So Here¶s the Reason I Want to Kill Myself« ³Is this it?

´ he asks his friend Julie from across her dorm room, taking a break from typing a paper on his white MacBook. Julie looks up at him with a curious smile exposing her perfectly aligned, eggshell white teeth. She is beautiful with short black hair and wide, hazel eyes that light up her Portuguese-tanned face. Some people claim that she is so beautiful that her facial features are contagious. That means that when she smiles the people around her will smile, and when she¶s upset the people around her will have the inside of their chest turn and twist into uncomfortable knots. He always thought that she would make a good model, but she never had the pretentious attitude of one. ³Is what it?´ she asks, her voice bubbly. He sighs uncomfortably, biting down on his lower lip and shifting his eyes from one corner of the room to the next. Julie¶s gaze burns through him, pulling at his insides. The words inside of his mouth become fumbled together and tangled like a ball of yarn. His left hand trembles on top of his thigh. He lifts it up slightly and notices that it won¶t stop vibrating. Her eyes rise suspiciously. Her smile melts like burning candle wax, molding itself into a look of concern. ³Is everything okay?´ He thinks about Julie wrapped up in his arms when they¶re stuck in the dark at night. They¶re both afraid to move, and even more afraid to break the silence. During the day they¶re separated, surviving the routine. Life nips at their heels during the daily rat race, and now that they¶re together in the dark they have nothing to show for it but the same old fears. He imagines his hand trickling down from her hip onto her stomach, feeling it lift and sink with each soft breath. He feels his heart jump start like a roaring engine. He wants to tell her he loves her, and that they¶ll never have to worry about being alone ever again. His lips separate but his tongue clasps in fear against the roof of his mouth. His eyes dance in a panic, but then she slides her silky hand over his arm, bringing her palm to rest on the top of his hand and coils her fingers around his« ³Yeah, everything¶s fine. I guess I was just asking about this paper,´ he admits, his left leg shaking with anxiety. Slowly she nods. ³Yeah, it¶s not too, bad is it?´

He shakes his head in agreement. Julie goes back to the textbook, and he tries to focus on the computer screen. His leg is still shaking.

There¶s no answer, he thinks to himself in the darkness of his common room. He¶s ask every person he knows one simple question and nobody seems to have anything to say. Is this it? Is this all there is to life after drug usage? He can still remember the first time he popped a Vicodin in his mouth. He could remember his muscles fizzing like seltzer water as the pill dissolved into him. He was coming out of the womb and experiencing life for the first time all over again. Every pit in his stomach and every bad feeling of depression in his mind seemed to evaporate. He had smoked pot a bunch of times, but nothing was like this. As always there¶s the crash. He would become a plane colliding with the earth. He didn¶t know what do with himself. His friends never caught on to the pills so they¶d never be entirely sure why he would be so depressed sometimes. They assumed that it was because he was smoking weed so often that he didn¶t know how to function without it. In a way they were right, because he did love weed and probably did smoke it too much. At least he knew how to exist with pot running through his veins though. He could still think, he could function like a normal member of society. It was the pills that destroyed him. The Vicodin, the Ambien, the Xanax« And then the crash. And then the anxiety. And then the depression«it was a never ending cycle and his friends finally realized that and told him enough was enough. They told him to get some help, so he got some Klonopin prescribed by a doctor. µIt¶ll help you,¶ the good doc told him, µit¶ll help you with the anxiety.¶ So he said fuck it and took the prescription. But it wasn¶t enough, no matter how much he wanted it to be. The little pill he popped in his mouth didn¶t prevent even a trembling pinky much less an anxiety attack. But there was something interesting that he was told about Klonopin. Something that kept him interested enough in the drug to maintain a relationship with it despite it¶s ineffectiveness. In a way, it was almost a beacon of hope from the little pill to relieve all of his problems in life ± the struggles with girls, the feelings of depression, the thoughts

that he let his friends down ± with one little bit of effort. µDon¶t drink too much and take too much Klonopin, it could wind up killing you.¶ Really? At the time he didn¶t think much of it, but now sitting alone in the dark, he can¶t help but avert back to that one phrase. µIt could kill you,¶ did he hear that right? Is the way out really that easy? It was almost laughable how the right amount of alcohol and these pills no bigger than his thumbnail could kill him, but there was also something very calming in the idea. Nobody could answer it, he thinks. Nobody could tell me if there was anything beyond the mundane life I live now. I wake up, go to class, do work, hang out, sleep, and repeat. It¶s all a repetitive cycle to keep me distracted long enough to not start using again or to live out the remainder of my lifespan. And there¶s not one thing else to it. Life is just a big distraction we deal with before death. Whatever happens beyond that is just a waste of time. He opens his laptop, illuminating the dark, and types µways to kill yourself with Klonopin¶ into Google. Always have an exit strategy«

I don¶t remember anything until now. I don¶t remember the airport. I try to recall it. I think there were blue carpets that rolled up all the way to the giant walls made of windows. There is a check in counter in the center of a sea of black, uncomfortable seats people sit in to wait. There is a woman working the check in counter. She has black hair and bad makeup. She smells like a cat. She tells me µmeow¶ and I get on board. I don¶t know if any of this happened. Don¶t trust me. The cabin is hollow and plain, with white plastic coating the walls and dirty blue seats arranged in small columns. Sitting in the seats is like wearing a shirt two sizes too small. My hands moisten the seats with their clamminess. There is cold air blowing through the cabin, but no noise. There¶s never any noise. It¶s too quiet for comfort. I can feel my heart beat faster. I cannot see the front of the back of the plane, just light. Out the windows there is nothing to see except for more, boring light. I am alone.

I look for my ticket in my pockets. I pull out notebook paper instead. I crinkle it up and throw it on the ground. It disappears. They all disappear. I wonder if they had writing on them. There is a non-smoking sign in front of me. I want it to say thank you. I want it to tell me thank you and then give me permission. I want it to say thank you and then give me permission and then give me a cigarette and then give me a lighter and then give me a puff and then give me an ashtray and then give me cancer and then give me another cigarette. I want it kill me because I don¶t like you very much. My hand trembles on the hard armrest. I enter a staring contest with the nonsmoking sign. The sign gets bigger. I stare harder. The red starts to glow. I keep staring. I¶m always staring. And watching. And staring. And watching. And« ³You shouldn¶t eat the fabric.´ You shouldn¶t. I feel my veins explode inside of me. I am calm. The non-smoking sign turns off and hands me a cigarette. I put it in my mouth, relieved. A weight is lifted off me. I look for the lighter. There is none. The cigarette feels slimy in my mouth, covered in mucus. It wiggles like a worm against my lips, trying to force itself down my throat. I can feel it beat against the back of my teeth, flailing around as if surveying the landscape. I¶m too afraid to bite down or touch it. It keeps creeping into my mouth. I fight the urge to grab the cigarette worm. I can feel small fangs dig against my tongue. My hand jerks and slaps it away from my mouth in a panic. I frantically look around. There is only a stiff, unlit, paper rolled cigarette sitting unanimated on the ground. I stomp and kill it, feeling it mush and pus under my foot. ³Don¶t digest the glass.´ There is a woman to my left. She is old and useless. I do not like her. She tells me again not to eat the fabric and don¶t digest the glass. She does this without speaking to me. I hate her. The old woman puts her hand on top of my mine. I notice her face is too wrinkled for any facial features. She has a toothless grin that is almost completely engulfed by the waves of wrinkles on her cheeks. Here eyelids are raisins that have consumed the majority of her eyes, and what¶s left are only black pits. Her hair is white and unkempt

and looks like a tangled, frizzy ball of wire. Her ears sag down to her neck. I can feel her skin move around like the skin on a boneless chicken breast. Underneath her skin she has no bones. ³In the event of an emergency please secure the gun to your child¶s head first and pull.´ The guns drop from the ceiling where the emergency masks should be. I see the woman only has a pack of cigarettes. I yank my hand away from her and pick up the gun. It is weightless in my hand. The trigger is rubber. This gun is not real. I put the gun to my head and look at her. There is only one bullet in it. There are two of us. I don¶t know what to do. ³Thank you for not smoking.´ I close my eyes and point the gun somewhere and pull the trigger. The trigger gets stuck. There are no bullets. The inside of my ears explode. I catch one last look at the plane. But I looked the wrong way and only saw boring, uninspiring light.

The wailing from the desk causes his head to jerk off his pillow. The alarm is going off loudly so he picks the clock radio off his desk and brings it to his head resting on the pillow, angrily slamming his long, piano player fingers onto the snooze button. He has ten more minutes of peace before it goes off again. He guesses that he¶ll be late for class, but this doesn¶t change the situation. His head buries itself back into the recycled pillow and prays that the alarm doesn¶t go off again. His ritual is mundane. First the alarm goes off, playing the theme song from a movie he saw a few years ago. He eventually finds his way out of bed after hitting the snooze button a couple times and proceeds directly into the shower, making sure he: 1. Brings towels 2. Brings soap 3. Brings shampoo 4. Turns the fan on He then strips down and lets the steaming water rain on his flesh. The running water gives him urges to go to the bathroom. He used to get out of the shower, go to the

toilet, handle his business, and then return to the shower after, but he realized it¶s easier to go right in the shower and save himself the precious minutes before class. He tries to decide what to eat for breakfast (or if he even has time for breakfast) when ³it´ happens. He breathes in heavily, feeling small bumps in his breath, like a car going over potholes. He tries to soften his breathing by taking slower and more controlled respirations, only to have his breathing transform into nervous pants. The shower begins to close in slowly on him. In the distance he can hear the showerhead scream as it throws up water. His hand starts to shake violently, losing all ability to function. He forces himself to steady it but he feels firm fingers wrap around his neck before anything can be accomplished. His legs wobble like Jell-O, teetering his body like a tree swaying in the wind. He can feel his brain begin to shut down. He escapes the shower just before his legs buckle and force him to the ground. His arms disconnect from their sockets like Lego pieces while his heart pounds against his chest plate, pleading to get out and get some fresh air«

The decision to skip class and stay in bed was rationalized after the anxiety attack¶s effects wore off. He knew it was going to be a problem because skipping class would mean he¶d have to catch up later, but his mind was somewhere in the clouds right now. He has anxiety attacks so one day he went to the doctor. He said to the doctor µI have anxiety¶ and the doctor said µwe have medication for that¶ and wrote him a prescription. The drug was called Klonopin. He is supposed to take one every morning and make sure not to drink with it, but he found that lately the Klonopin doesn¶t work at the dosage he was prescribed. This frustrates him, but finds his solution in taking up to three times the amount after he has an anxiety attack. This helps his hand stop shaking. He takes only two yellow pills this time. After he takes them he starts to feel sleepy, so he goes over to his bed and collapses. As his body hits the bed he finds himself sinking into it like quicksand slowly molding around his body. His breathing softens as the sand enters into his mouth. He grins stupidly and lets himself drown into a slumber.

When he wakes up his stomach is growling. He did not dream while he was asleep. He was glad because he sometimes has nightmares when he takes Klonopin. He calls them Klonopin Nightmares. He¶s not sure why it happens ± last time he checked that wasn¶t even a symptom ± but he notices that his nightmares intensify when he falls asleep on Klonopin. He rolls out of bed and finds and old pair of jeans to put on. He has worn these jeans every day for the past three weeks, but nobody notices so he keeps wearing them. He puts on a short sleeve t-shirt and a pair of socks and, just like that, he¶s ready to walk out of his room and into his apartment common room. The first thing he notices is the quiet. Usually when one of his roommates are around, they will turn on the TV to an unprecedented level of loudness. But the room is so quiet he can hear his feet pattering against the thin carpet. He walks cautiously into the common room to make sure nobody is there and, upon seeing it empty, walks through the common room and into the kitchenette. He opens the fridge in hopes of finding leftovers from a few nights ago, but comes up with only a few packets of butter, barbecue sauce, and orange juice. He opens the freezer with little optimism but is quickly excited over discovering a pack of boneless chicken breast. Like a child on Christmas he yanks the chicken out of the freezer, touching it all over and examining it carefully to make sure his eyes aren¶t playing a cruel trick on him. Thankfully they¶re not and he is ecstatic over his dinner opportunity. Without his permission his mind¶s eye pulls up a movie screen and replays a memory from this past summer. He¶s pulling into a driveway and getting out of his car, walking nervously towards a two story, dark-sky-blue house with white shutters and grey trim around the windows. With each step he gets more and more nervous, but when she opens the door, her eyes gleaming under the evening summer sun, his discomfort transforms into a genuine happiness. ³Hey you,´ she says to him. ³Hi Andrea,´ he says back, his words untangling themselves from uncertainty. ³Are you ready to make dinner?´ She asks pleasantly. ³Only if it comes out good, otherwise we might as well skip this and go out to McDonalds.´

She punches him playfully in the arm as they walk into the kitchen. The stove is already burning quietly with sliced pieces of chicken breast laying on the counter. She walks over to the counter and he follows her. ³So,´ he begins, ³what¶re we making here tonight?´ ³Chicken cooked on the stove with barbecue sauce.´ He notices how Andrea¶s smile seems to light up as the sun leaks through the kitchen window and focuses in on it. Her grapefruit lips form a soft smile while her eyes focus on the chicken in front of her. As Andrea works her brunette hair falls over her shoulders to the side of her face, causing her to stop working and smile about something. He laughs a little and brushes it away from her cheek, feeling her gentle skin against his fingertips as he does so. He keeps his hand against the side of her face for a second, feeling the warmth of her cheek against his palm. She stops and turns towards him, leaning into him and closing her eyes« A firm pounding against the apartment door jolted him as if he had just been suddenly awoken from a nap. He walked over to the door and flung it open, expecting and fully ready to either protect whoever was in trouble punch the obnoxious knocker in the face. Instead he was greeted by a 5¶7´ Italian with wavy blonde hair wearing a nice jacket and an expensive pair of jeans. ³What the hell took you so long?´ the friend asks in jest. He answers with the first excuse that comes to mind. ³I was taking a shit dude, I¶m the only one here.´ The friend grins with entertainment. ³Nice dude, how was it?´ He grins back. ³Solid in every use of the word. Come on in Dante, I forgot you were coming over.´ Dante walks in, taking off his coat and throwing it on a bench by the common room table. ³Well it is Wednesday dude, our µcook dope meals and go to The Abbey for a round after¶ day.´ He walks over and turns on the TV. His steps vibriate up his leg, and he notices that his teeth are numb. ³I must have a serious calendar-hiccup vibe going because I thought it was Tuesday.´

³I get those a lot lately. I find that I go through routine patterns so much that when I let my brain go into autopilot it gives me the finger and does whatever it wants,´ Dante comments, stretching himself out on the couch. ³Change of pace is a spice of life, too Goddamn bad we can barely have that happen anymore,´ he adds as he sinks into his favorite chair perpendicular to the couch and the TV. ³But after everything that happened last year, could you really say that it¶s such a bad thing we lost spontaneous phenomenon?´ ³It¶s only a bad thing when we can¶t make the spontaneity happen on our own terms. But given everything that happened last year«especially that first semester«´ Dante¶s voice trails off while the TV goes on rambling in the background. ³How do you feel about ordering pizza or subs for dinner?´ He asks after several minutes, shattering the silence. Dante nods. ³I¶d feel good about that. Where from? Fat Anthony¶s, home of the original gangster wrap?´ He laughs and nods. ³You know I¶m always good for food made by Mafioso. Hang on, I think I have a menu on the fridge.´ He walks into the kitchen and notices that the frozen chicken is still on the counter. He feels his insides coil tightly. Without much hesitation, he grabs the chicken off of the counter and shoves it into the freezer, where he hopes it will disappear forever.

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