A piece of flash fiction by Blessings Hara
With that piano piece being played by my lover in the next room, I can imagine myself walking home from work. I am aged 39 and it’s raining. I am almost done with my time in the USA. My shoes are drenched but I don’t care, life hasn't been fair. I arrive home. My pet dog tries to cheer me up by clawing onto my leg but nothing brings me joy anymore. I make coffee, but I don’t drink it. I disinfect my toilet and then switch off my microwave.
I live in a nine-story apartment building in Redmond WA, Alone, bachelor — ed but well paid at Microsoft. I change into my best shirt. I walk out of my apartment and into an elevator and select the roof of the building. When I get there it's done raining, it’s windy but consoling, cold but heartwarming. After smiling at a joke, I remember my mother once told me, I walk to the edge of the roof and jump off. My coffee begins to get cold, so does my body. And this piano continuously plays — trying to evoke me.
When I wake up I can easily smell the iron of my blood wailing into the air causing a scene. It's bright red — no surprise there — but I didn't expect my body to have contained something so normal, something so regular. It had always rung in my mind that, for sure, something great was faulty about me. Something so big that it could possibly have even been biological. Maybe my blood would have been green because it lacked a certain degree of a certain element. An element that was heavily required for my life to have finally equated to the normalcy of everyone else’s.
Seeing green, instead of that red, dashing as little narrow streams of blood radiating from my head, across the cold, tarred road, would have proven so many theories about myself. It would have helped me get a step closer to why I hadn’t held up a single relationship my whole life, why I had not deliberately, but sort of innately, projected myself as the strangest person socially, my whole life. It would have led, maybe, to why I had had more than ten mental breakdowns at work in the last three years and please don't ask me why they have kept me around and not just fired me on grounds of something ridiculous like poor mental health, I have never known the reason.
As I continue to gaze at my body on the tarred road, I am not confused but instead quite fascinated. I am lying flat, chest facing down on the ground but my face is poised towards the sky in a graceful manner. Its expression is subtly peaceful, sending a message of one saying, “leave me where I am, I am content, I am finally happy, let me be.” My eyes are wide open, yes, but they do not look stripped of their vision, in fact, it's like they can even see me.
Fear does not occur to me at this moment, I am not shaken seeing my body lying out on the ground like that because to me, that body never mattered. To me, that body always felt like a burden, something sort of like a piece of packaging. Once void of its purpose, It needs to be thrown away. Except, in this case, my body was one I had wanted to throw away for as long as I can remember. It didn’t matter to me if it had not yet served its purpose. I had borne enough of its vulnerability, its ability to feel pain, hatred, anxiety, shame, confusion, unresolved mental conflict, and sadness. But never happiness, whatsoever, in spite of it being equally an emotion as well. An emotion that it so ably could have also processed, like the others. Maybe this is what I thought was biologically wrong with me: a sort of happiness intolerance innately and anatomically interwoven into my blood, my bones and my flesh — my body.
I always wanted to throw away my body to relieve myself in a way. Me jumping off the roof was not a matter of a mental health crisis, it was simply me being fed up, being tired, and infuriated enough by my body.
I have slender legs and arms which are now twisted and funnily contorted from the fall. I have a seriously handsome face, I say this with confidence strictly because of the few meagre compliments I have gotten from random people through out my lifetime. It has a smooth texture and super dark tone. My eyes have always gleamed white but are now bloodshot from the fall. Their large eyelids are stretched back to allow me see and appreciate the dreamy blue of the sky, but I am absent. I also have eyelashes so delicate, so feminine, they could infuriate a model out of envy. My chest is clearly shattered from the fall but collected behind my skin. In fact, every other shattered bone in my body is secured behind my skin as well — within my body. Except for my left arm, from where a blindingly white bone, unlike the rest, betrays anatomical reservation and pokes through my skin, peeping outside my body, seeing a world it is not meant to see.
It is so upsetting when I finally hear the first scream, from a woman just across the road who witnesses my fall. She’s elderly, wearing an olive green blouse and skirt and she faints just before a horde of people begin to surround my body, and not hers. Look at them. Are they gathered to pay respect already or are they here to hear me wailing in pain? If its the latter they want, that’s greatly disappointing because I am lying there dreadfully quiet, as if this isn’t a time of liberation. As if this isn’t a time to shout with joy, get onto my feet and celebrate.
They are still standing there, gaping, crying, shocked, seemingly entertained and this baffles me. Why now? Why this time? One thing I know is that I have lived my life entirely as the least entertaining, least interesting person there could be, there isn’t possibly any way that I could be any less of that when I am dead. But there they are, still standing around me, around my body, trying to explore me, trying to understand how I am feeling, if I am doing fine. But none of that came my way when I was still shackled to my body, that stupid, useless thing. None of that had occurred to them, had been concerning to them, when I dragged that body around, the one which they now stand around and be amazed by.
Standing just over that body, amongst the horde, I wish I could spit on its face. But I don’t do it because they would not be able to see me do it, they would not witness it and finally know just how much I hated my body. So I decide I might just leave. As I begin to walk away from the crowd — my audience, my apartment, my blood and my body, I see that someone is already calling the police. They are dialing 911 and their phone’s dial beeps. Another’s phone rings shortly after and it plays a seriously explicit rap song for a ringtone. Some people glance with disdain as they find it disrespectful and dishonoring of the moment. I find it funny and I continue to slowly walk away while chuckling a little at how so ridiculous my body looks. But no one can hear me. No one can see me. Even before the fall, no one ever saw me. No one ever bothered to.