When another suicide comes up in the late night news (the time when everyone has gone to bed and the only information aired is the less important news of someone else’s tragedy) those insomniacs sitting on their pre-loved couches with half-melted cartons of ice cream in their lifeless hands only manage to muster up the small amount of regret they possibly can for the people who were too hopeless to try for something happier.
And as that news reporter with the strand of hair that never stayed in place and the tiny smudge of Autumn Leaves orange lipstick on her professionally whitened teeth continued into the gory detail of how the “victim” swan-dived head first into the pavement, remains of her now mutilated head spreading to almost sixty-five metres and how the forensic scientists were currently failing at fitting the pieces of her jig-sawed body back together, all you can think is what must’ve gone so terribly wrong in that person’s life to bring them to such a sudden stop. And as the possibilities run through our empty minds, our thoughts never sway to the other side.
This is their life.
Late one night; all alone, laying in your dark, cave of a room amongst the tangle of cold sheets and blankets that grace your body, the phone rings. You answer it; receiver pressed firmly to your ear, you manage to slip out a weary, “Hello.” The coarse voice of an emotionless man answers on the other end of the intricate web of telecommunication wiring. He tells you that he’s sorry to disrupt your sleep, but that another job has come up. Another woman has jumped off of the sky-scraper, mid-city. Unfortunately, this one’s head didn’t agree with the contact of the ground, and exploded more violently than they usually do, he tells you, and that you’ll need more than your usual equipment for this one.
You never finished high-school. You grew tired of their rules and expectations by tenth grade, and you left to make a living out of the music you wrote in your tightly-bound, brown leather diary. A man, going through a rough divorce and angry with the world, told you your music would never commit to success, and that you as a man would never commit to anything. This was your father. Your mother couldn’t support you on her late-night, waitressing wages, so you had to accept any job you could get. One of the women your father had been sleeping around with happened to be a principle, she also happened to be in charge of an educational service that lacked cleaners. Fortunately for you, intelligence was not necessary in the area of spraying ammonia on toilet seats and picking ancient gum off the bottom of tables.
One day, a young boy around the age of thirteen jumps off the roof of the library. You can imagine it now, the shine in the ridges of the silver guttering you cleaned out the day before, water trickling down the piping that were rid of fungi and mould two days and running, the blood stained bricks that made up the foundation for the historical, two-storied library. Let’s pause. The boy had had his head shoved in toilets every day since he started year seven, his glasses and intelligence were the base of the older boy’s bullying, his parents were abusive; an alcoholic and a home wrecker. Let’s play. You stand, staring at the spot where his head collided with the earth – the blood is thicker here. You breathe in small, short breaths, that dreadful smell of nose bleeds suddenly hits you. You turn to the bush to the left of you, and you’re sick. Scrubbing brain out of the concrete wasn’t in the job description.
And here you stand now. You could always determine the exact location of the impact ever since the day little boy blue threw himself into the school yard. You take out a broom and turning to the night air for another breath, you begin to sweep up the scattered fragments of her skull. This is the easy part. After this comes the scrubbing. Blood is always easy to scrub out when it’s half way between dry and wet – this is because it doesn’t soak into the concrete to create a permanent grave stone, nor does it become impossible to scrub off with human hands. Down on your knees in blood and brain, you spray the ground with a concoction your boss has given you. You lean forward, applying pressure to your hands which hold the cloth tightly in their grip against the pavement.
This is your life.