Just as I did last week, I went to this website for inspiration. I used the ‘Short Story Ideas’ section and it generated the following: A cinema is the location, loneliness is the theme; A telephone is an object that plays a part in the story.
Disclaimer: This post addresses suicide and may trigger feelings of hopelessness, empathy, or sadness. If you know that these things make you uncomfortable or emotional, please do not read any further. If you are reading this because you feel helpless or depression and are considering suicide – please visit this website for the love and support you deserve. If you prefer speaking to someone and hearing his or her voice, please call the suicide hotline @ 1 (800) 273-8255.
Kendal knows when he is about to get dumped because his girlfriends always cancel their plans to go see a movie the same night the two of them are supposed to go out. There was Mary who canceled because her mother wasn’t feeling well – she later posted duck face pics of herself at a party during the time they were supposed to be at the movies. After her was Alaina; she cancelled because she claimed to have started her period and having cramps. I would have believed her if she hadn’t actually been on her period the previous week. Each girl comes up with a different reason every single time – but this one with Kelsey. It just takes the cake, so to speak.
“I forgot the movie date was tonight. I am supposed to take my grandfather to the barber right now. There is no way I will make it.” Firstly, Kelsey and Kendal had just talked about the movies this morning. Secondly, she lives her with grandfather. Thirdly, her grandfather is bald. Lastly, even if he had hair, there’s a barber five minutes up the street from her house and she only lives ten more minutes away from the movie theater. There are at least one million different ways she could have made the movie date work in her schedule. Kendal let it go, though, because at some point Loneliness is a better girlfriend than most girls are to him.
He doesn’t know what it is about him, either, that makes him so easy to dump. Is it his sun bleached dreadlocks? Is it love of reggae and blues music? Maybe it’s the fact that he likes to doodle his girlfriends as cartoons with their favorite things on playing cards? Kendal tries his hardest to be thoughtful, respectful, and kind but somehow it always manages to push these ladies away. None of them really ever explain to him why they leave him. In fact, most of them don’t ever speak to him again after canceling plans. Kendal taps the screen of his phone to delete Kelsey from his contacts before the movie starts.
All around him are couples that get along fine, kissing and hold hands during a romantic comedy that the girl clearly wants to see more than the guy. Same-sex couples swooning over the lead male and female, each most likely discussing how attractive each of them are in character. There are some other folk in the theater that are alone but most of them are older. Moms watching a film to get away from the kids, dads who were running too late to catch their action film and are too bullheaded to walk in late. There are even a few senior citizens who came to see it probably just because it is Senior Day in the theater and all of the other movies aren’t appealing to their demographic.
Kendal doesn’t even pay attention to the film. Instead he remains huddled in the corner of the theater with his screen dimmed as low as it can go. At first he started on Facebook, scanning through his feed. Then he switched over to Twitter and found that he lost another follower. Probably because he never tweets anything…Somehow he comes across a quiz article: Are you lovable? These things show up online all of the time but he never clicks them. For whatever reason, though, this time it hits home. Nine girlfriends later and still no reason as to what is wrong with him as a romantic partner – yeah, Kendal wants to click it. Affirmation that he is, in fact, lovable is exactly what he needs.
As it turns out, though, he is “too nice” to be lovable. The results detail how his laid back impassioned expression makes it hard for partners to take him seriously. Kendal’s entire personality is chilled and flexible which gives off the impression that he doesn’t care enough. Devotion apparently doesn’t come in different packages? Kendal figures he may as well plan for a life alone.
Or just not live at all.
Kendal has never considered this before, this possibility of not living, but when it strikes it is a heavy truth. What if nobody ever likes the way he loves others. What if there simply is nobody out there for him? His family is great but he knows in his heart that he will want someone at his side as a partner, as a lover, as a wife. Everything is still, but in the same way it is not. The world freezes in place inside of Kendal’s mind as he starts searching suicide and how people do it.
Before he knows it, the movie is over and he has to get out. Getting up without much thought he doesn’t realize until he’s made it to his car that his phone isn’t in his pocket. It must have fallen from his hoodie when he was going down the stairs. Kendal sighs emptily and drags himself back inside to the concession stand. Before the cashier can offer him one of the combos he asks if there was a cell phone found in theater six. The lovely blonde woman radios out and asks if anyone in clean-up found a cell phone. A masculine voice replies that he can come pick it up at the theater entrance, and Kendal is allowed past the ushers.
Right outside theater six is a lanky young man. His hair is a sloppy mop of auburn hair and his clothes fit awkwardly. More importantly than that, though, the dude is checking out Kendal’s phone! As soon as Kendal walks up with his hand out the guy flips his hair out of his face to reveal piercings in his lip and eyebrows. Try as he might not to make any judgments, Kendal does feel a tiny bit uneasy. What if he says something hurtful? Kendal definitely doesn’t need to hear anything like that right now.
“Don’t do it, man. If you don’t mind waiting around for fifteen minutes we can grab some burgers to get your mind off whatever is bothering you.” It is for precisely this reason that Kendal tries to avoid judging other people. Surprises come in strange packages at times when people are least expecting them. Hearing this other guy say that he shouldn’t be thinking about suicide is refreshing. It calms him down enough to think more clearly. He just feels hopeless today, but it doesn’t mean he will feel hopeless forever.
After accepting the guys offer, Kendal waits in the lobby after reading his browsing history.
Please be reminded that depression and suicide are serious emotional issues that require medical attention. If you or a loved one are displaying signs of helplessness, hopelessness, or disinterest in things that you/he/she once loved – please seek assistance from a professional immediately. And keep this in mind – nearly all people who have jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge intending to commit suicide and have survived realize that whatever problems he or she had could be solved. Remind yourself, or the person you love, how special they are as often as you can because it can go a lot further than you think.
Thank you for reading today and may you have a wonderful weekend!