In an upscale apartment Lizzy wrote her suicide note
In an upscale apartment Lizzy wrote her suicide note. She sat on the sofa, its firm cushions demanding good posture, the green silk vine patterns on sage green material enfolding her in a mirage of forestry.
“Nothing here is really alive,” she wrote. “All is abandoned, carcasses devoid of caring.” She sheathed the pen nib in its smooth plastic lid. The little plastic arm was sharp on the tip, “perfect for hanging the pen on your shirt pocket,” she thought. She thought in advertisement often. Everything was a hollow gimmick. Of course, it all worked, these doodads; bit and pieces all fulfilling their jobs of not much, but so handy! Some exec. would see some kids’ doodle, say ‘ever cool’, print out a copy-write and suddenly a million busy hands in China would make it so.
Lizzy could spend hours in the Dollar Store thinking ‘ever cool’, marveling that each fabulous item cost only one dollar. She could hear the busy little hands controlling the switches on the manufacturing lines. She sometimes saw the dusty faces peering at her from the backs of the shelves. “I made this” they whispered. Lizzy had eaten only rice for two weeks in the apartment. She hoped it would make her industrious, like them. Creative, like them.
Two months ago, Lizzy had rented the apartment from Asian people. Not Chinese, they were from Taiwan. But lots of things were still made in Taiwan. Her cell phone was made in Taiwan. She had programmed its ring to play the ‘Happy Birthday to You’ tune. When it rang she was Alice, it was her unbirthday. There was the March Hare and the Mad Hatter. There were the lead tea pots and tea spoons. Lizzy kept a sleeping mouse toy in her purse. She would touch it before she answered the phone, just to calm her down a bit. He was so cool.
Lizzy ate only with plastic plates and cups and such from the dollar store. She didn’t want to go mad. It didn’t matter about xenoestrogens from all that plastic tainting her hormone levels. She’d never have a baby. Mild anorexia kept her to three or four weak periods a year. She got her Deepo Provera shot faithfully every three months, anyway. There was always that cute Devon at the Starbucks. “Here’s your laté” ooh, he said it so smooth. Besides, she could always be raped, again.
The Taiwanese couple had never lived in the apartment; they just had it to rent out. There were no good luck dragon statues. No stains of dirty fingers around the light switches. No faint aroma of spicy seafood in the Berber carpet. There were no plants. The couch was nice, though. “I could die here” she’d thought, the first time she’d sat on it.
This would take time, writing a suicide note. She wanted to make someone cry. The police officer would read it. Likely her mother would read it.
Lizzy went for a walk in the park. There was lots of grass and some old tall trees here and there. Down by the pond it got a little steep and bushy and the paved paths converged. There was life. Lizzy sat on a bench observing healthy passers-by. Statistics said one in four women is sexually abused. Usually before the age of sixteen. Usually by a relative or family friend. Lizzy searched among the eyes of women jogging and power walking and roller blading past her. “You,” she thought. “You know how I feel. It happened to you, too.”
On the walk home through the park, the newspaper boxes begged a dollar. The headlines roared war at her. Lizzy turned her head away and rushed past. Lizzy couldn’t take the news. Everybody’s killing each other and the planet’s dying and all else is just selfish tripe! She felt like screaming it from the lonely treetops in the park. Would it comfort them?
At least Uncle Fraser had died of cancer after suffering painfully for three years. Lizzy had smiled all through his funeral but no one noticed. So, should she tell about him in her suicide note? At college her friend Trudy had charged her bother’s friend with rape. She’d told Lizzy all about it and one day the police had come and taken a statement from Lizzy. She’d told them everything Trudy had told her. She thought she was helping. The officer said, “Well, this ruins her case” afterwards. Why? “Because the details of the case are supposed to remain confidential.” You mean she can’t talk about it with anybody? “Nope.” No. No way. Let the system rape you, too? No thanks. Anyway, Uncle Fraser had been punished.
Walking back over the grass Lizzy watched her cheap tan sandals, thinking she wished she had religion. Something to believe in. They had said the Lord’s Prayer after O Canada in school every morning.
Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
For ever and ever, Amen
Sure. Sure it was all God’s. But he isn’t really doing a very good job making it heaven on earth. And everyone was too busy sinning to bother forgiving. What was sin, anyway? Was it a sin she didn’t wash her hands after peeing yesterday?
The Starbucks was across the street from the park entrance. She could go see cute Devon. “Here’s your laté.” She would invite him to her apartment. They would lie down on her couch. They would have ten Laté’s and he would pour them all slowly over her naked body. Devon wasn’t at the cash. She searched for him as she approached the counter. “Where’s Devon?” she blurted out to the young woman. The woman had died her perfect hair with Henna. Her make-up was perfect. Why would someone so beautiful work at Starbucks? She looked sideways at the other woman working behind the counter and they sniggered at Lizzy. They had pegged her: a nameless customer with a crush on cute Devon. Loser. Sorry, loser, he’s gone and so is your last chance at happiness.
Lizzy’s eyes watered a bit and she left the Starbucks.
There was a travel agency on the walk home. She’d never noticed it before. Why? Maybe because the Dollar Store was just beyond it. There was a big poster, ‘Return China fare only $499.99’. Lizzy had her Visa in her purse and she walking in and used it.
At home, Lizzy finished her suicide note. “Nothing is really alive here,” she wrote again. “And no one really cares about that.” She looked at the half full page for a long time. “P.S.,” she wrote, “Uncle Fraser sexually abused me when I was a kid.”
Lizzy set the bottle of sleeping pills beside the note on the glass top coffee table in front of the cool green sofa. She had been carrying around that bottle of sleeping pills for five years. Waiting for today. She looked at the sofa longingly. “It would be nice to lie down,” she thought. Then Lizzy picked up her little suitcase and went out and hailed a taxi for the airport.