This is a suicide note.

Well, no, actually it isn't, at least not technically; nowhere in its text, or in its subtext, will you find the particulars to my impending demise. For that matter, said demise isn't necessarily even impending, except to the extent that it is impending for all of us, and I hasten to assure my handful of readers that I have no urgent desire to die. Life indeed goes on — long after the thrill of living is gone.

Melancholy and Mellencamp notwithstanding, by some reckonings it has been a good life — no particularly debilitating diseases, at least so far as I know, and, with the exception of a few rather painful periods, fairly well insulated from the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. A perfunctory glance at almost any central city will turn up half a dozen people who, given the chance, might be far happier with my lot than with their own.

Still, something is dreadfully wrong, and has been for some time. Circumstances which should bring joy to the heart instead generate annoyance or resentment. Even the most minor decisions bring on spates of anxiety, followed, not by action, but by paralysis. On the edge of a city of many thousands, part of a wired global village of many millions, I am nevertheless frighteningly, unspeakably lonely.

It has to stop.

Some time in the next few days, my daughter will give birth to her first child. I should be overjoyed. And I do wish them well. But try as I may, I can't come up with more than the vaguest semblance of delight in the prospect. My capacity for happiness, so far as I can tell, is gone forever.

So that first line, inaccurate as it is, nonetheless speaks truth. The end, whenever it may be, starts here.

The Vent

7 November 1999

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 Copyright © 1999 by Charles G. Hill