15 April, 2019

Midnight #AtoZChallenge

Abby had her swimsuit in the car. It was kind of pointless for her purposes, but she wanted it for after work. She worked in an office near the beach. There was a fast inlet down the road, with a high new bridge. 

She was working late that Friday, noon until when-it-was-done. During the summer, seasonal help couldn’t always be relied on to take the time to process everything diligently at the end of the day. If she didn’t do the weekend close out, she often found herself fixing it the next day. 

Today was as “normal” as one could have hoped but wrapping up still took a long time. The complaints were resolved, the revenue matched, and the seasonal staff left on time. That much was perfectly normal. She had even stayed longer to help the boss solve a lingering problem. 

“You okay to lock up?” 

“Sure thing, boss. Just let me double check my email and close out my computer. You go.” 

Abby matched her actions to the words and was locking the office 10 minutes later. Nearly midnight. No moon graced the night, just a few winking stars against the pitch black sky. She drove the 3 miles to the bridge and pulled to park on the shoulder at the base of the bridge. Pausing in the driver’s seat, she felt her heart slump within. It hadn’t been a bad day. Few days were “bad”. They were all just so pointless. Ever since she could remember, Abby hadn’t felt like there was a point to anything. She had her fun, laughed with friends, moaned with pleasure at a tasty meal or passionate kiss, but each day was just a series of moments. Good, bad, or indifferent. 

Even in grade school, Abby remembered going to bed thinking “Maybe tonight I’ll be taken.” Death wasn’t something she feared. It was just something different. As she grew up, she’d found that thinking and talking casually about death raised concerns in others, so she’d learned to keep her inner darkness deeply hidden. Inside, she felt as pitch black as the sky above. 

Such a stigma talking about death when she wasn’t really “suicidal” resulted in her keeping her mouth shut so that no one might guess she thought about death. Of course, she still did think about it. Not every day, anymore. 
Until recently. 
Now it was an everyday thought again. 

Even out for drinks with friends, laughing and building a buzz, it all felt fake. Everyone said “be yourself” but no one really wanted to hear the thoughts she thought. So she acted a part and did the things an adult human does. She had a job she was good at. She talked to her family regularly, went to church, paid her taxes. 

No more. 

Sitting in her little white sedan, she changed into her bathing suit. Not much point to it, except vanity, but she did it anyway. She left the car unlocked with the keys tucked under the floor mat, and climbed the stairs that rose alongside the bridge, right next to the inlet. There was no traffic. Midnight was quiet. 

She knew when the tide would change, that point when the deep waters would be churning and roiling, creating whirlpools as water rushed in and out. She had timed her day well. Climbing over the railing, she allowed herself to fall forward. 

A natural survival instinct kicks in when anyone is in a position of not being able to take in air, and Abby was no exception. As she felt herself pulled deeper, her strength finally gave out. As the swirling waters embraced her form, she was finally at peace. 

 Thank you for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! My theme is "Audience Participation" (read about it, here) and now it is your turn. Each day will be a new story based on suggestions from your comments. Suggest anything: a word, scenario, character, location... I will be keeping a list of suggestions, so if yours isn't used tomorrow, it may show up later. 

Today's post was inspired by the prompt "pitch", suggested by Anna Tan (of Deeply Shallow), given in comments on my "L" post (here)


  1. Maybe having the space to talk about her feelings and thoughts might have given get the way to stay in this world longer and made her feel more alive.

    My prompt for you is this poem https://m.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/we-real-cool

    Visiting from Atoz http://namysaysso.com

  2. Perhaps if people around her had listened to her thoughts about death and dying she wouldn't have done that. It's a bit insane how much mental health issues are stigmatised in this day and age.

    Pleased to connect through the A-Z.

    Word suggestion - efflorescence.

  3. I'm not big on dark, but it was well told and kept me with you to the end, so that's a compliment!
    How about "license plate" as a prompt word or inclusion word?

  4. Brett - It's how I feel a lot of the time.

    Namratha - She had tried talking about her true feelings, and people didn't respond well. Being judged for their feelings is a big reason people shut down. I'll go check out that poem.

    Nilanjana - Exactly. If her feelings were accepted as feelings, she may have felt accepted for who she was. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Donna - Thanks for that! I'm reading many blogs that aren't my usual style. That's the joy of AtoZ. Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. Wow, that's dark. It's too bad she didn't feel like she could talk to anyone about her feelings. Now no one will know why she's gone.

  6. Liz - Yeah, I don't think she's the type to leave a letter behind. If nothing matters, then the ones left behind don't matter either.


I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.