28 Dec 2013

Another Year (3/7)

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Every twitch of the second hand, Harold's life ebbed away. He used to be afraid of death. Afraid of having everything taken away from him too suddenly. Afraid of losing the things he treasured forever. Now? He was annoyed with the agonizing wait. The longer he remained here as a living being, the more space he was taking up unnecessarily.

Harold couldn't take his eyes off the watch wrapped around his wrist. The timepiece used to mean something. It used to symbolise the connection between him and a friend, but now he couldn't remember who gave it to him, and for what occasion. It had become merely a device for keeping track of the pace of things in his life, and nothing more. Yet he hadn't gotten rid of it for many years. Perhaps he wasn't bothered to. Perhaps he couldn't bear to.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

The smoke evacuated his lungs in a white wispy stream. He never actually touched a cigarette in his whole life, until the day he stopped the treatments. All part of Operation Faster Death. He vaguely remembered how he struggled so much to tolerate, let alone appreciate the cigarette fumes the first few times, and now he couldn't go about his day without going through a few.

While he continued to lean against the brick wall of the alley, he stared at the busy street road, watching cars zip by on the wet tarmac.

If he was so fed up with waiting for the end, he could just run out there right now and embrace the quick and hard impact...

No, not like that. Harold had decided earlier on that he wouldn't want to inconvenience anybody else that shouldn't be involved. Turning himself into roadkill would just bring about loads of trouble for the driver. And probably traumatize nearby witnesses.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

Another swarm of smoky dragons danced towards the sky. Harold kind of wished he could be like those dragons, flying away and slowly dissipating into nothingness. Quick and clean. Alas, this physical human form wouldn't allow him that luxury. His journey to and through death would have to take a longer detour.

But at least he was more prepared. His ties to this material world are thinning. Fewer and fewer of his peers remember him now. His family had deserted him long ago since that turning point. He wouldn't feel the pain of being eternally separated from the faces he knew. Likewise those faces wouldn't share the same sting of losing someone they once remembered. He would merely be another passing soul. A fact of life.

Deep breath in. Deep breath ou-

Harold was momentarily distracted by a passing truck, proudly advertising on its side the beer it was delivering.

"That reminds me, I gotta go get more beer."

Harold tossed the smoldering cigarette into the darkness of the alley, and reemerged into the busier sidewalks of civilization, dragging himself to the usual convenience store. He did his best not to bump into passersby while still fighting off his semi-drunken stupor.

All part of Operation Faster Death.