Day Ninety

Hiram was not excited about life anymore, but he wasn’t looking forward to dying either. He’d made a rule for himself, though, and he thought it was a good one and he intended to stick with it.

When he was a kid, he’d go through dark periods. They fell short of clinical depression but the angst was still powerful enough for Hiram to contemplate suicide. The trigger would be when he was at a low point and then other kids would make fun of his name. Hiram thought: “What’s the point of going on? My life is a zero and kids harass me, too.”

But Hiram was not impetuous. He knew that at twelve, he probably had a bunch of years left. Things could get better…or worse. In any case, change was probable. That’s when he came up with the ninety day rule.

He’d have to feel that life was not worth living for ninety consecutive days, or else just go on living. That worked out well for Hiram, and except for a few bad stretches running a few weeks each but far less than three months, he made out just fine until he reached thirty five years of at least adequate living.

But one hot summer day that year he reached day ninety and he was full of woe. A voice in his head spoke:

Hi, Hi! That’s a joke. Okay, I know you’ve heard that one more than once, but you gotta admit it’s at least a little clever.

Hiram would admit no such thing, but since he was nearing the end, he didn’t much care. He fashioned a noose out of the rope and secured it to the ceiling.

Oh, c’mon Hiram! It’s not midnight yet. You know the rules. We’ve got some time. Let’s chat.

Hiram answered, annoyed. “Yeah, I know. I’m getting ready. I want to do this right. What are you pestering me for? And who are you anyway? Why don’t you show yourself?”

Oh, you know me Hiram. I’m the rule maker. I’m you from your childhood.

“You are me? So, what’s going on? Am I talking to myself? Am I sad and crazy, too? Midnight can’t come quickly enough.”

You’re not crazy, Hiram. Time passes but the past never dies. The old you is a little submerged, but he still exists in you now. You aren’t crazy. It’s just that as you approach the end, your sense of yourself, the entire history of yourself, become sharpened.

“So, what is you’re trying to do? Talk me out of it?”

Nah. Just feel like talking. It’s gonna be the end of me, too. So, it’s my last chance.

“Hey, I’m really sorry. I thought you were dead already. I only wanted to kill myself. It’s getting pretty close to midnight, so I suggest you talk fast.” Hiram stood up on a chair and fitted the loop around his neck.

It’s okay. I’m ready to go, too. It’s just that…

“What? It’s just that…what?”

I never told you that I love you.

Hiram climbed off the chair. He didn’t die that day. In fact, he ran out the clock. He lived until ninety, surprisingly happily.