*** Part 1 ***
He slowly sinks the blade into his chest, bit by bit, layer by layer of tissue. Crawling it's way to his heart. Interfered by pain, his shaky hands give way. He slinks down into the bed, though he doesn't know it, he's crying. Then, everything fades away.
Adree finds him almost right away, "Are you hiding to try to not have to dance?" she calls out. There is no response. She walks forward to find the knife, so skillfully placed. She gasps, covers her mouth, and runs to find someone, anyone, who knows what to do. The party ceases, the music stops. Forcing her breaths to be stable, Adree announces what has happened.
Much later, he opens his eyes to a room too bright. A few friends are in his hospital room, waiting. They see him conscience, and lean toward the bed. Frustrated and holding back, he says, "I would appreciate it if I could be alone in this time of failure." Knowing his stand, they leave without protest. He sits up, realizing the stigma he must now live with.
A nurse enters and asks him how he's feeling. She doesn't look him in the eyes, she's only really there to refill his IV. He doesn't answer. The nurse, although busy, pauses for a moment before leaving to notice his distant gaze.
Feeling as if hours have passed, he ends his daydream to see the nurse there. Hesitant to speak, he says to her, "I never thought I'd end up in a hospital like this."
"Just never liked the idea. Anyway, how long have I been here?"
"Since last night" she says, then leaves, the door loudly closing behind her.
Looking out of the window, he can see the sun going down behind the parking garage. "Here I am," he thinks, "I've failed, and cheated myself out of a day." A day that could have made a life of difference. Maybe he should have waited, just one more day, just one more chance to make all feel right.
"My phone must be around here somewhere," he mumbles. Weakly propping himself on his elbows, he sees it on the bedside table. He leans and painfully reaches it. Regaining his breath, he calls Ron, who was there earlier. It rings. "Wait, don't hospitals have some no-phone policy?" He thinks, "Ah well, screw it, might as well get this over with."
"Hey Ron, you all can come in now."
They came in, his parents were there now too. They brought the usual balloons and candy, some "Get Well Soon" cards. They all said things like, "I never thought you'd do that," and, "I never saw this coming." They were all overly positive and reassuring. He didn't feel like hearing it, he didn't say much, besides "I'm OK" and "No."
When they all left, he wondered why people would be so concerned about him now when they didn't seem to before. "I'm too tired to wonder" he said aloud, yawning. He winced from the pain of taking such a deep breath.
He felt horrible. "I need to apologise to Adree" he thinks. He ponders waiting and casually mentioning it at a later date, but he knows what he needs to do. He picks up his phone and calls her, voicemail. He hangs up, he has no idea what he would say on a message.
A nurse walks in, "How are you feeling?"
"Same as earlier."
"It's 12:15, I'm surprised to see your awake."
"Well, I just can't seem to rest. Did I come here in an ambulance?"
"I don't know, you came in the early morning. My shift is from noon to midnight."
"So your not working now then."
"Oh... Yeah," she says, looking startled, as if she had just been caught. "I just wanted to come see how you were before I leave."
"OK, well thanks."
She bids farewell and silently closes the heavy door behind her.
Real sunlight again, he enjoyed it's warm caress as he was wheeled outside. Since the Failure, he's enjoyed small, simple things. Like the sunset from his hospital window. In a way, he kind of wishes that he didn't have to leave that room. Though plain and uninspiring, it felt like a safe place to him, like how someone might feel about a home. But not his home, he hated being home.
"Home sweet home," said the man who had wheeled him out. He got out of the wheelchair and into the car, closing the door. His parents came to get him, and they brought Ron. As they drove away, there was awkward silence. He's too tired to act interested in any social news. Ron is mostly looking out the window. Funny isn't it? How when someone feels out of place, everything around gets interesting? "What would Ron be doing right now if I wasn't a cowardly nobody and just stabbed it in full-force?" he wonders. He sighs, making his chest sting.
It starts to rain, they drive past one of the many places where someone has died. This one had stuffed animals. He never noticed how sad a teddy bear looks in the rain. Maybe it would make a good album cover.
They pull up to a restaurant. In silence, they all get out of the car and go inside. A small, diner breakfast type place, they get a booth. As they're sitting there quietly, he knows what they want. They want an explanation, he's just waiting for it. 'Why did you try to kill yourself?' they'll say. Then when he won't explain they'll spend the rest of the time here speculating. Maybe not all that, but something is ready to happen, he feels it.
"Ritchie, I don't know why you'd go and try a thing like that." His dad says.
"I tried, that's the problem."
His parents exchange wondering faces, then look at Ron. He seems unaffected. Ritchie begins to listen to the conversation at the tables around them. There's a lady who can't decide to marry some guy or not, and at another table little kids debate something about a cartoon. They all seem lively and interested in their lives.
It's 12:30 in the morning and he's feeling dry. Kept awake by the same thoughts that kept him alive. He thinks of how other people are living their lives, at this very moment there's someone in the world accomplishing some dream. Someone out there is holding their child for the first time, selling an invention, burying a longtime friend, getting married, going somewhere they always wanted to go, or having an unforgettable experience. It can be depressing to realize how little one can do in a lifetime, while in that lifetime, so many things take place. He always felt different, he never felt the urge to settle in one place and live his life. Not that being content is bad, but he wanted to travel some and have variety. He never considered the usual, growing up, getting married, and buying a home to settle into. He never thought of how his life would be in the distant future, he didn't really plan past suicide. The way time goes on, how everyone seems to enjoy some part of it, he never fully understood it. To him, time felt as if it were standing still. Since the Failure, he's felt the time, and it's given him a feeling of limited time. He must play music, he must be all he needs to be.
"Being myself, ha! When have I done something major for my benefit?" He thinks, "Since the Failure, I feel like all the worlds weight has been lifted off me. I'm free, I'm free to rock. I need to move out, why haven't I anyway? Scared my parents might miss me? Lot of care I've proven. What kind of loser 21-year-old musician lives with their parents anyway? I'm moving out A.S.A.P." He needs to get out before they start asking too many questions anyway. So, with his new-found plan he goes to sleep...
He opens his eyes, seeing the hospital room. It is strangely dark, as if the paint has aged and darkened. There is a vase on the window sill, but the flowers are dead and black. The dirty window is letting in a cold draft, and the sunset outside is blurred so as to make the windows panes seem like stained glass. There is a strange subtle commotion in this empty room, silent but so unsettling. There is no light behind the door, the only light is coming from the window. Just as he starts to move to get out of the bed, the door creaks open. He pulls the bed sheet up to his face and lays down into the bed, though he doesn't know why he is scared. He wipes sweat from his forehead and peers to the dark end of the room.
"Hello Ritchie, feeling better?"
"What's going on? Why am I here?" He says.
"Don't worry why or how. As long as you trust me, it'll be alright."
He nervously replies, "What will be alright?"
"You, of course."
The feminine figure moves silently toward the bed. He sees the nurse he saw the night before he left the hospital. She leans over him, and touches his face.
"I'm your friend." She says.
He feels her touch and is paralized with fear. His stomach churns, he doesn't know why. He leans to the other side of the bed and wakes up, just as he vomits on his parent's floor, pain wrenching his wound. He feels scared and empty, what does this dream mean? And was it even his dream?
Breakfast is quiet, Ritchie was able to get up early and clean up the mess. His family almost never has breakfast together like this, all of them at the table. But this is what he expected, he knew people would act strange after the Failure, but it still felt weird. He felt like a prisoner, like they didn't trust him to leave him alone. "And what the hell was that 'dream' last night?" He thinks. He goes to his room, gets his B.C. Rich Warlock, practice amp, and leaves. He feels like a new man, slightly sinister and maybe insane, but better. He still wants to talk to Adree, so he calls her again.
Pauses, "Hi, um, this is Ritchie."
He feels horrible that she was the one to find him, they said that she was crying and shaking when the ambulance came. Did he really look that bad?
"I... I want you to know that I never thought you'd be the one to find me..."
"Ritchie..." she's getting teary, "I never would have told you before but..."
"I feel horrible about it too, I'm so sorry you saw that."
"No! That's not what I'm saying! I should've said it before, but I like you Ritchie, I like you, and it really hurt to see you try to take your own life. I don't know why, but for those few minutes when I thought you were dead, I felt empty. I feel so bad that I didn't tell you before."
He's speechless, what can he say to that? He always considered Adree... Well, too good for him? He can't say he never thought of asking her out, but she was just so positive and charming.
He's dreaded ever having to give this speech, but the time is now. "Adree," he says, "I think you are a very likable and attractive girl, but if you consider your options, there are many guys out there who are better than me. Do you think you would be completely happy dating me? There's so many better people for you, don't waste yourself on me."
The phone is completely silent, "I have no idea what to say, do you think your all that worthless Ritchie? It's just... I..."
"It's OK. Just think about it. I'll call you later, and if your opinion has changed, I understand that."
He hangs up the phone, knowing they'll probably never talk again. It isn't that he doesn't like Adree, it's just he doesn't think she's for him. He doesn't know her well, but from what he knows, she isn't into music and art like he is. "But what if she is?" he thinks, "Should I have given her a chance? I don't even really know her. Wait, those would be good lyrics." He pulls into a supermarket parking lot, rolls down the windows, gets some paper, writes for a few minutes, then looks at his new song.
"Dug myself in to deep Never thought past falling Your the one, one to see Had you, but I thought I was over
Should I have given her a chance? I didn't ever really even know her The unknown was my advance Cut it down before I knew her
Should've gone before the grind Diving for pearls in mud Blood spilling, filling my mind Had you, but I thought I was over
Should I have given her a chance? I didn't ever really even know her The unknown was my advance Cut it down before I knew her"
"Not a bad song." He said aloud, realizing some girl looking at him oddly as she walked by. He decides to name it "I Was Over". After all, this is the first bit of music he's written since the failure. His phone rings, it's Ron.
"Hi," he says.
"Hey," says Ron, "you wanna come over and play for a bit?"
"Sure, I'll be there at around two. I've got something to talk to you about."