Sam was tired of it all, but he had been tired of it for a long time now, there just didn’t seem to be a bottom to the hole. Get up, go to work, come home, repeat, even the weekends held no joy for him, a day without work, that’s all they were. He had tried to keep the place up, vacuum every once in a while, mow the yard, wash the dishes when he felt like it, if not there was always paper plates, and T.V. dinner trays didn’t need to be washed. It was a big house, too big for just one person, and he wondered for the hundredth time why he hadn’t just sold it and moved on, but inside he knew why, he was lazy, no, he was past lazy, Sam had become apathetic.
The last three years had become nothing more than a monotonous repetition of the same, work, eat, sleep, don’t work, eat, sleep, with a lot of television thrown into the mix. The last two months or so he had taken to going to the big mall on the outskirts of town, walking around aimlessly, looking in the windows at the items for sale that he didn’t want, walking like the older folks that were there for exercise. It was a good place to go to get his mind off of the items in the closet, the things that he was wearing now as he stood at the edge of the railing on the second-floor landing of the too big house.
“It’s not really as simple as that dad, you need to mean it in your heart, but it’s a good start.” Sam had repeated the words that his youngest son had told him to say, asking Jesus to forgive him, to come into his heart, but they didn’t seem much more than words to him, the boy was enthusiastic, and who could blame him, he was young and felt that he had found his calling. They had never been a religious family, hadn’t even ever had a Bible in their house much less gone to church, but the kid had found Jesus in college and had given up a lucrative career as an engineer to follow Him, go figure. Sam repeated the words like he was told to, trying to appease the boy, besides, he was the only one of his three kids that kept in touch with him, the other two had moved far away and sent Christmas and birthday cards with well wishes, but that was it.
Sharon had divorced him three years ago, had taken nearly everything, including most of their retirement money, leaving him with one failing car, the too big house and Missy the cat, who stared at him questionably from the first floor bay window as he stood with his toes over the edge of the landing. Sharon was tired of the same life, tired of the kids, tired of him, she wanted more, and Sam was not something that she wanted more of. She had divorced him just one year after their youngest had left the nest, and as far as Sam knew she was out spending the money they had invested and saved for almost twenty-five years. Nothing mattered to Sam anymore, he had finally come to the realization that his twenty plus years at the factory had all been for nothing, kids that didn’t call, wife gone off to see the world, a too big house that held no meaning to him, his entire life seemed to be just a big waste of time.
He had started to look at other things on-line besides the porn about six months ago, you could find anything on-line, it seemed to give some purpose to his life, but that purpose was to end his life, not to fulfill it with other things, things he knew that would be just as hollow and empty as the too big house. He was as nervous as the cat when a car horn would honk outside when he bought the first item, the rope, telling the guy at the hardware store that he was catching a bad cold, that was the reason he was sweating so much. It was as exhilarating and fearful as when he was with his first girl almost forty years ago, and when he had arrived back home he threw the rope still in the bag into the closet like it was a deadly snake. The long, plastic zip ties and adhesive tape joined the rope in the closet just two weeks later, you could find out how to do anything on-line. It was one of the reasons for the long walks at the mall, it was far away from the closet, the closet that he would walk by twenty times a day, sometimes quickly and fearfully, thinking himself mad, a man slowly going insane, at other times stopping in front of the dreaded door, staring at it for long periods of time, sometimes even letting his fingers caress the doorknob.
“That’s an amazing testimony David, our Lord is definitely into the miracle business.” “Yes he is Chuck, yes he is, I was at the end of my rope with nowhere else to turn and…” Sam turned the television off with such forceful motion that one of the buttons on the remote actually popped off and went flying across the room, followed immediately by a very interested cat. “That’s the last thing I need.” The words reverberated thru the too big house and seemed to return to Sam with an almost mocking tone, casting him into a fit of both depression and loss that he had not felt since the day his wife had shut the front door in his face for the last time. He had laid on the couch for three days straight after that moment, the way that he was laying on that same sofa now, hopelessness washing over him like a wave.
“You know, I’ve seen him here before, but he seems different somehow today.” “Yes, well, he actually seems friendlier, maybe something good finally happened to him, he always looked so sad before.” The two older ladies returned Sam’s smile and wave and kept shuffling around the perimeter of the mall, looking forward to their resting spot in the small cafe and a shared piece of pie. Sam put the little tract back where he found it lying on the bench, some cartoon thing about a Christian guy being robbed by a hooded fella in a mask, and continued his walk. He really wasn’t interested in reading it through to the end, today was the day, today he had something to look forward to, no more dead-end job, no more walks at the mall, no more too big of a house. Part of Sam’s mind tried to figure out why he was so happy with the decision he had finally come to, but he pushed it out, it was the first time in three years that he felt happy, he was finally looking forward to something, and he did not want to listen to that part of his mind that was trying to tell him that it would be the last thing that he would ever do.
He checked the dry erasure board on the refrigerator that he had been putting reminders on for the last few weeks, furnace at the right temperature, lights off and the doors shut, porch lights on, lots of food in the cat’s bowl, note on the table in the dining room. He watched the video one more time to be sure he had everything just right, you could find anything on-line, and then he stepped off the second-floor landing. The last image Sam saw in this life was his cat looking curiously at him, the same cat who watched his body jerk violently, the same cat that then stretched out in the warm sunshine of the bay window before returning to its nap. The next thing Sam knew was that it was very dark, very hot, and that he wanted a second chance, he wanted a second chance so very badly.