Mermaid

Last time she came to the surface, Meryl found what seemed like a man, but his fins were all divided and strange. For some reason, he’d resisted as she pulled him down beneath the waves, as though his gills worked in reverse, like a dolphin’s.

This time seemed less eventful. Though the sun was drying and oppressive, she was the only creature in its path. The way it dissolved her skin should have compelled her back home, but it felt right today, like atonement. She stuck her face out of the water, where she couldn’t breathe. The quiet desperation of it gave her a strange kind of pleasure. The sweet ennui soon turned to fascinating terror, and when it turned entirely dire, she turned her face down and swam in circles, slowly regaining herself.

Voices from the beach called out to her. They were standing, looking in her direction. They were yelling, pointing, beckoning. She swam closer to them, though she couldn’t understand them or their language or their physical form. She imagined they were looking for the man she’d found. He’d died in her arms as she tried to help him. At his last breath, he had clung to her like a lover or a remora. She had been there for him.

She let them watch the empty surface. She left them. The pressure of fathoms separated her from them, and she slipped into her cave. Water flowed through her, and with water air, and with air life. She breathed it into him. Someday he would accept.

#asphyxiation, #denial, #invasive-thoughts, #loneliness, #murder, #mythical-creatures, #obsession, #water

Considerate

Because he was little more than a waste of resources, the only socially responsible action for Peter to take was ending his own life. He’d thought about it in the soundest of minds. Even at the height of his potential, if he produced whatever goods or services he was capable of producing, he would continue to remain a net drain on the economy and the environment for the foreseeable future.

He told this to a friend and was told to seek counseling. He tried to explain, he wasn’t depressed. He was only stating facts.

“I can’t believe you’d be so selfish that you’d even think about killing yourself. What about the people who care about you?”

Peter nodded, and waited.

After they had drifted apart, Peter crossed his friend’s name off a list.

He came out to his parents, and thankfully, they disowned him. He crossed them off, too.

The last of his connections was his landlady, who made gentle smalltalk whenever she saw him. When he stopped paying rent, she stopped talking, and changed the locks. Peter had left his list inside. It would likely be incinerated.

Severed at last from responsibility, Peter was ready, though unsure of the proper method. Subjecting an innocent bystander to the trauma of finding his lifeless body would be too cruel, and if his obituary was published, some empathetic auld acquaintance might feel some slight despair. Dying would not be enough. He could not be found or recognized. He had to destroy himself.

The pain was terrific, but he felt so much safer knowing that his teeth no longer matched the dental records, and that the acid had left his fingers nothing but bones. Anchor on his ankle, he was ready to disappear.

The fish who saw him looked alarmed. He was sorry.

#dead, #denial, #lonely, #microfiction, #missed-connections, #practical, #social-anxiety, #suicide

Affirmations

Never once has Sarah contemplated suicide.

Even as she sits down after work and collapses in her bed, eager for tomorrow to be just as over as today, she doesn’t consider the possibility of forcing her own non-existence.

In her weekly obligations with lingering high school friends, the few like her who never moved away, she listens attentively to their banal half-truths and absurd self-justifications and doesn’t think of drowning in her own blood.

She doesn’t ponder the various kinds of death or the innumerable implements that could with moderate effort do her in, even when she stares at them straight on.

scissors, toasters, marbles, string, bleach, glass

As she looks in the mirror at her dark, unattractive skin, somehow reflected in such a shiny object, she can’t conceive of any possible way out, nor does she want to. Her lazy boyfriend claims to love her in order to reap her benefits, and that gives enough purpose to her life to assuage the inevitable conclusion of her own conclusion.

Her mother strangled herself last year, but Sarah couldn’t imagine why. How was death any different from a wasted life, except shorter?

She brushes her hair, easing out the curls. She doesn’t imagine a way to dispose of her body after breath has left it. A little makeup and she’s almost pretty, and she doesn’t want to die. She chooses a nice, professional dress and she doesn’t want to die.

She visits her father.

#denial, #depression, #microfiction, #suicide