27 Dec 2013

Another Year (2/7)

Another trip to the ATM.

Harold's teeth chattered ever so slightly, obscured by the black scarf he wore around his neck. Why was this queue so absurdly long today? Were they all scrambling to deposit their cash gifts into their accounts before it escaped their minds? And all he wanted was to get some more of his savings so he could survive the next few weeks.

Well, "survive" was a funny word to use in his case. He was dying. Why did he still concern himself with surviving? The end was near and he knew it. He might as well get on with it as soon as possible.


The line shifted forward a bit. A petite old lady emerged from the front, blanketed with wool layers, waddling away with her purple purse.

So, why was he concerned with living still? It wasn't that he really wanted to keep on living. He just couldn't bear to end his life quickly. If he had the courage to kill himself, he would have done it quite some time ago. Instead, the best he could do is to settle for a sinful death: indulging himself in pleasures that would eventually kill him off. But not the spectacular kind of indulgence, like doing hardcore drugs or playing Russian roulette. He wanted a more quiet, under-the-radar kind of enjoyment. If he attracted too much attention to his behaviour, intervention would end up more likely. Hence why he was killing himself softly with cigarettes and sloth. Well, not quite killing, but rather hastening the dying process.

The queue shuffled forward again. Now a slender woman in a fur coat strutted off, ruffling dollar bills in her hand before stuffing them into her handbag.

What happened to avoiding his death? That ended in a laughably horrible way. All the damn chemotherapy merely sapped him of his vitality and money even more. And all the praying didn't seem to have any effect whatsoever. Even the doctor couldn't bear to object when Harold decided to stop the sessions after years of no result. That moment was the point he was slapped with the label of "the man who will die soon because of his cowardice". But those around him hardly understood just how unbelievably stubborn the cancer was. If he wasn't going to die of it, he would still die from poverty due to the freaking expensive treatments. Possibly lapse into despair and insanity first.

A tall guy in a cheesy sweater moved off from the front. Now only the curly-haired ginger girl stood between Harold and the machine.

About to drift into another of his self-reflective moments again, Harold's handphone buzzed inside his pocket. Who the heck would still bother to message him?

"C'mon man, wanna countdown w/ us @ my place? Haven't met up in so long :("

Harold's thumbs tapped all over the lower half of the phone's touchscreen.

"Nah man, I'm good"

The ginger girl was finished. He stepped forward and inserted his card in.

How much this time... 3... 5... 0... Enter.

Shuffling away from the machine with a wad of fresh notes, his phone buzzed again.

"Man, dun u wanna enjoy urself w/ ur frens agn? We miss u :(("

Chester really was a persistent fellow, Harold grumbled in his head. And he doubted they really did miss him.

"It's fine, I've got other plans :)"

Plans with himself and the TV, that is. And a few packets of cigarettes plus a few cans of beer. Nothing was going to stop him from accelerating his death now. And he didn't want anyone around him to get too attached to him now, nor the other way around. That would make the dying process way more painful.

Another buzz.

"Alrite, do let me know if u change ur mind"

"Trust me, I definitely won't," Harold said, shoving the money into his wallet.