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Loneliness & SUICIDE

I walked down a white hallway lit by buzzing fluorscent lights. I came to a door marked SUICIDE. A dog of indeterminate breed whined and whimpered and rolled on its back outside the door. I named the dog Loneliness. I opened the door marked SUICIDE. I stepped inside.

The room consisted of a dirty tile floor and some severely smudged mirrors mounted on the wall just inside the doorway. There were all these plumbing fixtures on the opposite wall. I suspected this may have at one time been a restroom, but the toilets, urinals, and partitions were now gone. A parachute hung from a nail in one corner. An old man, stripped to the waist, sat on the floor, knitting something, in another corner. The dog I named Loneliness went straight for the man and licked the soles of his bare feet. The man did not seem to notice.

"This is the story of my life," I said, approaching the parachute. "A parachute and no place to jump from."

"My trouble," the old man, still knitting, said, "has always been plenty of places to jump from but no parachute available."

The dog I named Loneliness stopped licking the old man's feet and left the room.

"That dog has had many names," the old man said. "While cats may have nine lives, dogs have nine names."

"Sometimes I'm too lonely to masturbate," I said, examining the parachute. There was no response from the old man. I looked over my shoulder. He was gone. There was nothing in the space he occupied but some stray yarn and a thick file folder. I examined the file folder. It was full of crisp photographs of me sobbing in strange landscapes I'm quite certain I've never visited.

I poked my head into the hall. There was no sign of the old man or the dog I named Loneliness. There was no sound other than the fluorscent lights buzzing. I stepped back into the room and closed the door marked SUICIDE. I turned off the light and sat down on the tiled floor. I think I may have closed my eyes, but it was really too dark to tell if they were open or closed. I sat there for a long time, knitting imaginary memories unspooling from my mind.

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