Chapter One - Rooftop
In my personal opinion, there are only two reasons to live. I don’t know what led me to decide on these two specific things, but this is what I believe.
The first is that light, fluttery feeling you get in your stomach and your heart when you see that one person you love more than anyone or anything. You probably know the feeling I’m talking about.
The one that’s like an evolved form of butterflies in your stomach. Well, maybe not evolved butterflies, but super-sized ones, at least. Butterflies fluttering around your stomach, flapping their over-sized wings, making you feel as if you can fly. You feel so happy, you’re afraid you might explode from the excessive amount of happiness filling your body.
And of course, that feeling is multiplied tenfold (maybe even more) when you know that the person you feel that way towards feels the same way about you.
So, in a nutshell, Thomas Halloran’s Reason #1 for Living is: love.
The second reason is, of course, sex. Who doesn’t like sex?
I, myself, do not possess either of those things. This is why I’m about to shoot myself in the head.
I’m teetering on the edge of a building, staring at the bustling city below. People sure were busy at half past midnight on a Sunday night.
You’re probably wondering why I’m on the top of a building after saying I was going to shoot myself in the head. No, I’m not trying to be contradictory. Don’t worry yourself; I plan entirely on blowing my brains out.
I figure once my head is splattered all over the place, my body will slump over, and I’ll fall off the edge of the building and the rest of me will become acquainted with the concrete sidewalks below and splatter everywhere as well. I thought it’d be funny if everyone thought I’d killed myself by jumping, only to discover my gun in hand and exploded head.
Yeah, I have an odd sense of humor.
By this time you’re probably thinking I’m an asshole and a loser based on the fact that I want to commit suicide just because I’m not getting laid. I assure you, it’s not just because of that.
My father died when I was eight. He got in a wreck on his way to the store to buy me a new toy because I wouldn’t stop whining about it.
He was crossing a four-way intersection, and a truck on his left ran a red light (he was drunk, I think) and completely obliterated my dad’s body, of course killing him. My mom has always blamed me for his death.
“If you weren’t so selfish…!” and all that. So I’ve had that overwhelming guilt hanging over my head for sixteen years.
I also had the first half of Reason #1 for Living: I was in love.
Key word: “had.”
Key word: “was.”
It was a girl named Madison that I had been dating for two years. It was going great, up until three months ago when she cheated on me with my ex-best friend Eric.
Obviously, I don’t speak to either of them anymore. That’s all I’m going to say about that subject.
So I’m a loveless, sexless (not meaning I don’t have a penis, obviously; you know what I mean), selfish, guilt-ridden jerk with no job, busking to try to pay rent. Who would want to be me? Why would I want to be me? Why would I want to live?
I listened to the various car horns honk angrily at each other on the lit-up streets below. I chuckled under my breath at the contrast between me up here and the cars down there. Them so full of life in the street, me feeling so dead already up high, looking down upon them as if from Heaven.
But of course I wouldn’t be an angel. You go to Hell if you commit suicide, right? Isn’t that the rule? God’s policy?
My mom is a big-time Christian. She’s not gonna be happy about this at all. I guess I can take some extra guilt with me into the afterlife. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter, I guess.
I looked down at the pistol resting on my lap. It was a Glock, Model 19, smooth and metallic. I lifted it up and stared into the dark hole of the barrel, searching in empty nothingness for something. Anything. Some sort of sign that I shouldn’t do this. That there was another way to solve my problems.
Of course I wouldn’t find it in the barrel of my gun; the only solution I’d find in there was a small, cold piece of metal.
I placed the gun back in my lap and tilted my head back, looking into the pitch-black sky. There weren’t many stars out that I could see. Maybe eight or nine…eleven tops.
I wondered what would happen to me once I did it. I’d die, of course, but I was thinking about what would happen to my soul, my spirit. The real me.
I’m a Christian, so I believe in Jesus and the Devil and Heaven and Hell, all that stuff.
Most people don’t really question that sort of thing when they’re living their normal lives. When a gun is about to be held to your head, however, you may start to.
Maybe those Muslims are right, and once you commit suicide you get a hundred virgins or however many it is. That’d be kind of ironic, though, don’t you think? I finally get Reason #2 for Living once I’m dead.
Or maybe the Christians did in fact hit it right on the money, and the moment I off myself I’ll come face-to-face with Satan himself. That sure would suck, though. I kill myself to try to get away from a terrible world, only to be thrust into an even worse one.
Come to think of it, Hell can’t be all that bad. Madison and Eric aren’t there.
Or perhaps it was the Hindus who figured it out, and once I pull the trigger I’ll suddenly wake up as a deer or a rabbit or something.
Or maybe just a worse-off version of myself.
It was pointless speculation, though. Sitting here thinking about it won’t give me the answer. The only way to find out was to get it done with. To stop procrastinating.
I looked back down at the city below my dangling feet. “Here we go.” I muttered to no-one. I picked up the pistol and gulped, sweat sliding down my cheek and dripping onto my t-shirt.
“Here’s your last chance God, Allah, whoever the hell’s out there,” I half-shouted, pressing the barrel of the gun hard against my temple, which started to hurt and give me a headache. It’d be gone soon, though, so it was stupid to complain or worry about it.
“If there’s any sort of plan for me…any reason to live,” I began, my shirt now damp with sweat. It was gross. “Then tell me now. Give me some sort of sign.”
I waited a moment, half-expecting the clouds to part and see Jesus Christ himself floating towards me chanting Latin or some other language I don’t know how to speak.
When that didn’t happen, I waited longer, pressing the gun harder into the side of my head, giving the wind time to pick up and blow the pistol out of my hand and over the edge, never to be seen again.
When that didn’t happen, I braced myself for whatever sort of afterlife that was waiting for me, my finger ready to pull the trigger.