A Chapter by Tom Cook



                I had lived or escaped. No, I was alive but trapped. It started with the hospital room with the IVs and blood bags. Then there was the prescription meds and the urging from numerous sides to see a therapist. I felt more trapped now then when I was years ago.

                My family visited me. Carissa stayed quiet and texted. She told me she was happy I was okay and then drifted away. I wasn't sure where to. Mother and father scolded me at first, then eventually said something along the lines of glad you're okay.

                "Why'd you do it, Clarence?" My mother's voice sounding like a chastising teacher catching a child drawing dirty pictures on their homework. I hated how she wasn't mad or disappointed at me for trying to kill myself, and a part of me believed she wanted me to succeed. She asks me again, her eyes widening.

                "Just wanted to."

                "Just wanted to?" she peered up my rim glassed father, who smelled of whiskey cologne. He grunted and shook his head.

                "Yeah. I just wanted to die."

                "Clarence you have to think these things over before you go through with them." There was a fig of concern in my mother's words that caused me to nibble at them. She was really baiting me. Her and father and Carissa had discussed this before they came. I was the black sheep of the family, I was the one blessed with all the brains but never loved. The oldest brother, to Carissa. The crazy son, to dad. The annoying child, to my mother. Sure I would be missed, they agreed on it, but why stop me from doing the inevitable? Why not make something of it.

                My mother gripped my hand and squeezed it. The first intimate contact we've had in over eight years. She smiled, and welled her eyes up.

                "Clarence, honey. Do you really want this?"

                "Yes, mother."

                Father grunted, Carissa texted. If Mara was around she would have screamed them from this room.

                "It would be such a waste, you know if you did it without a plan."

                "What do you mean?"

                She turned to my father and he handed her a Tradition and Honor brochure. I thought of the one in the trash bin at home and wondered if it were still nestled there or in some burning trash furnace. Mother took the brochure from his hand and rested it on my chest.

                "Clarence, honey, we want what's best for you. And if you really think this is something you want, then it would be reasonable for you to have a plan."

                Out of the corner of my eye, father walked over to Carissa and put his hands on her shoulders. She slipped her phone away and stepped to my bedside where the sun caused her white face to blind me.

                "Think of your family, Clarence."

                "I am," I said. "That's why I tried to kill my--"

                "Think of Carissa or your father or your mother. We did as much as we could, Clarence. We did what we could with all we had."

                "Mom lost the restaurant." Carissa said. Mother gritted her teeth and turned to her. Her eyes turning into guns shooting hot lead at her. She smiled and said yes and why she lost it. Some health problem, she said, someone buying loads of unprocessed meat and a thieving waitress. Stuff out of her control, she said, but mother was always in control.

                "Clarence we don't want you to suffer," dear old mother said, "but we don't either. When I was your age people believed suicide to be selfish because it left everyone shattered. They didn't know how to pick up the pieces and they didn't know how to recuperate."

                "What are you asking me?"

                "Think it over. Help pay for your sister's college, or your father and I. Help somebody."

                "What about Mara?" I asked quickly. "What about her?"

                "Mara?" the name hung on my mother's tongue for a second. She had forgotten who she was for a moment until a light clicked on in her head. "Mara's not flesh and blood, Clarence."

                "I care about her."

                "I know you do, sweetie. But family, you have to think of your family."

                "Mom lost her restaurant, Clarence." Carissa says again, and receives another snide stare from mother again. "Well you did."

                "Son life is hard," my father finally speaking. His voice tries to be soothing but it is still mixed with gruff and wear, the occasional sip of whiskey. "Years ago we would have gotten you help. Hell, when I was your age people just toughened up. But times have changed."

                "It's not something people look at the same way," my mother says, "there are certain benefits that come along with it."

                "You can help people." Father says.

                "Your family," mother chimes back in and smiles. "Think about it, Clarence."

                She tuck the brochure under my hand and kissed me on the forehead. Carissa waved awkwardly and father thought about shaking my hand, but instead patted my shoulder. They left me to my thoughts.

© 2012 Tom Cook

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Added on July 21, 2012
Last Updated on July 21, 2012
Tags: suicide, room, fate, death, jack, kevorkian, violence, dystopia


Tom Cook
Tom Cook

Cape Girardeau, MO

My fiction has been published in the World of Myth, my body in Play-girl. I'm an editor for Wednesday Night Writes, please send me your stories, flash fiction, and poetry, I want you to know the wa.. more..

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A Chapter by Tom Cook