Paul Day Paul Day
Recommendations: 17

Just fixed it. How did I miss that? lol

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Paul Day Paul Day
Recommendations: 17

Ticket to a New Life

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She had a friend.

I bought a ticket to a new life, from a man I had never met. He said the ticket was special, that it contained magic. I was having a bad day, so I took it and gave the man my last ten dollars. I was hungry, but I didn't care. I was on my way to the jetty, where I had spent so many hours contemplating a future I would never see and a past I wanted to escape. I would stare over the railings at the constantly moving water below. I tried to imagine dying, what it felt like, what would come after, but when I closed my eyes all I saw was a deepening blackness behind the red-tinted inner lining of my nervous eye-lids, which flickered as if trying to open by themselves. I had to squeeze them tightly shut as I stepped up onto the railing and steadied myself. A seagull called out to me, as if to say, "Hey mate, don't do it." I paid it no attention. Other seagulls gathered to watch. I could hear them squawking, like a bunching of gossiping hags at a tea party, placing bets as to whether I had the balls.

But I couldn't do it. An image of my unborn child flashed across my eye-lids, cast as if by an old projector onto a fading screen. I could even hear the rattling of the cogs and gears and mechanisms of the clumsy, dispassionate device. The child was a boy. It figures. I had always wanted a girl. A boy would not replace what I had lost, would not replace my sister. A boy would remind me every day of what I was still missing in my life. A boy would grow to be a man, a man like my father, a tyrant, a bastard. No, I didn't want a boy. But a boy it was and a boy she said it would be. Nevertheless to leave a child, to leave her as well, would be the most terrible act of indecency a man could do.

I had the ticket in my hand. I had thought to catch the late train out to the city and start a new life. But I had stopped at the jetty of my youth instead and on a whim I walked out to the end and here I am. I looked at the ticket, so clean, so new, so unassuming. I had assumed it did not know what I was intending. If it had it would have tried to find a way to stop me. I thought about that ticket and the crossroads I was at. I stepped down from the railing, turned my back on the ocean, tore the ticket neatly in two and cast it into the air. To my surprise one half fell to my right and the other to my left. The wind flicked at them, encouraging them to lift off the ground. The ticket to my left flipped over, but the one to my right stayed where it was.

In that moment I made a deal with my future. If the ticket on the left went over the jetty and into the water first I would end my pathetic existence. If the ticket to my right stayed where it was I would go home and accept my future. I watched curiously for a while. I remembered the man at the ticket office telling me all about the city. I thought I had only two options, but in truth I had three. But the city, with all its endless attractions, promised only further loneliness and heartache, so I discounted it and stuck to my original deal.

Suddenly a gust of wind flipped the ticket to my left end over end and it tumbled into oblivion. I wasn't all that surprised. I watched the remaining ticket intently. I didn't really enjoy the idea of death and I found myself willing it to stay where it was. The wind caught it and it flipped over once, its edge teasing me as it lifted slightly in the desisting breeze. I gave it a time limit and looked at my watch. Sixty seconds, I thought. You have sixty seconds to stay where you are. I watched the ticket closely, glancing down at my watch every few seconds. By the time it counted down to ten seconds I was committed. But with five seconds to go the ticket flipped over a couple of times and landed beneath the railing, merely inches from the edge. I was genuinely relieved when the time was up and I quickly reached down and rescued the ticket before it sealed my fate.

I placed the ticket in my pocket and kept my hand there as if to prevent it from escaping. Then I walked slowly back to my bike, got on it and rode towards my unwanted future, trying desperately all the time to try to put a positive spin on things. At the door I was greeted by my girlfriend. She smiled and then asked, "Where have you been?" Where have I been? An interesting question. I wondered what questions she would have asked herself if I had been found washed up on shore. "Oh, I just went for a ride." The ticket must have been bent over in my pocket and the moment I said that it flicked open, tickling the inside of my hand, as if to rebuke me. It knew the truth and I would have to get rid of it as soon as I could. I managed a smile and kissed her, trying hard not to make it seem forced. 2 comments

Then I went inside and closed the door behind me, closed it on my past, my dark thoughts and my guilt. For the time being it would remain closed. But like the train that beckoned me to a new life and the jetty which remained a temptation to end it, the ticket reminded me again as it teased my fingers, that doors do not remain closed for long.

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