You would like to die today, if convenient. You check your diary and note that it isn’t because you agreed, what feels like years ago, to a Saturday evening Hinge date and it would be unforgivably rude to stand him up on account of killing yourself. He might never get over that sort of thing. He might even blame himself. Today is not the day to die. You sigh and shave your legs, underarms, even swipe the razor at your bikini line without optimism, carefully not looking at the bright veins in your wrists.
You wake up to a text from your Hinge date that says he has a lot going on and just needs to ‘focus on his career at this time’. He wishes you the best. Today, perhaps, you think. As you no longer need to take his feelings into account. But your dog comes to the side of your bed and nudges your arm, knocking your phone out of your hand. She wants to be fed. You can’t go until you feed her. And she’ll need to be fed again tonight. You’ll need to do something about that first, make some arrangements for her. You have read that dogs live in the moment, so you don’t believe that she will miss you for very long.
You find that you log on for work on Monday morning, though you don’t know why you’ve bothered. The dog sitter picked up the dog and there’s no reason to bother with work. You hate work and you are pretty sure they hate you, too. You wouldn’t be missed. In the morning staff meeting, your boss asks you for an assignment that was due last week – ‘at your earliest convenience’. You see a message on Skype after. ‘How are you?’ your colleague wants to know. If you do it now, she will wonder if there was something else she should have said. You know because you’ve always wondered this about your friend from school, even though you know better. She’s not bright or really a friend, but she doesn’t deserve it. ‘I’m fine,’ you tell her. The dog sitter brings back the dog at seven and you give her a treat. You eat a microwave lasagne.
On Tuesday you have therapy. You don’t see the point in lying to your doctor, so you tell him you would quite like to die. He seems concerned, but not moved to action. He does ask if you have a plan. Yes, you tell him, you do, but you aren’t going to tell him what it is. This makes him more worried. He asks if you want to spend some time in the hospital, maybe. You’re never doing that again. You would definitely rather be dead than that. So you tell him it’s not that bad, and anyway, you have the dog, so you can’t go running off to the hospital. Then you end the Zoom session. The office calls to take the £400 payment over the phone.
Wednesday is running club day and it’s your turn to bring birthday cake, so it’s not the day, either. Your friends say the cake is delicious. You didn’t bake it. You bought it and took it out of the box.
On Thursday, you have to take the dog to the vet to get her de-wormer and flea treatment. They insist on seeing her in person to weigh her and you don’t have anybody else to do this for you, and you wouldn’t let her get heartworm.
On Friday, the rabbi emails to ask if you will light the candles for the virtual Shabbat service. You find it hard to say no to these types of requests, from people you like. So you can’t do it today, either.
You have another Hinge date. But when you get out of the shower, you see he has cancelled on you. He cites the bad weather. You look out the window and note that it’s slightly overcast; a typical London day. Maybe, you think in a wild moment of despair, you are already dead and this is hell. If that’s true, you don’t need to kill yourself at all, do you? You delete Hinge, and Bumble, and everything else. You see your dog standing at your feet. She is licking droplets of water as they run down your legs. You dress in comfortable clothing. You do not wear makeup or dry your hair. You clip your dog’s lead on, put in headphones, and head out into the perfectly nice day with your dog.
She is thrilled by everything she sees. Another dog. A tree. A person. A bag on the floor. A leaf. You spend several hours in the park watching the world through her eyes. You made it another full week wanting to die, but you didn’t. And your dog still needs you. And the leaves are only just starting to change. It would be a shame to miss them at their brightest colours.
About The Author
Remy Maisel is a writer from New York, currently living in London. Her work has appeared in various publications, including HuffPost, Politico, Alma, and JewishFiction, and her debut novel will be published by Book Guild Publishing in September 2021. Find her @remeanie across the internet or on www.remymaisel.com.
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