Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A Sunny Autumn Day by Lena Först

The sight was marvellous. The trees were a firework of colours, the sunlight reflected on the paths dark and wet from the last shower, the grass glowed golden, and raindrops twinkled like white stars on its blades. It looked so beautiful that he could have stayed there watching forever. But it wouldn’t stay forever. The shadows of the trees were already approaching. And there was no forever, as the world had ended. He felt the sweet warmth of the evening sun on his face, and his friend was dead.

Slowly, he raised his arms to undo the rope, but he couldn’t reach the knots. He tried to climb the tree, but he slid down again. He approached the hanging body and stopped himself in the last moment from touching it and trying to loosen the noose’s grip. Why was he doing all this? His friend was dead. He had chosen this day to die, a sunny autumn day so brilliantly beautiful that it could take your breath away. He looked up again to the golden leaves shining in the sunlight, felt the soft stroke of the wind that made the trees whisper and the foliage dance, and suddenly his heart splintered. A wave of pain pressed him to the ground and the beauty disappeared behind a stream of tears. Why have you done this to me? he sobbed. Why wouldn’t you let me save you? His crying nearly choked him, for he knew the answer: Nothing and no one could have saved his friend. He had given up a long time ago. He knew, because he had read the Facebook message. The message that his friend had forwarded to all his friends, family members and fellow students.

       The darkness has been here for long, but now I can’t see any light anymore. And: Thank you for letting me share in your lives for a bit. They were all so much better than my own.

Suddenly, he felt a burning hatred for his friend’s selfishness. How could he just decide to go forever? Why had he left them all behind? Why had he rather fled life and its problems than facing them and struggling on, as everyone else did? His life hadn’t been that bad after all. In fact, it had been quite a good life. Everybody had problems. What a coward he had been, escaping difficulties in such a way!

       “And what did you get out of it? What have you achieved?! You’re hanging from a fucking tree – well done!!” he yelled at the body while his tense fingers dug deep into the cold earth. Only then did he notice the bystanders, staring at him and the silent hanging figure that had been his friend. He gasped for words. All strength seemed to have left his body.

       “I’m sorry”, he finally managed to whisper to his friend, “it’s just … what have you left behind? Who will remember you?” He struggled to his legs and stumbled forward. “Who will remember him? He was my friend. But who will remember him?” he asked the spectators. As they silently fell back before him, he left the beautiful place. I should write a book about him. Or make a film. Keep his memory safe. That’s what he thought. But he knew he wouldn’t. There wasn’t much of a story to tell. And he knew he would stop remembering him as well. That made him cry again, but only a little more. 

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