To Edouard, this is for all the times you tried to shine some light through the thick dark clouds that can hang above my head.
He fell to the cold, hard ground. His knees splashing into the little puddles of water overflowing with rain. He just stayed there in that position, under the cold rain. Someone walked up to him; a friend. He laid a heavy and warm gloved hand on his shoulder.
“You must go, this isn’t doing you any good…” his friend spoke.
“I know,” he sobbed, “but I can’t help it… I know she doesn’t love me, and yet, I still fool myself into thinking she does every time any little thing happens. And I always get let down…”
He awoke from sleep, in his bed. The cold morning rays of sun peeping through the curtains. The window was open, letting in a cold breeze. It was all too cold though, he bundled up in his blanket and was quickly absorbed back into sleep; only to dream dark and sinister dreams. It was his friend, stealing her from him.
He gulped down, and on his tiptoes, stood upon his stool. He fastened the noose he’d tied around his neck, closed his eyes and took a deep breath. In that short moment, his thoughts wandered. Where did it go wrong?
In another place, during another time, it was sunny out, one of those rare bright sunny days in winter. He walked into the pub in which he was going to meet his friends. He sat down at the bar, and looked around. Across the room, there was a girl, she was gorgeous. He bit his lip, got up and walked up to her.
“Heyyy, I’m Ernest, and you are?”
“Hi, hum, I’m Marie…”
“Haha, this is probably real weird for you, but I just saw you from across the bar, and I think you look wonderful.” She smiled, and light came through the large glass windows of the bar. The new light accentuated her features, making her all the more beautiful. “Anyway, it’s a beautiful day, I was wondering if you’d like to go for a stroll or something; you really are wonderful,” he said, mesmerized by her.
She smiled and seemed to weigh the options in her head, and then happily accepted. His friends walked in just as he walked out, staring at him, confused.
He woke up again and checked the clock. Half past nine. He’d just slept two extra hours! He scrambled out of bed, put on some pants, dragged a comb across his head, grabbed his shoes and socks and ran down the stairs and out of his apartment building. He was still sweaty from the nightmares he’d just had; although their content he could not recall.
Once out on the street, he looked about. The bus he had to take was leaving. Furiously hailing it as he ran, it stopped and let him in, just before pulling out into traffic. He checked his watch, it was 9:37. His destination was half an hour away, and he had to meet her at 9:50 for their movie together. He wasn’t going to be able to make it in time; like all those other occasions. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and fumbled it. It fell to the ground and the battery popped out. He clumsily grabbed it and frantically tried shoving the battery back in, perspiration running down his forehead.
He stared at a picture of both of them at an Aerosmith concert. Both so happy. A tear ran down his cheek. Was this how it was going to end? On a cold April morning? He put the picture down and rubbed his face extensively. He let out a long sigh. His knees were still wet from the night before. He heard his friend cough himself awake.
“You feeling better?” His friend inquired.
“Yeah, I’m alright now.” He lied.
“Okay, well, I have to leave now, I have a job and stuff, you know,” teased his friend, “but take care and stay safe, don’t do anything stupid.”
“I won’t.” His friend walked over and put his hand on Ernest’s shoulder.
“Seriously Ernest, don’t do something stupid and commit suicide. You were delusional talking about that last night.”
“I was delusional, I’m fine now, don’t worry, I’d never do that.”
“Okay… You know I’d be so sad if you did, it would really break my heart…”
“Yeah, yeah, don’t worry.” Ernest seemed to brush this off.
“Okay, see you then. I’ll come back in five hours, don’t do anything stupid.” He said almost regretfully.
His friend left and the door clicked shut. He stared at the rope laying before him, tucked under the low table.
He walked with her down the road.
“So, where do you come from?”
“Oh, well, I’m from France originally.”
“Your English is great.”
“Yeah, I studied it for a while. Plus, I lived in many countries requiring a fluent English. How about you? I’m pretty sure you’re American.” She said with a hint of humor.
“Yeah… Not always so proud, but yeah, I’m American…”
“Well, I’m like Bowie, ‘I’m afraid of Americans!’” She joked.
“Haha, I love that song! I used to have all of David Bowie’s records, and I’d play them on this old record player. It would pump his tunes throughout the entire house. My parents hated me for it.”
His record player was playing music real loud; Sheryl Crow’s “Oh, Marie”. He felt a tear run down his face. He threw his large glass of gin at the record player. The glass smashed into the player, which made a horrible screeching sound then stopped. Gin was splattered all across the wall behind the soaked and broken record player. Again, he glanced at the rope.
He impatiently waited for her to pick up the phone, hoping the bus would speed up more. She didn’t pick up. He cursed and jammed the phone back into his pocket. He was still 15 minutes away, and it was 9:48. He couldn’t miss this, he’d already missed and arrived late at so many other of their meetings, she’d told him this was going to be the last time! How was he ever going to make his move? He cursed himself for falling back asleep, and tried to recall what he dreamt of for a second. His thoughts were soon led astray when the bus screeched to a halt, and accident had occurred on the road before them.
“Damn you Ernest, you have the best of luck…” He muttered under his breath. He felt like shouting, screaming, tearing the hair off of his head.
He was confused about Marie, at times it seemed as if she loved him for all the world, but at other she seemed like she didn’t care. All his friends told him she didn't care for him, or for any person in a romantic sense, but he ignored them. He was going to ask her out, and the opportunity was slipping through his hands like sand.
“You know, I haven’t met someone with these musical interests in a long time.”
“Me too, Ernest, me too…”
“Hey, would you like to met up with me this weekend? I have two tickets to a concert…”
“The Aerosmith one?”
“I’ll come!” She eagerly replied.
Slowly, they met more often, but never as lovers.
It was 10:15 and his phone rang. He pulled it out, he saw that it was Marie calling. His heart raced. He sat there staring at the phone for a few seconds, then clicked the “receive” button.
“Where the hell are you? I’ve been waiting here half an hour!”
“I’m almost there, I’m stuck in really bad traffic…” He could sense her great annoyance.
“Look, I don’t think we should watch this, it’s already started and I don’t feel like it anymore—”
“It’s alright, we can go—”
“Don’t cut me off! I don’t know what game you’re playing, but I’m out, I’m not interested! This isn’t the first time Ernest! It’s like you don’t care, like you can’t be bothered! I don’t want to see you again, hear me? I’m tired of this bullshit!”
“Marie, no, that’s not what I—look, I’m so sorry, there was an accident, Marie!—”
He just heard the dull tone. She’d hung up on him. He chocked on tears and threw the phone to the ground in a fit of rage. It broke and out bursted the motherboard and battery.
“GODAMMIT ERNEST, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?”
Yeah, that’s where it went wrong. He stared down, tears blurring his vision. He’d pulled out the rope and tied the noose he’d learned to tie as a kid. He stood up on a stool, and he remembered. All the times she turned down his offers to go out someplace, all the times she didn’t pick up the phone. And then, he recalled the day before. He slipped off the stool, and gasped for air as he hung down, like a puppet whose master no longer found any use in. As the world slowly faded away and he felt himself slowly die, he heard the door open and his friend call his name. As everything turned to black, he heard stuff drop and break as heavy footsteps ran down the hallway of his apartment, his friend screaming his name.
“Ernest, where are—?” His friend slammed open the door, and Marie was beside him, hysterical.
“Ernest, fucking hell, don’t do this! I love you Ernest, I’m sorry, I——”
He stared down at her, in utter horror, as life left his body, and his world disappeared.
She was fretting over what she’d said before, and would have liked to meet up with him again. He couldn’t have come had she asked. He was busy anyway, getting drunk in the bar where they first met. It was raining out this time. His friend burst in.
“Ernest! You haven’t picked up the phone all day! Are you alright?”
“Does it look like I am?” He muttered angrily.
“Why didn’t you pick up?”
“I broke my phone.” Came his terse, dry response.
“What’s wrong?” His friend sat down on the stool next to him, and looked at him with affection.
“It’s Marie again…”
He felt the tears rise up like a ball in his throat. Lightning stroke and the April rain hammered against the pub's big glass windows.