A Rainy Field at 2 AM

A Rainy Field at 2 AM

A Story by Abba

A woman named Julia tries to prevent a suicide by telling her story.


      "I know sometimes it's hard to talk first. I know it's hard to trust people with your stories. So I'm going to tell you a story instead, if that's okay. You can interrupt me at any time. I just want you to know that sometimes sharing is the start of a new life. So if you don't have any objections, I'll begin."


      There is silence, the same silence that the call started with. She takes that as acquiescence.


      "My name is Julia. Wait, I'm sorry. That's a terrible way to start a story, isn't it? Let me try to be a little more interesting. Beginnings are important, I always thought so.


      Let me set the scene, then, if you don't mind. Remember, you can interrupt me at any time.


      There's a field in the middle of the town that I grew up in- well, I'm not sure if it's still there now, but part of me believes it'll be there forever- that houses the most spectacular view of the night sky that I've ever seen. It's only fifteen minutes' walking time from the busy main drag of the town, but once you hit the edge of that field, there's a silence that takes over. It's not dead silent, because I think that dead silence feels like concrete slowly filling in your head and solidifying, but a pleasant nature's silence composed of crickets and cicadas and the rustling of grass. 


Anyway. Too much scene setting? I have that habit. But this is an important field in my life.


      I think the first time I went there was when I was young. I remember passing it in the car, pressing my head against the glass of the windows, and asking my dad if we could play there later. I don't actually remember if we actually played or not. Life was like that when you were young, you know? You wanted something with all your heart and then, just as quickly, it was forgotten and replaced by another desire. Kid's wishes are transient. I wonder why we grow out of that.


      By the time I was fifteen I had definitely shed all of my childlike ability to bounce back from unfulfilled desires. I think we all do, it's inevitable. By fifteen I had an idea of how my life had to go. Not just college and careers, but the other stuff. I knew what I wanted in a partner and I knew what I wanted to accomplish before I died. My mind was constantly at war with itself, so I created this order out of chaos, a list of necessities to work towards that I could cling to.


      I really thought it would work. Even as I struggled to be happy, I completely believed that the best option for me was to look towards this future and forget about the present.


      The first time I saw the starry night sky spinning slowly above me while lying in the grass of that field, I was sixteen and drunk. It was the first time I'd ever had alcohol. And, get this, it wasn't even a party thing. None of my friends ever pressured me to drink or party. My friends were all like myself, quiet and immersed in their own lives, so we never really did anything.


      No, I decided to get drunk by myself because I'd read enough stories about alcholics to believe that it would help me drown out my mind. That night was a particularly bad one. By sixteen I had gone through enough disappointments, holes in the master plan for life happiness, to know that my plan was not set in stone, no matter how long I waited for the right people and the right time. It was a huge blow. Nothing in my world seemed solid anymore; it was a world of cardboard. Things started to chip away and fall apart everywhere I looked. No longer safe with simply rationalizing away the pain, I turned to alcohol and that field.


      I didn't realize the potential of the field that night because the alcohol worked too well. Cheap vodka, it was, horrible tasting and stolen from my parent's liquor cabinet. It made my head spin and drowsiness take over, so I fell asleep right there in the field underneath that starry sky, full of pain. But even though I fell asleep, I remember thinking right before I let go that though the sky was beautiful and the grass gave off a fragrance that tickled my nose, it wasn't enough anymore.


      So that field is where I went to commit suicide. It wasn't right away. I gave myself time to think it over. I thought it over for nearly a year. Not constantly, but I found myself thinking about it when I passed a bridge in my car, or saw a gun in a plexiglass cabinet at Wal-Mart.


      I had just enough time left in me to turn seventeen before I found myself walking out to that field again at two in the morning, once again with stolen goods from my parents. Not alcohol, but sleeping pills. Funny how parents fret over you and want to know where you're going if you have a date and try to connect with you over the dinner table, but they don't notice when the signs are there. It's a huge burden, really. I think everyone wants someone to notice.


      Remember you can interrupt me at any time. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


      So with a bottle of sleeping pills and a bottle of water and tears making my nose stuffy and my head pound, I walked like a zombie into the middle of the field. The grass was cold when collapsed, I remember that, and wet with dew. It felt nice against the humid summer air.


      In fact, I can remember every single thought I had that night. It's so clear in my mind. Even though it's been twelve years, I don't think I'll ever forget a single thing that happened. It's vivid.


      First I thought about my family. That's a natural thing. I learned that later, in therapy. Completely natural. I thought about how they'd react, and I knew they would be devastated and blame themselves and I tried first to guilt trip myself out of it. But my heart wasn't in it. My heart was never in my family. I loved them, but I didn't live for them.


      My friends never really crossed my mind. They cared for me and I for them, but it was a necessary human thing, not a real bond. They would be sad too, but that went along with my family. I cared for them all, but I would trade them all for peace of mind.


      I had no love of my life. Not even a celebrity, at that point. I remember looking at the sky, which was cloudy, and wondering briefly if it was worth hoping for. But the pounding in my chest and the way I ground my teeth gave me the answer. You can't live life simply on the hope of being loved. People are not predictable enough for that.


      As I was running through these reasons, clutching my knees in the dewy grass, the clouds hung overhead. I hadn't noticed the weather when I left- why would I, it wouldn't matter for very much longer. But they meant rain, and all of a sudden I could smell it coming, felt the barometric pressure shift just before the skies opened up. That's a weird phrase, isn't it? But it's true. The skies opened up and flooded rain on me. At first I thought it was a sign. That I had to do it.


      But then I realized something. The grass and flowers surrounding me knew something I didn't. They held the secret to happiness, and it wasn't being barely sentient. The plants were completely present-bound. I was astounded by the simplicity of the thought- let me rephrase that. It's simple in theory, but hard to enact. I knew that night, as it poured on me and my broken dreams, that the way I was thinking about life was completely wrong. I thought that planning for the future was a way to protect myself against the hurt of the world, that it would allow me to dodge the minefields of uncertainty and mistakes that everyone else gets caught in. And when that was proven wrong to me, I thought it was an error of the world, that it meant I wasn't meant to try anymore. I thought it was a sign that the game of my life was void, pre-destined to be a failure. The field told me otherwise.


      The field depends on a whim to give it the sun and nourishment it needs. It can't do anything to make the skies cooperate. It can only adapt and then hope for the best. Because the future is so uncertain, it lives entirely in the present. It doesn't worry when the sun is scorching, but chooses to simply rejoice when the rain comes.


      I didn't fully believe myself that night when I trudged back home in the rain, leaving a bottle of pills and a bottle of water behind in a soaked field. I wasn't sure I would be okay. But the field planted that idea in my brain. The great thing is, living for the present doesn't require you to be happy all the time. It's forgiving. It's forever passing and renewing itself. And it worked for me. I let things go. I let time take some of the burden off of my mind. And though I still got sad, and I still fought with myself, it was easier to breathe. Happiness comes.


      That's why I got this job. I wanted to give myself a chance to turn that night in the field, when I thought about throwing it all away, into something I can use to help others. It's redemption. It's... worth living for."


      There is still silence. Julia looks around at the other people in the office, all wearing headsets, staring at blinking lights and speaking intensely. Then, suddenly, she hears a commotion. She hears sirens. The sounds coming through the phone, after so much time spent talking to silence, are startling. She knows that the sirens belong to the ambulance that was dispatched as soon as she picked up the phone and traced the address back to a home in Idaho. The footsteps belong to paramedics, along with the tinny, harried voices calling back and forth. Someone speaks into the phone.




      "Hi. This is Julia with the National Suicide Hotline. Are you a paramedic?"


      "I am. You can hang up now, Julia."


      "They're okay?" Relief floods through her. But then there is a pause, too heavy for good news.


      "I'm sorry. She was dead on arrival."



      It's not the first time. It won't be the last. Julia nestles her head in her arms and cries. 

© 2012 Abba

Author's Note

Oh man. All of my things on here are about suicide. Sorry about that. Any criticism is welcome, especially on the pacing and character voice.

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Added on August 12, 2012
Last Updated on August 12, 2012
Tags: suicide, sadness, redemption, inspiration, emotion, story



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