Prose Practice: "Suicide Short"

She lays on the couch in an apartment that doesn’t belong to her, and she wonders what she’ll do. She left her own a week ago, disillusioned by high hopes of living alone in the city, she’s decided to pay a friend to sublet a couch for awhile.
She slides out the front door before anyone is awake; she doesn’t want to disturb any sleep with her senseless leaving. The sky is gray, overcast with the threat of rain, yet she walks wearing only her pale sundress and sandals. She shivers, feeling rain hit her hair and shoulders. Her hair hangs down her back, stringy and dull, and as she walks she pushes it back with her hand.
A dog sits in the yard that she left, puzzled by her sudden exit, but all too soon he has forgotten her for the scent of another.
Her walk seems endless; how far was it again? she wonders, picking up the pace. There is a time limit to these things. The day is slipping from her already, the sun threatening to peek out from behind buildings and skyscrapers any minute now.
Back in the darkened apartment, the shades are thrust open and the day is welcomed. The inhabitants move about their routines as if they knew nothing else but the motions. Their eyes are dull.
She noticed that last night, as they were sitting around. Coffee cups lay scattered on the coffee table, among packs of cigarettes and an ashtray or two. Her eyes never left his face, but he didn’t notice. He watched the girl in the corner; he watched her every move. And she noticed, feeling her heart fill up with tears that would never come. They sipped hot drinks and made cool conversation, the motions of any social gathering set. As night drifted off, the guests made their exit. They were the last to go. He slipped his hand up to hold her back, finding the natural curve and moving in. She felt her spirit crack, then, and she busied herself in the clean up that she did not want to do.
She lay there, tucked away for the night, and imagined his face. And hers was suddenly wet with hot tears, blown cool by the air. She saw the girl: blond hair falling on a perfect pink cheek, blue eyes bright with laughter, small hands clasping the coffee cups and cookies. She swore she saw the girl’s finger extended in some sort of class-traversing motion. She thought of the girl’s sweet nature, the way the girl had told her it was “nice to meet you” before stealing him away out the door, the way the girl had thanked her for a lovely evening.
She lay there and she cried until she was clean enough to take the world again, and then she left.
They found the note later, too late, as it always goes. It was written hastily, a scribble on the back of a paper for an old college class.
And as they are reading it, clutching the note in their worried hands, she is running toward her goal. She vaults off the rocks beautifully, opening her arms to her fate. The cold spray hits her face, stinging her eyes, but she keeps them open, watching the gulls and the fish twist together as the waves overtake her fragile body. She floats as though sleeping on air, hair out behind her, dress billowing in the water. They never figured out why, nor how, she did it. They never found her. Still, she floats like the fish she always wanted to be, swimming aimlessly from place to place in her own little sea.

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