He had given enough speeches to know when he was losing the crowd. Now, for instance. While he spoke of dreams and realities, students were flirting with each other, as they do. Some teacher shushed, though hers was the voice that carried.
“Now I hear you. I know what you’re thinking. Who are you, up there, telling me how I’m supposed to live? What makes you such an expert on life?” As Roger voiced their doubts, he felt their attention return. Against some murmuring, he saw more eyes in his direction. He saw nodding.
“Why should I listen to someone, you’re saying, who makes a living spouting platitudes at bored children? Why, I hear you think, should I listen to the only bozo this miserable institution could afford? What possibly could he have to tell me that I don’t already know that I would bother to accept? I’m going to college! I’m smart. Well, you’re not as smart as me.” Real talk always won them back.
“Without any other qualifications, I have managed to maintain a career as an inspirational speaker for nearly ten years now. And if that’s not an inspiration, I don’t know what is.”
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.