In the Course Of Breathing

In the Course Of Breathing

A Story by J. Elsie

Inhale.

 

The cold metal rail supports the nape of my neck in the falling sun of a January day. The resolution was to move on with my life and quit being so goddamned depressed all the time. Thirteen days into 2008 I was positive it would be another failing attempt at a New Year. Maybe it's a New Year, but for me it will always be the same year, the same life, and the same misery. I find it hard just to move, let alone move on.

 

And now today, day fourteen, I'm laying on the railroad track less than a mile from a house that claims to be my home. Just out of reach for those who claim to be my family, claim to love me, and of course 'want to help'� me. F**k them. F**k that.

 

 

Exhale.

 

 

The air is dead silent. I laugh at that idea of silence so quiet it could only be of the dead. I'd like to picture the dead as a noisy bunch, like something out of a horror flick, walking, moaning, and eating people. I'm not sure I have the energy for all that. Maybe the truth is better. Living is so complicated and persistent, going on when you don't want it to, leaving you running to keep up. Life is noisy and chaotic. In this moment there is no chaos, and I suppose that means a lack of life. I wish I could blend with my surroundings.

 

 

This rail holds me and it is the only place I am comfortable for these few hours, for all my years, yet I do not belong. Blood flows through my veins, whether felt or not, and the course of 'being' continues. Every thing I can see and touch now, had it a way, would shun me for being so alive, though I am mostly dead anyway. Maybe that's why it is so easy to imagine being dead, perhaps the absence of dead's mocking, provides me a feeling of acceptance. It greets me by not turning me away. Death welcomes all.

 

 

Inhale.

 

 

An image flashes before my eyes. Our family gatherings 'are not to be missed'�. I would have missed it if at all possible, but my mother dragged me to the backyard for an evening of 'Well aren't you growing up?'� and 'Lookey who decided to grace us with her presence today!'� which is really just a nice way of saying 'Look at the b***h who doesn't like us and would rather be gouging her eyes out with a dull spoon.'�

 

 

In all honesty it's probably me who came up with that variation, not them, but I would like to think that not one of them truly gives a s**t about me. It's easier to not feel that way.

 

 

Exhale.

 

 

The aroma of wood burning fireplaces fills the chilling wind. I'm too far to really feel the heat, but the smell warms me anyway. I curse it, for I do not want to be warmed.

 

 

'You were weak, Ella, it is okay to be weak sometimes. We all have our moments of failure. We all give in to things we regret later. It's just part of life.'�

 

 

I'm really not weak. I do not give in. I won't anymore. No, he didn't rape me. Yes, I took my clothes off. But if I am stark naked with legs spread and body beneath him, then I say 'No.'�, he should still stop. He didn't. So, she thinks I gave into some kind of urge and I think I changed my mind too late. I decided on strength when it no longer mattered what I wanted.

 

 

Who cares?

 

 

I did. Now, looking at the sky, and imagining being it, floating so carelessly with an objective view of the world, I wonder how my death will be viewed. Is a tragedy such as this viewed as a sign of weakness? Is suicide a way out? Or is my death a hint of willpower? Can't it be that I finally followed through with something instead of another way that I fucked up?

 

 

Inhale.

 

 

The vague and distant horn of a traveling train blows. In this moment I hear that horn and a voice calling out my name. It is my father, I can tell, even though his voice is full of concern, something I don't usually hear from him.

 

 

My mind races, but my body stays immobile. I wonder if he will find me before the train does. I wonder if his eyes will convince me to come with him instead of go to a place of uncertainty. I argue whether I want him to find me, convince me, or leave me be.

 

 

I can feel the vibrations of a thundering locomotive carrying coal or maybe nothing at all. Is there a way to tell how heavy it is by the vibrations as it approaches? I don't care.

 

 

The sound of my name is fading and I'm sure he's turned the other way. So this is it, my opportunity to make a decision all on my own. It is now, or tomorrow, or the next day. Procrastination has ruled my life for far too long.

 

 

Exhale.

 

 

My teeth are clattering together now; I can see the headlights of the train growing larger by the millisecond. I raise my hand to my head and feel the pressure on my temple. Strong hands grasp my underarms, lifting and throwing me to the ground beside the tracks. The train rushes by me.

 

 

Inhale.

 

 

My eyes search the tracks, trying to catch a glimpse of whoever moved me. I struggle to see between the cars, but everything is a blur. In the agony of waiting moments until the caboose rumbles past I think of my father's searching voice. It echoes in my head begging me to make a better decision, the decision everyone wants me to make.

 

 

I do not see him on the other side of those tracks. He is not on this side with me. A quick walk down the rail-line will surely help me find a shoe, a shred of clothing, and reminder of my choices and how they affect others.

 

 

F**k me! I've screwed up enough lives other than my own. I wonder how many others I've accidentally murdered with my poor actions. If I would have stepped off the tracks a little sooner to finish it with the pistol as planned, then only I would have died today. My poor mother, losing her husband and daughter all at once.

 

 

But there's no turning back now. I've got to move on. I'll be the first to stick to a New Year's resolution in quite a while. I will stop being so goddamned depressed. Because where I'm going there is no feeling. There is no noise. It's silent. Dead silent. Chuckle. Pistol to my temple.

 

 

Exhale.


© 2008 J. Elsie



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Featured Review

I looooove how you have broken this up. The exhaling and inhaling serve to empower the content of what you're writing. And can I say that I am sad. This piece makes me sad. Very sad. Too sad. We must talk about this more. I want to hear the story behind the story. I want to hear the details inbetween the words. I want to know where this story came from and where it takes you next.

Talk to me.

Posted 10 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

This is dark and yet oddlysprinkled with lightness. I felt for the narrator, and yet I laughed at some of the things she says. In the last moments of what could be her life, she still is making jokes. It's kind of powerful. It's like she's still saying, 'I'm still me, no matter what.' This still has me wondering what has happened to her, what will happen to her. The father too. I really enjoyed how it's split by the breathing. So much thought in so little time. I also like the white space on this. I think too much of the time writers neglect to put enough paragraphs and enough space between them. It helps give the reader a sense of progress, and it helps the story flow. You also have some very stirring sentances that puts the reader right next to the character. Nicely done.

Posted 4 Years Ago


This is a very powerful write. I love the lines "Inhale" and "Exhale." You've taken us down into the lowest depths, but also shown hope at the same time. This is such a hard topic to convey, but you've done it beautifully.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Jenn..
There are lines written where you entered a world I am all to familiar with. It is both beautiful and tragic. The struggle between the heart and mind, the rationalizations, the lines drawn. You shout it. "This is it!! But, then there is that faint call of home(life)..You flirt with that moment of "no return."
Also, there is that uncertainty of what awaits. Your writing is so vivid, I feel like Eric, it makes me want to reach out to you. This is an incredible piece,Jenn. I've not read a more in depth look at the thought of suicide. Having a terminal cancer, I have looked quite deeply at life vs death. I can only say it is a masterful look into the totally broken soul. Rain

Posted 10 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

I looooove how you have broken this up. The exhaling and inhaling serve to empower the content of what you're writing. And can I say that I am sad. This piece makes me sad. Very sad. Too sad. We must talk about this more. I want to hear the story behind the story. I want to hear the details inbetween the words. I want to know where this story came from and where it takes you next.

Talk to me.

Posted 10 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Through out the story, I liked how you alternated breaths of inhale & exhale, her emotions & thoughts that took place in perhaps a few moments. The tracks themselves can represent painful memories & regret.

Near the end, the character mentions that she's screwed up enough lives other than herself. It still seems that even after what happened, she still has some sort of regret she can't let go of or she's just unnecessarily blaming herself for other people's faults.

It just seems that she's pretty hard on herself by demanding that she quite being so goddamn depressed. I don't know, maybe she just needs a hug.

good job,
Sarah

Posted 10 Years Ago


2 of 3 people found this review constructive.

This story is exhilirating. It was such a good read all the way through, I love how you conveyed the emotions of someone with suicidal depression so well, Great Job! I've written quite a few pieces with similar themes if you are interested, just read them on my page, they are I AM JOSHUA, ANTI-DEPRESSANT LAND, AND ANTI-DEPRESSANT LAND THE BOOK. Check me out if you have the extra time.

Peace.
Ja Guerrero

Posted 10 Years Ago


2 of 3 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 6, 2008

Author

J. Elsie
J. Elsie

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About
10/31/2017 My contributions to this site began in 2007 and mostly ended in 2011. I made several close friends here, but life took me elsewhere and I thought writing was a pasttime. Recently, while .. more..

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