As Teddy looked out over the side of the rooftop, he wondered if it would hurt when he hit the ground. He had looked for the quickest, least painful ways to kill himself and this is what he had settled on.
His first instinct was to shoot himself in the head, but he was afraid that he’d mess that up and survive, leaving himself crippled for the rest of his life.
He then considered sleeping pills, but he was afraid that after taking them, when he was between being able to easily move or talk, but not asleep yet, he would change his mind and have to spend his last few minutes, maybe hours even, knowing he was going to die but not able to do anything about it as he drifted off.
Finally, he had decided to jump off a rooftop. He found the highest one he could where he wouldn’t have to risk landing on someone by accident.
Surprisingly, he felt calm as he looked out over the city and watched the sun set just at the crest of the horizon.
Taking one final breath, he turned away from the edge. He didn’t want to watch the ground approach. He wanted to close his eyes and let it happen.
Starting slow, then picking up speed, he leaned backwards and fell off the side.
As he fell, time seemed to slow down. The air flowing through his hair was somehow soothing. He felt the initial drop in his stomach, but the feeling quickly dissipated, and he felt like he was falling through a soft cloud.
“Look, it’s clear no one wants to buy your books,” his wife started. “You have a family, and I can’t be the only one making money. You have responsibilities now.”
He knew she was right, but all he ever wanted to be, was a writer. He had tried to explain time and time again to her that writing was who he was, but she only saw it as a hobby.
His heart sank as he watched her walk out of the room. He closed the lid of his laptop, knowing that there was a good chance that his latest story may never be told.
With a heavy heart, he put the laptop into a drawer. He told himself he’d find the time to write, even if it was in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep.
It felt like he had been falling for minutes and he was surprised that he hadn’t hit the ground yet.
He felt like he was in a movie theater watching all the moments that had led him to this point.
“Logitools IT Support Help Desk, my name is Teddy, how can I help you today?” he asked into his headset.
He had been working at that help desk for a few months now. He thought this would’ve made his wife happy, but she continued to make comments on how little he was making.
It seemed no matter how hard he tried, he could never meet her standards and he started to feel like he was failing as a husband and as a parent.
Though he was trying his hardest to please them all, it seemed like he was failing at every turn.
At first, he found time to write. He’d go into the garage and write while he sat in his car. It felt good to get back to his passion.
He was a good worker and it wasn’t long before he was promoted, which meant more money, but when he excitedly told his wife, she only rolled her eyes and stated it wasn’t that impressive.
Teddy started to feel like his marriage was taking its toll since they were both working and had little time together.
He stopped writing right after work so he could enjoy dinner with his family and spend time with his wife watching some of their favorite shows.
He told himself he could write for a couple of hours after she went to sleep.
She worked earlier than him, so they usually turned in early.
It worked for a while, but as every writer knows, it can be hard to write when you’re tired. After a long day at work and time with the family in the evening, he found it hard to get much writing done and over time he just stopped.
Teddy’s eyes twitched as the memories flooded in. If it wasn’t for the calming wind that engulfed him, his anxiety would have been much higher. He tried to shake off the negative memories like he had tried to do for the last few years, but the universe seemed inclined that these be his final thoughts.
“I’m not really attracted to you anymore,” his wife told him, looking at his belly, which had grown over time due to stress and not exercising.
He looked down at his stomach, feeling ashamed of how much weight he had put on. Their sex life suffered and added to his depression.
Trying to regain control of his weight, he joined a gym and started going every day after work. He knew he had to do his part to stay attractive for his wife. Afterall, it was part of his duty to satisfy his wife and set an example for the kids.
Since his wife got off work earlier than him, she was able to knock out her workout before he got off work and would usually start making dinner right after she was done.
Over time, she became frustrated that Teddy going to the gym was cutting into their family time, since he wouldn’t get home from work and the gym until after the rest of them had eaten dinner.
His workouts only lasted and hour, but that was still too long for her.
Finally, he decided it was more important to him to spend time with his family than look good, so he canceled his gym membership and tried to work out at home after everyone was in bed.
Like the writing, it worked for a while, but in the end, it was too much, and he ended up always too tired to exercise.
If he had known falling from a rooftop would take so long, he would have put on earbuds and listened to some music on the way down.
Music, recorded sounds of thunderstorms, or the sound of a running fan blocked out the overwhelming thoughts that always seemed to enter his mind when he tried to sleep at night.
‘Might have worked here too,’ he thought, disappointed in himself.
“Why are you at a bar? I bet you’re looking at other girls!” his wife screamed into the phone.
“I’m not,” Teddy tried to explain. “I just needed to get some writing done. I miss it.”
“Why can’t you write at home?” she yelled.
“I’ve already told you, I have trouble writing at home,” he said. “There are too many distractions. Here I can be left alone while I write. I’ll only be here for a little bit longer.”
The line went dead.
Feeling defeated, he closed his laptop, packed it away, and left the mostly empty bar.
Stopping by a quiet bar on the way home from work had become the only way he could get any writing done.
Once he was home, there would be dinner, chores, television to watch, and he would never get any writing in.
Not writing was taking its toll on him. It was the only escape from the constant feeling of being a failure as a man.
Teddy decided to embrace the time it was taking to hit the ground and extended his arms, finally feeling like a free bird.
“I want a divorce,” she said flatly. “We’re both clearly not happy anymore and you’re just depressed all the time.”
Teddy couldn’t argue. By this point, he was always tired, depressed, and fat.
They barely touched each other anymore. The few times he had tried, he could sense the disgust she felt.
He didn’t want a divorce. He loved his step-kids and didn’t want to lose his relationship with them, but every day, he just felt more and more lost.
To him, the frustrating part was she never cared to understand why he was depressed. To her, he was just a weak man who wasn’t amounting to anything in life.
When they had first met, she had been impressed that he was a creative person and had even seemed to fall in love with that part of him.
After they had married and he hadn’t quickly become a successful writer, she came to despise that part of him, though he hadn’t changed who he was and was always up front with her who he was striving to be since the beginning.
She could never understand that writing was who he was, not something he did and when she took that away from him, he had lost a huge part of himself. Over time, he began to feel hollow.
He felt defeated, so as they went through the divorce process, he just gave her everything that wasn’t sentimental to him. Even in divorce, he just wanted to make her happy.
As he continued to fall, he wished it would hurry up already. He was reaching the parts of his life that had brought him the most pain.
“They don’t want to see you,” his ex-wife told him over the phone.
“They’re my kids,” he argued. “I have a right to see them.”
“You’re a step-parent and they don’t want to see you,” she went on.
Teddy could feel the satisfaction in her voice.
Every time they had an argument, she would sit down with the kids and tell them her side of the story. Before long, the kids started to resent him and over time, didn’t want to see him anymore.
It was getting to the point where he could mail them their birthday and Christmas presents, but couldn’t give it to them in person.
His heart ached every day at not being able to see his kids.
When they had first married, Teddy had gone from being a single guy to an instant father overnight. He struggled at first but felt he had gotten the hang of it over time. Thrived even.
And it seemed now that he had gotten used to having a family, he was alone again, and it was too much for him. She even kept the dog.
“This isn’t fair!” he screamed. “I miss them, and I want to see them!”
The click of her hanging up on him was her response.
As he continued his fall, he balled his fist.
“I’ve been working out,” his ex-wife started. “You won’t believe how hot I look now in my nudes I send to my man.”
Even a year after their divorce, she knew how to hurt him.
They had their times when they were cordial to each other and even talked on the phone without it blowing up into an argument.
During some of those calls, when Teddy was relaxed and actually felt like they were becoming friends, she would make comments like these to remind him what he had lost.
Within a month after their divorce, she had a new boyfriend. He was much younger and in better shape.
She took every opportunity to remind him how happy she was with her younger boy-toy.
Teddy could almost feel the smile she had on the other side of the line.
For some reason, hurting him had become something she truly enjoyed.
He had to endure it though, because it was the only chance he had to ever seeing his kids again. He wanted to scream at her, but held it in. She held all the cards.
Over time, it had become too much. He hadn’t seen his kids in months. Living alone allowed the negative voices to enter his head every night.
His stories became darker as he tried to deal with the constant pain he felt every day.
In the end, he knew there was only one escape. He felt like his life had been robbed. He felt he had failed every person in his life, including himself.
As his body hit the concrete, instead of pain, he felt instant relief.
Published on June 09, 2021 09:22
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