STORY: Those Lonely Past
T H O S E L O N E L Y P A S T
A SHORT STORY BY EICHEL DAVIS
It wasn't his first choice, the pills. He thought about a gun, but guns had haunted him in his life. He thought about a bridge, but the success rate was questionable at best. He watched the drops of rain race down his window like a little kid sitting on the ledge on a rainy day. Faster Faster they went down the glass, until they disappeared from his view. He tapped his feet on the hard floor. Tap Tap Tap, they went, perched high in the sky, almost 80 floors up. His officer was of the largest caliber, and was filled with a desk, a few couches and a television, all having riany shadows casted out over them. Jesse Parker looked over the skyline of the city, all the buildings that carved out the sky like it was nothing more than a barrier. Jesse sat slumped in his chair taking in all of this, while finding himself slipping deeper and deeper into a forever sleep.
Jesse Parker had it all, or so everyone thought. He had the money, the girl, or at least he did. He had the business, the contacts, and the money. He had the cars, and the money. He had the all the world could offer, according to the people around him.
He turned around to face his desk. It was a messy clump of paper and things waiting to be signed. Many pens were stuck in the mess, many coffee stain. A few missed appointments riddled the calendar on the far side of the giant piece of glass furniture. On the other side sat two pictures of two different faces. Jesse reached for the one closest to him. He closed his eyes as he touched the cold metal frame. The man was of a young age, late twenties, about the same as Jesse. He had dark brown hair, and black eyes, eyes that pierced Jesse’s heart with pain and frustration. Jesse wiped the tears from his brow.
“Stop your crying,” said a man. “You’ve done it now. No sense in spending your last moments wallowing on the past. Especially on memories of me. Hell, I’m partially the cause of all this.”
Jesse looked at the man and jumped out of his chair, terrified. He ran over to him, and tried to strike him in the jaw, but his hand met nothing but air and a cool breeze.
“You can't hit a dead person Jesse. Are those pills already starting to make you dumber than you already are,” said the man.
“What do you want Blake? You already destroyed my life. Ha. Some best friend you are,” said Jesse
“Now, don't go and blame all your problems on me. I might have showed you the ropes but you are the one who got them in a not. I am your best friend. At least let me be dead knowing that.”
“I dont give a damn about your dead rotting soul at this point. Just let me die alone.”
“You gonna die like you started? I thought the entire point of this thing was to die better.”
“I should've stayed alone, instead of picking you up in Georgia.”
“But that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Just look where we came from together. From small farms in little town America, to big offices in the big cities. We made it. Well at least...we made it.”
“Made it to what. To this? Death. I don't know about you but dying at 27 wasnt part of the original plan.”
“25 for me,” said Blake in a sarcastic tone.
Jesse tried to muster up something cruel to say to Blake, but couldn't find any words to express what he was feeling, which was a mix of anger and ever-heavier sleepiness. Jesse went back to his desk and plopped down in his chair, again facing the city skyline.
“We were supposed to be different Blake,” said Jesse, “We were supposed to keep our moral compass.”
“But, Jesse...when we took that long ride from Georgia, we were naive. We did say we would keep business clean, but...it wasn't possible. It wasn't right to be good. Not in this world,” said Blake.
Blake stepped closer to Jesse.
“We did our best,” said Blake.
“No. We didn't. We should've left it when it started to get bad, real bad. We fought so hard in the beginning. And then slowly...you know you wake up one day and you realize you aren't you, and that man staring back at you in the mirror, is a terrible failure.”
“We did our best,” responded Blake.
“But...,” started Jesse.
“Jesse, we did our best,” repeated Blake.
Blake started to walk towards the door of the room, as Jesse began crying again. His tears raced down his face. Faster faster, until they fell onto his lap.
“We did our best,” said Blake.
After not hearing his voice for a few minutes, Jesse turned around, and Blake was nowhere to be found. Jesse slowly got up out of his seat and stumbled over to a bookcase. Every step felt a little longer than the other, and when he reached the case, he propped himself up against its walls. His finger scanned the many books, in many colors and sizes, until it rested on a smaller one in the middle. Its cover was torn, and its binding was a ragged mess.
In old black ink, the words “Animal Farm” reflected in the eyes of Jesse. He tried to get up and to his desk, but the strength in his legs was failing him, slowly. He flipped through most of the pages, reading the chicken scratch that graffitied its pages. He came to a stop at the last chapter and ran his hand up and down the pages.
“You never finished it,” said a voice. Jesse jumped to his feet before needing to prop himself up against the wall. He eyes were transfixed on a woman standing in front of him. She was of average height and had average length hair, but every else about this woman was above and beyond.
“Emily,” said Jesse as he began to walk towards the woman.
“Emily. Emily. Emily,” he repeated.
He stumbled over the woman and leaned in to kiss you lips, before falling through her and onto the floor behind her. Jesse again bursted into tears.
“My love. My sweet Jesse,” stared Emily, “What have you gotten yourself into. All that guilt for what happened to me...it wasn't your fault.”
“It was. It was my fault. The man...Um. What’s his name. His name. Um. Back on track Jesse. Back on track,” started Jesse, “He worked for me in...he used to be part of my scam. He made...loss all of his money. A Lot of money...Um...Um...Um..Come on Jesse, think.”
“You shouldn't fight it, the sleep. Whatever it was, it doesn't matter now. Everything will be over soon,” said Emily, in a soft and soothing voice.
“It does matter!!!” yelled Jesse, “It. Does. Matter. He...lost a lot of money, everything. He went crazy, crazy, crazy!”
All this time, Jesse’s voice began to become dimmer and softer.
“He went crazy, and he...bought a gun, and...he went to my home, our home. Its our home. And he waited...he thought you were me, and...he...fired the gun...killed you.”
Jesse was sweating from his conversation, and from his downward spiral over the last hour and 45 minutes.
“I already knew. I just didn't need to hear the truth from you. But you needed to hear it. Because you needed to face your demons, and know that I love you,” said Emily.
She finished talking and head towards the door as Jesse still laid out on the floor.
“You never finished it,” started Emily, “Better get to reading then. Quickly...quickly”
Jesse laid his head down for what he thought was a moment, even though half and hour passed.
And when he awoke, Emily was gone and the book sat opened on the table to the last chapter. Giving every ounce he had left, Jesse pulled himself onto the couch and began reading the book. The pages were short and the text big, but he couldn't really read anything for very long. The words began to shake and sway and blur under Jesse’s perfect vision.
Jesse soon found himself slipping in and out of sleep, while the pages of the book seemed to magically move closer to the end.
Finally he reached the last page, and only half a page separated him from his long sought after goal. But it was a feeble task. The book rested on his arm and his head rested on a pillow, the rain still falling outside. The book began falling out of his hand. Faster faster, it raced out of his hand, until it rested on the floor, still open on the last page.
“They looked from human to pig, again and again, and they could not tell the difference,” read the last line, the line Jesse never read.
Jesse felt his body begin its long trek to complete stillness, and as his eye close on his world, and his mistakes, a bright light can be seen coming from an open door, shining.