The ice cold water of the chilly pacific lapped at my breasts. My legs had long since stopped burning from the ocean’s icy embrace and I wondered if they would still respond to my request to move when I finally made my decision.
The night seemed absent of the usual noises. Not one cricket sang, the highway was deserted, and even the ocean was unusually calm – it’s roaring waves now a gentle crawl as it drowned the rocky beach.
I took a deep breath and let it out slow. A cloud formed in front of me and I wished for a cigarette whose noxious mist wouldn’t dissipate so quickly. The chattering of my teeth broke the eerie silence and I imagined how a few more steps would do more than numb my now hardened and sensitive nipples, it might numb the rest of me – forever.
Would it hurt to fill my lungs with the salty liquid of the Pacific Ocean? Would the currents drag my body out to the depths or would the bloated and scavenged corpse be washed ashore – only to be found by a family of seven?
A family like mine that at first glance might seem whole but would be as broken and battered as the destructive actions of death himself. I shivered in the gloom and hummed out loud to myself.
“…Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea”.
I sang until I was certain the fishes would welcome me, and then my legs moved. Step by step I numbly walked towards the beach. My frozen and weakened limbs seemed to have a survival instinct all their own as I truly had no sense of self-preservation left. I reached the shore and stumbled across the many jagged boulders that obstructed my path. I bled from my hands and knees as the barnacles and broken clam shells cut me with each new fall.
I sat down heavily upon a log and started to laugh. I couldn’t even kill myself properly!
My breath hitched and tears sprang from my eyes; my laughter turned to wretched sobs.
By definition my father was a good man, but difficult to love. His brain injury made him impossible to live with. Anger ruled him often and his temper was infamous amongst his family and the local police department. I was done living in fear of him but at fifteen I had little choice. So I sat upon that log and cried for my inability to free myself. I cried because although I had no will to go on living, I could not come up with a good enough reason to die.
And so I walked home and pretended as I always had – happiness a mask I expertly painted on.