Ride Home

“Thanks for the ride back.”

“My pleasure. You’re only a couple of blocks from me”

“It took forever coming over here on the bus.”

“It won’t take any time at all getting back, at this time of night.”

“It was a nice party.”

“It was, wasn’t it. Karen and John seem very happy.”

“They do. It’s been a while since I saw them last, or any of the old crowd.”

“You went to school with them?”

“Yep. What’s your connection? Did you go to Amherst too?”

“No. Jane – do you know Jane? – Jane and I had a thing, a couple of years ago. I got to know the others in the group then. Karen and John still lived in the city.”

“They’re all getting married now, having kids, moving to the suburbs.”

“I hope I never do.”

“Get married, or have kids, or move to the suburbs?”

“Move to the suburbs. I’m in the city to stay. As for the other two… if you don’t mind me asking… are you seeing anyone? I’m asking because you were alone tonight.”

“No. I was in a relationship but it’s over.”

“Oh. Well, I was thinking, since we live so close to each other… Would you like to have dinner sometime?”

“Thanks for the compliment, but I’ll have to pass.”

“OK. I just thought… To tell you the truth, at the party I felt like we were… I thought maybe I felt a connection.”

“You’re not in a relationship either?”

“No, and as much as I love the city, it can get a little lonely.”

“I have a feeling you’ll be fine”

“Just so I’ll know, would you tell me why you said no?”

“I said no because I won’t be here.”

“What? I thought… You’re going on a trip, or moving?”

“Neither. Well, I’m going on a trip, in a way.”

“Explain please.”

“I went to the party tonight to say goodbye to everyone. In a sense. I didn’t tell them that, but that’s why I went.”

“So you could say goodbye, in a way, and now…?”

“You know, I guess I’m saying goodbye to you as well.”

“But you’re not moving… Wait a minute… Are you playing with me here?”

“No. Just being honest.”

“You’re not talking about, you know, what I think you’re talking about. Are you?”

“As a matter of fact, I am. Tonight’s the night.”

“Whoa. Come on. A joke’s a joke, but tell me you’re not serious.”

“I am serious. I feel a little playful and excited about it, but I’m as serious as can be.”

“Then I can’t let you do it. Of course I can’t. I wouldn’t. I won’t. In fact, it’s like you’re asking me to stop you.”

“I can see how it would seem that way. Most of those who take their own lives are pretty private about it.”

“You’re teasing me.”

“I’m sorry. I should have kept my mouth shut.”

“I mean, what am I supposed to do if you’re serious?”

“There isn’t anything you can do, could do. When a person really, truly makes up their mind that they’re done, they’re beyond your help, or your control.”

“I guess I’d take you to Bellevue.”

“And drag me in, kicking and screaming?”

“You don’t strike me as a kicker or screamer.”

“So I’d walk in quietly with you and you’d tell the Psych Ward intake worker that I’m a suicide threat and I’d laugh and say that I was teasing you, come on, let’s go home?”

“I’d convince them.”

“So I’d spend some time on suicide watch and then go home?”

“You might change your mind in the meantime.”

“After knowing what I’m going to do for years?”

“It could happen. It doesn’t matter, because I couldn’t just drop you off at your place, knowing that you were going to go upstairs and kill yourself.”

“That’s why I should have kept my mouth shut.”

“Now you’re sounding like you mean it again.”


“Why would you do it, anyway?”

“Just to get on with it. See what’s next.”

“What if there isn’t any next?”

“Then it would be like it was before I was born, or when I go to sleep at night. No so bad. I could put it off for now, but nobody lives forever.”

“You’re beautiful. You’re intelligent. You seem happy. Are you actually depressed and just hiding it really well?”

“There are a lot of depressed people in the world who only manage to make it from one day to the next because they know they can end it if it becomes too much for them. That knowledge is a great comfort to them. I, however, am not depressed.”

“Then make a change. Find happiness.”

“Look. Suppose that you and I kiss tonight and fall in love. Suppose we turn out to be a perfect fit. We spend a long and happy life together. We raise a family. We become grandparents. We enjoy fulfilling careers that fascinate us. We help others. We make the world a better place.”

“Yes. I can suppose that.”

“And yet, why can’t I choose a different path? I’ve already been in love. I’ve already had a fascinating job.”

“Death isn’t a path.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Let’s go back to the part about falling in love.”

“Too late. The brown building on the corner? That’s mine.”

“Listen, I assume you’ve just been playing with me. I’m almost sure of it, because of that smile. It’s almost a grin. But just in case you mean what you’ve been saying, don’t get out. Come home with me, just for tonight. Or let’s go find someone for you to talk to, a professional. Don’t make me worry all night that I’ve made a terrible mistake.”

“You’re sweet and you aren’t making a mistake. You’re doing the right thing. Like I said before, you’re going to do fine.”

“Call me in the morning?”

“Goodbye, my friend.”