A Stack of Words

This is an excerpt from my upcoming memoir.

I woke up face down on the pavement with blood bubbling from my nostrils as I struggled to breathe. I had the feeling that if I could take a deep breath everything would be alright, however, a giant’s hand was squeezing my lungs impeding the process. I couldn’t move any part of my body and everything was silent. I stared at the pavement, “Fuck!” I thought, “Are you kidding me? I’m dying now? Like this? I thought it would be cooler than a car accident.” After all of the things, I’ve survived it was a car accident that ended me. If I could’ve chuckled I would have.

There were moments when I wished for death. I recalled when I was at my lowest and felt like a child at the bottom of a cold damp well hopelessly screaming for help as the search party walked over me unable to hear my yells. I tried to end my life myself but always failed. I’ve had a rough few years; a fact that was hidden because my bright warm smile is my biggest tool of deception and my need to protect the image of a failing marriage.

However, in recent months I found myself newly single and genuinely happy. This particular day was my most triumphant in years. I needed this win. I deserved it. I was out with friends, recently had a local drink named after me, and I was finally getting a new car and apartment. For once I wasn’t just ready for the next day I was eager for it. Oh well. Life puts you here to coddle you then it torments you. Feelings of euphoria and invincibility are amplified so the moment life pulls the rug from underneath you the shock hits harder. It’s all a huge joke. The stress, pain, heartbreak, happiness, and love never mattered because you die in the end. You die alone. I think I smiled appreciating the irony and comedic timing life’s punchline.

I stared at the pavement… unable to move or speak. There were blurred footsteps and muffled yelling. The scene seemed panicked. I wonder if my friends are already dead. What did we hit?

I can’t recall my reasoning but I knew I needed to inhale as deeply as possible. Maybe to show defiance and assert control over at least one final aspect of life. I inhaled hard feeling the air rip at my lungs as a tornado broken glass and thorns forced the giant to ease his grip. My heart started beating rapidly trying to break free of my rib cage. The agony made me want to release my breath with a gasp but the torture wouldn’t last long. I held onto my last breath. Everything was calm. I missed out on far too many opportunities due to fear and I wish I hadn’t tried pleasing so many people but I’ve had a good life.

I closed my eyes and hoped I looked peaceful.

I felt an upward jerk and flipped on my back.
I woke up strapped down in the back of an ambulance.
I was awakened by bright lights.

I woke up with my right leg strapped down and my body felt like it weighed 20 tons. I was in a bed inside of a white room. I wasn’t sure how bad my head looked but I knew my skull was cracked open. I wondered if this was purgatory because there’s no way I survived that. As my eyes came into focus I realized Raina was by my side. Patches of red covered her cheeks with remnants of tears in her dark swollen eyes. Why was she even here? I was sure she was a hallucination. Her words snapped me back to reality.

“Jared is in jail” trembled through sobs, “his face was covered in blood and his hand was… he… they wouldn’t let him get treatment. There was a gun!”

Raina searched her purse then paused to look at me. Her eyes wide with pity but her face was twisted into an expression of revulsion before looking away. How gross was I?

“I have your wallet and money,” she was speaking in a hoarse whisper, “but the cops are asking if you’re a cocaine dealer. Are you?

6 Replies to “A Fate Worse Than Death”

  1. Awesome read son far. It reads like some of my favorite books by Jude Angelini. Definitely getting a copy when it drops. Keep me updated.

    Liked by 1 person

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