He is seventeen. As he stands upon the chair the rope around his neck mocks him, listing the things he will never have:
The shy girl whose hazel eyes flashed with helpless compassion while towering boys pushed and punched him, shrinking him into unbearable shame.
She will grow into womanhood never having been wrapped in these arms that will soon become limp, or kissed by lips that will cease to speak.
Their unborn children will weep as their never-to-be father takes a deep breath and kicks the chair away, thrashes in mid-air, and vacates his life.
Behind them, four designated grandchilden will stare in horror to learn that futures can be disposed of in such a final way.
His future friends will never meet this beautiful caring soul. The love he has earned will never return to him a hundred fold.
His final breath will not be a glorious farewell to a life kindly lived, but a tragic end to one cut short by his inability to realise that he was worthy, and that he was loved.
He thinks he hears a manic giggle as the rope gets ready to stretch and tighten, as it pictures the triumphant moment when his parents enter the room to find their son’s body dangling, purple faced and absent of soul. He feels the knot itching to hear the music of their grief.
He smiles as he releases himself from his bonds, carefully untying the rope and removing its accompanying hook from the ceiling. Later he will fill the hole that it made, rendering these last hours invisible.
He will go downstairs and hug both of his parents. Tomorrow he will stand tall and look the bullies in the eye, and then he will find words to say to the shy girl with the hazel eyes.
© Jane Paterson Basil