Shortly after 9 PM Christopher Headlam wipes
the tears from the white stubble on his cheeks, eases on the light on his
bedside table and sneaks out of its drawer the bottle of pills that he intends
to use to kill himself. He uncaps it and shakes out six white pills into his
trembling right hand. He fumbles them into his mouth, then washes them down
with weak orange squash.
As he consumes the rest of the pills, he looks
over his suicide note, which took all afternoon to write. He sighs several
times as he reads:
Its terrible this losing your
mind and making up excuses for it, trying to kid yourself. I have to act now
before I lose it totally and cant even manage to kill myself. Things are
going wrong for me more and more. Ive thought about this long and
Im sure its the right thing to do. While I still can.
I just dont see any point to going on.
Im so lonely since my Jeanie passed on. And bored stupid in this
shit-hole care home. Life isnt worth living. The happy time is over, now
its the days of darkness. I never thought Id end up like this. But
you cant tell how things will turn out. Life is a cruel joke. The Stoic
philosophers had it right when they said if life is unbearable and you really
cant do anything to improve it, end it. Though I wouldnt have been
a stoic, Id have been an epicurean.
Ive got no friends here. Didnt
even get a Xmas card from the dogs. Nobody smiles, theres no intellectual
stimulation, we just get parked in front of the gogglebox to watch brain rot.
And I cant concentrate to read a book anymore. I read half a page and
find Ive only taken in the first sentence. My mind used to be sharp, but
now its nearly a gulf.
It used to be better here but my beauty
girl, before she was made redundant, told me the place had been taken over by a
new company which was cutting wages and staff and costs. I really miss
her. Her soft voice and gentle hands. She was lovely, had May in her eyes. None
of the new carers care. Not like she did. A smile from her lit up the whole
day. They talk to you as if youre a mental defective. In a primary school
teacher voice with the intonation going up at the end of the sentence.
Impatient scowl faces not respecting you as a person. All I want is a grain of
respect. I was a professor of English at Durham for gods sake, wrote six
books of literary criticism and some poetry. But now Im just a nuisance.
They shout me and tell me Im a pain in the arse. They say I always mess
things up and laugh at me. That is NOT true. Just because I couldnt find
my boiled egg at breakfast that time when it was in my hand all along. Just one
senior moment. And maybe a few more.
Now the homes run by whatsername
Nurse Ratchett I call her. Makes us wear name tags on our clothes like a star
of David. Puts labels on the draws for socks and underwear and that. Some slaps
too. Its demeaning and humiliating. And she grew taller this week. At least 2
inches taller. Sinister. And there arent enough carers. I rang and rang
and rang for help the other day but nobody came. I shat myself and was left
like that for hours, Never want to go through that again. I disgust myself
Im embarrassed for people to see me like this. Not that anyone gets to
see me anymore, My old mate Ken used to visit once a month, I think and he got
really angry at the degeneration tasteless food, scuffed paintwork,
stink of cabbage, inmates medicated so theyre no trouble, filthy toilets
and all that. But when he complained in no uncertain terms they banned him. He
cant come any more. If I could just see him again Id get well
again, Id be fine, I no that. That was the last straw. This is no way to
May the new owners rot in hell!!! This is to
tell them my death is their fault. All the shit in my life is down to them.
Yesterday I sent that badtempered philipino carer off on a wild goose chase and
got into the pharmacy and grabbed a bottle of aspirins. Id rather kill
myself with dignity like this rather than disfigure myself cutting my throat or
something. And its a quick and easy death. If there is life after death
Im going to join my lovely Jeanie. In any case at least I will get out of
faithfully, Christopher Headlam.
As he finishes reading this, the old professor
purses his lips and nods his approval. He drops the bottle, gulps down the last
of the pills and settles back in bed, closing his eyes with a contented smile,
welcoming the release of the sleep of death.
The bottle lies on the carpet with its label
uppermost. The red letters on a white background identify the pills as laxative