It was, by all definitions, an ordinary day. From my bedroom window, I could already see that the day would be warm, but not hot. The sky would be blue, but not brilliant. I would be alive, but not living. This would be yet another ordinary day.
I left my apartment at the usual time and my car engine gave its usual groan. The air was dull, the streets were grey, the traffic light turned red and I watched a shabby mutt shuffle into an alleyway. I remember noticing the exhausted shadow that stalked the tattered creature – it was a grim existence. The light changed from red to green. I pressed down on the accelerator while mentally mapping my plan for the day.
1) Respond to Mr. LaGrange’s email,
2) Complete the Harmon & Fall Co. Budget,
3) Attend to Mrs. Wilson’s accounts,
4) Confirm appointment with lawyer,
5) Defrost dinner
Like I said, it was an ordinary day.
I didn’t really despise working. I might have dreaded the piles of paperwork and columns of accounts; the dull hours and ticking clock. I did, however, hate the workplace. It wasn’t the inevitable overly-friendly colleague chatter that surrounded the coffee machine, or the silence that seeped my small office. But every time I stepped out of the elevator into that pitiful place, with its tedious upholstery and lifeless stench, it was a devoted reminder of my failure. I did not want this life. I didn’t want this open-aired prison with the dreary suit, monotonous routine and calloused briefcase. No, this was not my choice.
Once, I was a dreamer. I planned to burst into the world and paint it with ten thousand shades of magnificence. I had ambition and courage and pockets full of faith. Stupid naïve child, I thought I was going to be something. Instead, I slipped through the schooling system, picked up some useless degree and fell into the first job that wandered my way. Sitting in my cheerless office where the computer entertained itself, it occurred to me that my life had plodded past like a dejected mule.
And when that mule fell to the ground, nobody even noticed.
In all honesty, I was braver in that single moment than I have ever been in all of my miserable life. For the first time, genuine life vibrated in my veins and my purpose seemed more immediate than the need to draw another breath. I threw back the blinds. I was not a scraggly mutt in the alley of life. I had the power to escape this grey existence. The wind pushed itself through the open window, stirring papers and stroking my face.
I climbed onto the ledge of the window, silently observing the grey street so far below me. I looked up and saw that the sky was a magnificent shade of blue.
It was a spectacular day to be alive.
It was an extraordinary day to choose to die.