Anxiety hit as soon as the alarm rang, and the bruise it left smarted. I was scrambling within, afraid. I looked outside the window to see the sun peeking through, still young and shy. I knew exactly what I had to do. Fire surged through my veins everytime I thought about it and I felt some part of myself, small and buried deep within, pleading that I do not to go through with my decision. The voice felt like a parasite, trying to convince me that leaving this life behind was a terrible idea. Every other fibre of my being, however, urged me to go forward with what I had planned. So, you see, I simply had to do it.
I would have to do this right. God forbid, if I wasn’t successful... no. I wouldn’t consider that possibility. I sat upright on my bed, staring at the nascent sun, I didn’t want to wait for very long with the idea brewing in my head for fear that it would manifest itself in a way I wouldn’t want it to. I resolved that the same night would be the best time to do it. I would have the day to make preparations. Every decision I made henceforth would have weight. I took a deep breath, picked up my phone and called the office. “Yes, please tell Mr. Smith that I won’t be coming in today. I’ve fallen ill,” I whispered into the handset. I had to call in sick, or I’d have angry calls through out the day. No time for that. Normally, I would have to try and make my voice as hoarse as I could, but I didn’t need to act this time. My nerves were squeezing my words into croaks. The truth was that, were I to succeed, I wouldn’t go to work tomorrow either. I didn’t tell them that, hanging up as quickly as I could. With every passing moment, a new unwelcome surge of adrenaline pushed its way into my bloodstream and clouded my thoughts so I stood up and began to pace, thinking of my next step.
I would have to make sure that I’d be alone in the house until I was done. That meant calling my girlfriend, now. It also meant I was about to sprint through a minefield. With this massive secret pushing its boundaries in my brain, she would know immediately that I was hiding something, shrewdly catching on to the slightest lapse in my composure, even over the phone. “This is necessary,” I said to myself. “I can’t risk her walking in on me, it would ruin everything. I already know I have to do this right.” My determination fortified, I dialled her number. “Hello?” She sounded sleepy. I had forgotten. Her shift at the bar started and ended late on thursdays, if she decided to come over, it wouldn’t be before nine. This call was unnecessary. It was also making me unwind. The second I heard her soft voice, I wanted to tell her everything. I felt a pang- her life would change after tonight. I wanted to scream, cry and strangely, laugh, from the bubbling anxiety. Yet she was the person who could not, under any circumstances, know because she was the only one who had any control over me now. Once more, I hung up as quickly as I could, muttering an apology for waking her up and claiming that the call was a misdial. Before I touched the red button, I whispered a meek “I love you.” I had to force it out holding back tears, not because I didn’t mean it, but because saying it meant too much that day.
The street began to revive as the sun journeyed across the sky. By the time I had collected my thoughts, it glared through the glass arrogantly. The life on the street, with people going about their business, some smiling and the the rest hurrying, unsettled me somehow. I thought about everything else I would have to do. I stepped near the door to scan the appartment. It was a mess; I would have to tidy it up. I cleaned for the first time in forever, my stomach lurching every few minutes. Then I decided that I would need to hear my mother’s voice before I went through with it tonight. I’d need a reason, she wouldn’t believe me if I said I called without one. Why didn’t I call her more often? Perhaps I could ask for a recipe; I missed her cooking, after all.
Dodging every question thrown my way with adeptness developed in my school days, I procured the recipe for my favourite dish, and began to cook it. I thought of my girlfriend. This was her favourite too. Emotion grasped at my throat as she crossed my mind, so I pushed her to the back of my head. Three gruelling hours later, I set the the table. I glanced at the box that stood next to the dish; its contents would be my tool tonight. I was more aware than I had ever been of the wall clock’s malicious ticking. I blamed it for bringing the deadline nearer to me, my subconscious mind ringing all sorts of alarms and my heart beating far too fast. I felt as though the day had passed in a second. All this fear, and I hadn’t changed my mind. I told myself that this meant something.
It was time. I picked up the box and opened it, staring at what would change everything. I jumped at the sudden clamour of keys at the door. It swung open and my girlfriend entered to the sight of me on one knee, holding up a ring, its diamond glinting in the subtle candlelight and asking the question before I could.