I am writing a book and I thought it would be interesting to try something new… I have decided to release my progress one chapter at a time and get feedback… Really would LOVE feedback! Thanks
The ultimate sacrifice
If felt reassuring to work out the details, like when I would finally close my eyes to this world and never have to wake up. The setting of the sun seemed like the perfect time to disappear into the abyss unnoticed. I knew that soon the beach would settle into its nighttime slumber as everyone would pack up and head home. Until then, I passed the time with thoughts of the world that would continue on without me. I even considered what my tombstone would say as I lay six feet under it—Angel Ryan Born June 30, 1997 * Died June 29th 2014, Doomed from day one. Deep down I knew it was silly to be mulling over these types of details, while in reality a tombstone was a luxury that was unrealistic for someone society has rejected and disowned. They are reserved for people who leave behind a drove of mourning loved ones who can’t bear to dissolve their cherished memories when they passed. Considering I could vanish and the only people who would notice was Donnie, whose contribution to the world as far as I could see consisted solely of sleaze and debauchery, and possibly the social worker who would find solace in my death, as she would finally be able to stamp my file “Case Closed”.
I had to hypothesize that my only hope of a memorial would be a random passer-by, finding my lifeless body as it washes up on shore, as they may find it in their heart to demand I get a proper burial. Realizing it was more likely that I would sink to the bottom of the ocean or get devoured by a shark, I continued to circle back to why even bother. I mean it is all a waste of time, really.
I was tired of feeling weighted down and chained to this existence, 6204 days of bondage, and ready to be free. Ironic that I was one day away from my eighteenth birthday and instead of planning a celebration I was planning my death.
Still wearing the clothes I went to bed in, with yesterday’s makeup smeared across my face I laid in the sand, far enough away from the rolling waves washing onto the shore and sweeping back out into the ocean to avoid being drawn out with the tide. Yet, I hadn’t escaped getting wet. I could feel the moisture on my skin as it rose from the earth, saturating my pajama pants and the back of my white tank top. The slight chill of the salty air as it rolled off the waves and touched my skin reminded me that it was still early and the sun hadn’t warmed the air yet. Even if I wanted to move somewhere warm and dry, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t care enough to let the coolness of the sand on my toes, combined with my aching neck from having my duffle bag as my pillow stir in me the motivation to move. Instead, I just stared at the sky, waiting for a cloud to materialize and then dissipate, or the occasional plane to fly by. And I decided it was perfect—the perfect day to die.
You can try to understand or search for some shred of empathy as you make the futile attempt to compare my pain to the love that got away, you know, the breakup that shattered your heart. You were vulnerable and really believed in love and happily ever after—then it was over and you were devastated. You were sure that you would never come out from under your blankets. You spent days crying, with no appetite and seemingly no reason to live. But, then you emerged, life delivered you a new love and you completely forgot about the love that was lost.
Not to discount your ordeal; I know firsthand how much heartbreak can hurt, but consider yourself lucky because I also know that it’s just a peek down the hole of true devastation. From that vantage point, you can’t even see the bottom. And trust me you can’t really know what the bottom feels like until you have been there. I, too, had peeked into the hole, but it was a combination—a fatal cocktail made of hurt, pain and suffering—that shattered my heart beyond repair and sent me cascading downwards.
At the bottom, I broke open, and all that was left inside me were pieces of hopelessness, sadness and loneliness. Up until this point it was the world that I hated, but if I was to go on one more day, I knew I would loath myself. I had out of necessity agreed to do things that would go against the very fiber of my being and I was expected to start delivering my part of the deal tomorrow. I knew if my dad was still alive he would be completely destroyed. What father wouldn’t be saddened by the news that his daughter had sold her soul for a meal and a place to sleep? I was on the path to becoming a soulless, wretched whore who’s value would be determined by how much some dirty old man was willing to pay in exchange for sexual gratification. How had my life come to this?
With an unwavering moral fortitude I used to know right from wrong but, since my parents had died, survival and dysfunction had warped my values and blurred my boundaries. Although my boundaries had become unclear I hadn’t actually crossed any lines as of last night. Today would be the day that I would be expected to pay Donnie back for all of his kindness. Donnie had been waiting almost four months for me to turn eighteen so he could cash in on his investment. I was his winning lottery ticket and all I had to do was let go of the one thing I still had—my soul.
Maybe everyone, at some point, has considered giving up. I too had entertained these thoughts of ending it all in the past in those moments of despair. But those thoughts were always fleeting. I hadn’t spent months, or even days, planning. Last night I had dreamt for the first time since my parents died and in that dream I was shown what I needed to do, although I still had no idea when or where or even how I would do it—I was here and I was ready.
Morning became afternoon and I sat on the beach watching the surfers hustling into their wet suits, scared to miss the next wave. The sun worshippers smelled of coconut and aloe as they oiled themselves up, and the moms in their minivans unloaded a parade of children, each one carrying as much as their little arms could bear to their ideal piece of real estate to post up for the day. The California sun had a tendency to bring people to the beaches in droves. And this Sunday was no different.
As I watched, I couldn’t even be bothered to feel envy—I had already become numb. I knew it was part of life to experience sadness from time to time. But since the accident I had been stuck on sad, like a broken record. Broken beyond repair, similar to my mom’s old vacuum that she had fixed fifteen times until finally deciding it had to be thrown away.
It seemed like my whole life had consisted of a series of unfortunate events. Just when I thought I had found my footing and would take off running, something else would come along and rip my foundation out from under me, and once again I would fall right on my face.
My mom used to say that life only throws you obstacles in order to learn something, but I had definitely hit my fair share of obstacles and the only lesson I had learned so far was don’t hold on too tightly to things, because everything can be gone in the blink of an eye. Never get too comfortable because everything is transient. Even death is inevitable; nothing is forever, not even life itself. I loved my mom and she was right about a lot of things. However, I just wasn’t ready to accept that every time Jay beat me it was for my own good.
I was a little relieved that the cabbie chose to bring me here. As I was pulling a hairband from off my wrist and sweeping my blonde, waist-length, matted hair, that hadn’t seen shampoo in almost five days up into a messy bun I had said, “Wherever you can take me for twenty dollars that is away from here,” leaving the decision 100% in his hands.
At that point I wasn’t even sure I was going to follow through with it. As I considered how I would do it, I realized there really weren’t that many viable options. I definitely didn’t want the messiness of a gunshot; not to mention, I didn’t have a gun. I couldn’t chance the unreliable aspect of an overdose. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, with the possibility of waking up after a night in the hospital having my stomach pumped and find myself in the psyche ward of a mental hospital. That would be far too ironic, when my goal was freedom from the craziness of the world.
When the cabbie stopped at the beach, I knew he had picked the perfect place. I stepped out, dragging behind me my whole life’s worth of possessions, which sadly consisted of a single duffel bag crammed full with Jay’s dead wife’s clothes that happened to be at least four sizes too big. It had been over two years since the night my parents died, but I hadn’t managed to accumulate much since then, and what little I had picked up along the way carried hurtful memories. Jay had burned anything that could tie me to where I came from, other than then necklace my grandma had given me on my eleventh birthday of Angel wings. That was the one thing I had managed to keep hidden under my mattress. Everything I had was tainted with memories of my torture. The only gift Jay had ever given me over those two years he kept me prisoner, was a belt that he immediately instructed me to hang in the kitchen next to the other devise’s he used for punishment.
Looking back at all the pain he inflicted on me I had to admit I might have instigated it from time to time. There was a part of me that yearned for the pain. Not in a sadomasochistic kind of way, I didn’t derive pleasure from it but, instead the pain became a distraction that pulled me out of the black hole that was my mind. There was no pain Jay could inflict that could even begin to compete with the pain brought on when I had the thought, “I didn’t even say goodbye.” The power that thought had to devastate me was insurmountable.