Smile, serve the customer, wish them a nice evening: the ritual he had to follow in order to get through the night without collapse. He wasn’t even sure why he was there, behind the counter, that night. He was really hoping someone was going to stop him, convince him to stay alive?
Bastian promised himself that if someone asked him how he was feeling, he wasn’t going to kill himself. But half an hour from the end of his shift, he realized it wasn’t going to happen. Actually, he knew the truth since the moment he left his house to get to work and the “how are you doing?” thing was kind of an excuse to partially put the blame of his decision on others.
No one cared about him, but he wasn’t angry about it: it was nobody’s fault. It was like he had been created to be a secondary character, without any reason to exist if not being on the background of others’ lives. Nothing was gonna change the fact that no one owed him that simple question: How are you?
He was feeling awful and he had no one to tell about it.
Getting back home was an empty, blurred trip. He barely remembered when he said bye to his co-workers and the moment he left the pub. He didn’t remember waiting for the bus, getting on it or purchasing a ticket. It wasn’t unusual for Bastian to forget pieces of his days. Somehow, he managed to arrive at the apartment building he lived in. He walked by the door and pretended he didn’t see the letters, probably bills to pay, roughly pushed in the mailbox.
He started crying in the elevator. Dying at his age, twenty-one, was sad, and it was sad that no one was going to miss him, aside Paulie. He would have stayed alive just for him.
His little dog welcomed him wagging his tail, as every night. After closing the apartment’s door behind himself, Bastian got down on the floor, caressing Paulie with a hand and wiping his own tears with the other. Paulie already looked less happy: he was an intelligent-enough dog to realise something was wrong with his friend. He was staring at him like he wanted to ask: “what’s happening?”.
“I’m so sorry”, Bastian whispered, with a sad smile on his face. “You have been a good friend, you know?”
He wasn’t going to leave any letter, but if his dog had been able to read, he would have written one just for him.
He closed himself in the bathroom a few minutes later. His trembling hands emptied two whole pill blisters next to the sink. Two pills fell on the ground and he didn’t find them anymore, but he kept the others in his fist – were they going to be enough?
He allowed himself to smoke a cigarette, sat on the toilet next to a little window, open enough to let the smoke leave the room. He tried quitting smoking for a few months, but now it wasn’t important anymore. He deserved that last one.
He smoked half cigarette and put it out in the sink. He opened his hand, looking at the small white pills. Sobbing and crying, he swallowed the pills little by little. They were too many for a single try.
Pretending he couldn’t hear his dog scratching the door was the most painful part.