the bed, shaken, and tried to get my head right again.
When you have planned a suicide, you have it in your mind exactly how it will play out. You need that scenario to play out how you planned it. The air was sucked out of my death and I needed to blow it back up again.
For an hour I took myself through why I was doing this. I talked to myself about the blade coming to me. I talked about all the things I needed to hear and I thought of the person who would find me. While I was mentally preparing myself, the phone rang again.
“Hey it’s Angel again. I want you to come in early. Come in as soon as you get this. You can stay here at the store tonight and when you are ready, I will take you home. Heard Jumper again.” She hung up.
I went back to get myself ready. A little over an hour later.
“Hey, Angel again. You’re late!” She laughed. “Just kidding, I know you are not supposed to come in for a few more hours but I want you here now. I want you here now. I can send a ride to get you if you need me to. I just need to see you and see that you are alright. Jumper played again. I can’t escape it today. It is on every channel I turn to. It has played on the same channel two times in a row. They messed up or something. Anyway, get here as soon as you can.”
I climbed into bed. I had twenty minutes to make this happen or my window was gone. Randal would have come and gone out again. I needed to make this happen. I was not prepared, but I pulled my box cutter. It was almost flat. It was a sheath of steel and on one end it had a steel tongue. When you pushed the tongue into the sheath the other end sprouted the blade. I depressed the tongue and out came the razor.
The phone rang again.
“Listen, I know what you are doing. I got Mandy to watch the restaurant long enough for me to come get you. I’m on my way. Do not do this. I will kick your ass. Put whatever it is down and crawl to the door. Be there when I get to it or I will have the manager of the place kick the door in.” She held the phone up to the crappy staticky radio in the background. “Do you hear that shit?” Jumper was playing again. She turned it up, put the phone down next to the radio and was gone.
When she knocked on the door, I was sitting with my back pressed against it. I unlocked the door and crawled behind it. She walked in and snapped on the light. She saw me curled up naked behind the door and pulled me to my feet.
She stuffed me into the shower and turned it on. She stood outside with her hand gripping the curtain. “I’m right here. Don’t think I walked out on you. I am still standing right here. Now wash.”
When I got out, I sat on the toilet and she dried my naked body. She grabbed me by my wrists and pulled me to my feet. She sat me on the floor in the middle of the room and pulled clothes out of my dresser.
Randal came in and I jumped into the bed with the curtains drawn. She stuffed clothing in and I got dressed.
“Who in the hell are you?” Randal asked.
“I’m a friend of Jesse. I’m here to take him to work,” Angel said. “You must be Randal.”
They talked. He found her to be pleasant.
When I was dressed, she grabbed my bag and shoved me for the door. She tossed me in her car and took me to work three hours early.
I sat in the back of the restaurant and stared at her as she worked. I wrote a little. I can’t tell you what. I kept looking at her knowing that she was the only reason I was still alive. She had known. With no previous knowledge. I did not see this as divine intervention. I saw this as her seeing my pain and saving me from it.
That night I broke things off with Sapphire. I told Bekah I had found someone else. And I went to Angel.
We were terrible from the start, but I’ll get into that. I am sitting here though. I am right here in a house filled with love and I am writing this story. The only reason I am here instead of rotting in a coffin is because of Angel.
No matter what comes from this point on, we have to give her that.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.