You have so much time. So much time to decide who you want to be. So much time to experience the world. So much time to live your life.
Lester Carling grew up with this idea. The idea that life’s defining characteristic was an abundance of time. He thought it was true because everyone, his parents, teachers, and friends, told him so.
But now, more than anything, he wanted it not to be.
So he killed himself.
December 13, 1993. 9:13 p.m. It was snowing and cold.
People think it’s difficult. Suicide that is. But for Lester, it couldn’t have been easier. It was something he’d been wanting to do for a long time. Some may struggle or hesitate or cry and back out. But not Lester. When it came to suicide, he had no problem.
He sat at his desk, set his wrist on the glass top, and he cut. First the right, then the left. Easy.
Once it was done, he looked down at the freshly carved slits. For a second, it was all very clean. There was no blood. Just precise, symmetrical slices along the creases in his skin. It was calm for a moment. It was quiet.
But then the blood came.
It flowed from his wrists like warm water pouring over the edge of an over-filled bathtub. It leaked onto the glass and pooled into funny shapes. Lester smiled a weak smile.
Modern art, he thought.
It was funny. Inside of him and out, his life didn’t make any sense.
Lester looked down at the desktop and saw his reflection. His medium-length brown hair was pushed to the side, and his wide eyes blinked slowly. He was average looking. Average face, average hair, average body. Perhaps that’s why no one seemed to pay him any attention. There was nothing striking about his appearance. He wasn’t ugly, but he wasn’t particularly handsome either. Just normal.
Though the outside of Lester was standard, the inside was not. If the inside of Lester could be likened to anything, it would be like a labyrinth. There were many halls and corridors winding and twisting throughout. Each contained dreams of happiness and love and inspiration, and all desired to be explored. Sadly, Lester never got the chance. As time went by, those paths were closed off, blocked by monsters and demons, and he was redirected to much darker, much bleaker trails.
A record played at the far corner of his room. Nick Drake’s ‘Pink Moon.’ It crackled and sputtered as it spun.
Lester loved records. They were so simple, and they made sense. You put them on the turntable, lifted the needle and set it down. As the needle nestled itself into those tiny, black grooves, you knew exactly what was going to happen. It was going play. Then it was going to end.
Lyrics of a life lived in melancholy constraints floated from the speakers. The record was almost over.
Lester watched the blood as it crawled down his fingers. He started to get dizzy. With each drop that slipped away, it became harder for him to breathe. The air that entered his lungs felt like wet sand. He could hear his heart pound loud and fast in his chest.
As was with the simplicity of records, the opposite was true for the poor, unfortunate life of Lester Carling.
There was no sense or simplicity in Lester’s life. Nothing worked. Nothing was easy. Nothing was good. Nothing helped him. Nothing made him smile. Nothing held out its hand and asked him to take a walk around the block to talk about what was bothering him. Nothing.
Nothing in his life made him want to live.
He closed his eyes briefly. What would his father think? Would he find him there, slumped over in his chair, wrists mutilated? If his mother was still around, how would she take it? Rather hard he thought. He was both thankful and unthankful that she wasn’t there to find him.
The record went silent briefly. Then it moved to the next track.
He breathed in.
The record spun.
Blood streaked down his hands. It wasn’t warm anymore. It was cool and thin.
He breathed out.
The slowly spinning record emitted sounds of a softly played guitar.
It would be better now, he thought. How could it be any worse? Now he wouldn’t have to deal with anything. Now he could just shut it all out. Now he could sleep, and he could dream. He could dream of what life should be like, what it was like to be thankful in the morning and to smile at night.
The music began to fade.
Things became foggy. He held up his hands, and they looked misshapen, his fingers melting together in a blur. A haze fell lightly on his shoulders. His breath was short.
He relaxed in his chair. His head fell back, and his eyes drifted shut.
The faint flutter of his heart began to quiet.
The record ended. Everything was still.
Life is never easy. For some people, it’s particularly hard and cruel and ugly. Lester was one of those people. He only knew the feeling of life’s spit in his face, life’s hand in his wallet, and life’s fist on his jaw.
Lester Carling was eighteen years old. He had so much time. Time that would harden his soul like cement in the cold. Time that he wanted nothing to do with.
So he killed himself.
Everything was dark. Everything was silent.
He was asleep. Just like he wanted.
Until he woke up.
I know, you might be wondering where this came from or what it’s about. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you soon. As soon as tomorrow perhaps. But for now, I’d like you only to answer a simple question:
If this were the opening chapter of a book, would you keep reading?
Answer honestly. I only want to know if it’s a yes or a no. Your answers would be very, very much appreciated.
I apologize for my extended absence. Everything should become clear when I explain just what this post means.
I should also apologize for being so bloody cryptic. I can see how that might be annoying. But for now, you’ll just have to live with it.
I’ll be seeing you.