I’ve found myself pondering certain questions during the last days of my life.
For example, the other day I asked myself why I had always insisted on buying the expensive brand of toothpaste, when Colgate would have been completely fine. In fact, if I had just used Colgate, my wallet would be less light, and I could have spent some of that money on the people I love, instead of wasting it on my teeth. And then maybe I would have been enjoying the company of my friends, with whom I’d have built strong and lasting relationships, instead of sitting alone on a balcony in Florida, with my strong and lasting teeth.
I also find myself reflecting on whether or not my rather unfortunate decision to sell my late mother’s house to an infamous porn producer could have been avoided had I just called my mother once every week, like I said I would. I’m not quite sure whether or not her suicide was a direct consequence of my neglection, but it’s not too unlikely that it played a part.
To be perfectly honest, I doubt that anything I’ve impacted during my thirty-two years on this planet has turned out positive. The company from which I’ve been steadily buying toothpaste since I turned sixteen went bankrupt just last week. A few days before that I got a call from one of the head business managers at my publishing company saying that five of our most promising writers had just signed deals with other publishing houses. In addition to that, all of the people I’ve befriended at one point or other during my life (admittedly not a sizeable number) have either fucked their life up to unbelievable degrees, or they’re just dead.
But even though everything I come in contact with seems to end in catastrophy, I’m still sitting on a penthouse balcony in Florida, with a bank account filled with money and a bathroom cabinet filled with expensive toothpaste. Somehow – and I have no idea why – I’ve managed to sustain good luck and bad luck simultaneously.
I don’t think my mother ever doubted that I would succeed in life. Throughout my teenage years I could be quite obnoxious, at times malicious, and I’ve never been too fond of people. The weekend visits to my father’s Oakland condo only helped enhance my apathetic attitude. But despite this my mother fastidiously believed in my potential, in stark contrast to my father, who settled for smoking weed and telling me how useless life, people, and especially I, was. He was a steadfast pessimist, while my mother remained an ardent optimist, placing me somewhere in the middle.
It was first at eighteen I realized the true extent of my apathy, when I walked in on my girlfriend indulging in a threesome. Surprisingly, it didn’t make me feel anything at all. I simply broke off our relation and carried on with my life. A few days after that I made two thousand dollars, so I think it might have been her loss.
Something my former best friend Adrian said after that affair occurred has stuck with me for a long time:
“Love isn’t real.”
The reason this statement stayed with me is because it sounded like something my father would say. And, for much of my life, I have agreed with Adrian’s comment. All my previous experiences with women and romance have always seemed so shallow and counterfeit. Like we were putting on a show. Nothing ever connected.
But last year I realized that love does exist, when I got my mother’s suicide note sent to my office. If I’m to be completely frank with you, I never thought I loved my mother. I was grateful to have her around at times, that was all. But then I read that letter. She mentioned my father, she talked of her sister, and she completely disregarded me.
I had previously been unaware that something could hurt that much. But there it was. This clenching, anxiety inducing ball of unhappiness lodged firmly in my throat – a feeling that up until then had been completely alien to me. So I took the rest of the day off, bought a new bike and rode around on it the rest of the day while I wished it was raining.
While riding around I saw this really beautiful woman who smiled at me. It was when I couldn’t bring myself to smile back that I realized I was going to commit suicide. Not right there and then. Not the day after that, not the next week. Not the next month, either. No, I was going to wait until a year later, when I had all my affairs wrapped up and there were no loose ends to leave behind.
So I biked home and started auctioning off shares from the different companies and industries I’ve involved myself in over the years. Then I called my old friends. Then I called the families of my dead friends. Then I called my family. All of this spanned the course of a year. Picking up the courage to call friends and family took a sizeable amount of time, but when I finally did a big weight was lifted off my chest. Now that everything was fixed and we loved each other again, they would be sad when I died.
Today it’s exactly a year later. The 1st of May. I strung up a noose in the living room this morning, so all I have to do is finish this note. I don’t know why, but I’m still thinking about the toothpaste. I really wish I’d just bought Colgate instead. I mean, dental hygiene is important. But there’s really no point when you have nobody to share it with.