The sound of footsteps echo throughout these streets. It’s the only sign of life in this desolate part of town, along with the scattered lights that illuminate every other window. Every once in a while, they say, you can see a shadowy silhouette in those very same windows, but I’ve yet to see any. All I’m interested in is getting home. It’s been a long day, and I could use a little rest.
The hills are steep, compounding to the fatigue, but the take out order I hold in my hand keeps my hopes up. This, and the sound from my TV, are the only things I look forward to now. Can’t even remember the last time I had any meaningful interaction with another human being. Maybe it was 4 months ago, maybe it was 4 years. I can’t be sure. Can’t be sure of anything anymore.
It’s got to be 4… years. It’s 2017 now. I left home in 2009, and graduated in 2013. That’s it. Graduation day was the last time I talked with anyone. that’s when my ex left me. I think she said I was… hopeless? Maybe useless. She had a job, and I didn’t. I think that’s what it was. I was a hopeless, useless, good for nothing piece of shit, and she had a bright future ahead of her. Yes. I remember now.
She was set to go and work for one of the biggest, well paying companies in the entire country, and I was still stuck, failing tests for public service. Despite all this, she never showed even the slightest signs of disappointment. She was always smiling. Even until the day we saw each other last.
Our last day together was commencement. We both held hands as we walked out of the ceremony. Her parents were there to congratulate her, and mine… were at home. They told me they wanted to save face. They didn’t want the world to know their son was a failure. We walked towards her parents, and as we got closer, I got a better look at their faces, and in an instant, I saw the disapproval on their faces. Their faces were yelling at me, telling me everything I knew. Sure, their mouths were smiling, but their eyes weren’t. They always say the eyes are the windows to the soul. And their souls were clearly judging me, nay, cursing me.
After we all greeted each other, I left to go talk to some friends I had, and left my ex and her parents to celebrate this good day. She came to get me soon after. But this time, her expression was different. Her mouth was smiling, yet her eyes looked as though they had a lot to say.
“Hey,” she said, looking at me with those eyes filled with meaning. “Wanna grab coffee?”
“Sure,” I replied. We walked into the nearest cafe we could find.
We sat down with our drinks in hand, across from each other with a table in the middle. Her eyes wandered around the cafe, rather distracted, as if looking for an excuse to let it all out. I couldn’t stand it. Any longer, and, I felt, she might burst into tears.
“Hey,” I said. She looked me in the eyes at that moment. “I don’t think it’s going to work out.”
She looked at me, shocked, but the uneasiness was gone from her eyes.
“You know, I’m going to only get busier with studying for these exams, and I don’t think I’ll have enough time to spend with you.”
Her expression looked confused. But, for an instant, I saw it. Relief. Her face was filled with relief for a brief instant. And then it was gone.
But it was all down hill from there. It’s been 4 years since then, and I have yet to pass the exams. I’ve gotten a part time job to cover my costs, but even then, I’m always living life on the edge. My bank balance is damn near zero, and my parents have effectively disowned me for all practical purposes.
I feel a buzz on my phone. Who could it be? It’s a message. I open it. It’s a message from my ex. It’s an invitation. To her wedding. I drop the plastic bag I was carrying all the way here. The contents spill all over my shoes, but I’m too much in shock to even care. I head on home. My hands now empty.
Upon reaching home, I open up my fridge. I take out a bottle of soju. I begin to down the bottle. I don’t know why but I can’t seem to stop. There’s a feeling, and it’s begging for alcohol. And it’s taking over my body. I can’t control it. I’m rather drunk now. I think I should hit the hay.
I open up my closet, to take out the futon to lay on the ground. I reach for something. It’s my necktie. What’s that doing here? It’s been so long since I wore this. It was meant for me to wear to an interview, upon passing the exams. But, I don’t think I ever wore it since graduation. Maybe I should try it on? I walk to the bathroom, to see myself in the mirror. The walk is difficult, but I make it. The image is blurry, but I can make out what I look like a bit. I smile. I laugh. Then, I start to cry uncontrollably. I think I need my meds.
I look in my medicine cabinet for my depression pills. I should have done this before drinking. Oh well. How many was it that I needed to take? I open the bottle. I lift it up to my mouth. And then, it all went dark. I think it’s time for me to call it a day.