Short Story: Her suicide

A woman finds that taking the easy way out is not so easy.

Noose rope hanging suicide 521 (photo credit: AP)
Noose rope hanging suicide 521
(photo credit: AP)
She had been depressed lately. And no wonder. Her only child had moved to a distant college campus, she had been, in effect, demoted at work, and her husband had left her, claiming that she “just annoyed” him. So G. decided to kill herself. Not a rational decision, but she seemed to have abandoned any sense of reason like a piece of luggage she couldn’t recall being hers.
The papers had had a field day with several incidents of people purposely dying in the vast sewer system that lay beneath the city.
“Sewercide Again” was the headline in today’s newspaper, but somehow G. couldn’t see herself wending her way down, down, down and out. She felt that it should be something spontaneous that would end her tortured stay on this planet.
When she went to the basement, doing her husband’s job of checking on the building’s temperamental boiler, she had her chance.
She saw the bright light of the basement window and felt the urge to jump, plummet and cease to exist.
Without a second thought, she pulled the window open and pushed herself out.
Aside from scratches on her knees and elbows that promptly began to bleed, she noticed no change in her situation. She lay on the sidewalk to the amazed stares of passersby who tried to negotiate around her.
She heard the traffic in the street and an “Umph” as a man tripped over her and fell down with a loud crack.
“Idiot!” he screamed at her. “You’ve broken my arm.”
What could she do except stand by, scratched and bleeding, as an ambulance was called and mutter her apologies.
“Was trying to kill myself” didn’t seem appropriate, so she said that she had had to get out of the basement in a hurry and uttered “Sorry, so sorry” to the groaning man on the ground, who looked vaguely familiar.
Once the ambulance took the injured man away, G. went back to her apartment, turned on the oven and stuck her head in. Since it was electric, she only succeeded in singeing her hair and eyebrows and having a very painful, red face.
Drinking water and splashing it on her face and over her head, she decided she needed a rest and a think. She lay down on the rumpled bedspread, with the smell of singed hair and a bad taste in her mouth, and promptly fell asleep.
G. woke with a start in her darkened bedroom, jumped up and stumbled to the hall closet. She found several feet of thick rope she remembered seeing her husband lay neatly on the closet floor. Muttering “Gonna do this, now,” she stood on a chair and looped the rope around the light fixture in the living room. Then she proceeded to tie the other end tightly around her neck and, with a final pat and pull on the knot, jumped off the chair.
She began to choke, and blessed darkness came over her. Then she felt herself hit the floor as the light fixture, plaster and the central part of the ceiling fell on and around her. And then a body with a plaster cast on its arm. Woozy but determined to do the right thing this time, she crawled to the phone and called for an ambulance.
G. smiled at the wedding photographer. Despite the neck brace and recurring pains, she felt happy. Despite everything, she felt like laughing at the incongruity of O. and herself as the bridal couple. In her pink pants suit, she pushed O., her former neighbor, down the aisle in his wheelchair since, with a plaster-clad arm, he couldn’t manage the crutches needed for walking in his plasterclad feet.