The Life of...
Note: The following story was written at age 15. It's not great but I suppose it's pretty good for a 15 year old.
Note: I, uh... I probably should say, this childhood part isn't based on my life, even though I also had a friend Aaron. Though my father's always very calm, my mother wasn't so much an angry bitch like the mother portrayed in this story. Also I wasn't really bullied much in elementary school.
I am an 98 year old man with nothing left to live for... left
. Ok, I never really had anything to live for. This isn't the first time I've tried to kill myself. Last year I slit my wrists in a public bathroom. It probably wasn't the best place to do it, but it just happened to be the place I decided I was going to end it. I wanted to do it there so I wouldn't have any time to think about it. Well, I bled for about half an hour when somebody walked in on me and took me to the hospital, I was too weakened to protest... I never knew you could bleed so heavily for half an hour and not die, especially for an old man like me.
I also tried it five years ago. I jumped off a bridge into a river. They found me washed up two miles away suffering from severe hypothermia, they took me to the hospital again. God I hate that place, if this doesn't work maybe I'll burn the hospital down with me in it... Then where will they take me?
I'm probably going to be dangling here kicking my feet for quite awhile... You're probably thinking I'm a pretty cynical and depressed old man right now, and you're probably right. I wasn't always like this. I used to hold my head up high, I used to be very optimistic... Even though I never really had any reason to be.
In 1917 my father went off to fight in Europe. This is the first thing I remember, I would have been seven years old then. I loved my father, as far as I remember anyway. He taught me almost everything I know to this day. Everything important anyway. He would never yell at me, even when I did wrong he was very calm about it, he wouldn't let me go unpunished of course, but he didn't scare me like my mother did when he was angry. My mother yelled a lot, and she was always trying to find things to yell at me for, I really hated it when father left me alone with her.
I remember a man that would come over after my father had left. At first it was only about once or twice a week, but he eventually came to live with us. After a year of him living with us my mom would insist that I called him my father. I didn't hate him, but he would never be my father.
Whenever the mail came I was always waiting for it, I wanted to read letters from father. They were always for mother, but whenever I gave them to her she just ripped them without looking at them, so I had to keep them from her. He didn't always talk about things that I understood, and I couldn't read very well, but he had taught me how to read a little before he left. I just liked to remember that he was still out there I guess.
My real father came home one day, I didn't get to see him because I was in the back yard. I just wanted to see him again... Just one more time. He only came to get a suitcase that my mom already had packed for him, then he left. If only I had been inside... But my mother didn't even tell me he was coming. Then she yelled at me for saying I wanted to see him.
When I was eight my mother started sending me to school. It was ok. None of the kids really liked me, but I found my own fun. Usually just throwing rocks against the wall, but I was easily entertained back then... Still am today I suppose. I was bullied quite a bit, I tried to ignore them, but they would push me around. I don't know why, I wished they would just leave me alone.
When I was nine there was a kid who started to follow me around. He was eight, and his name was Aaron. He would talk to me sometimes, and I would talk to him sometimes. He was sort of like me I think, he didn't have any friends, and he saw me without any friends and put it together that we should be friends.
So we slowly became pretty close, by the time I was eleven and he was ten we were inseparable. Bullies would pick on me less now that I had a friend. But even still, nobody else really liked me. I was happy anyway, and so was Aaron.
1924, I was fourteen years old. I decided to run away from home to get away from my mother and her boyfriend. I hoped to find my father again. Aaron was an orphan who was adopted into a home that he didn't much like, he said he would join me. I was more than happy to have his company.
It wasn't as easy to find people in those days, but we looked in every hotel and apartment directory there was in the city, at no luck. Maybe he left the city, maybe he's going by another name, or maybe we just weren't looking hard enough. But whatever it was, we gave up. Between the two of us working we would be able to make more then enough for food and shelter, so we decided we would get an apartment together.
I got a job at a local factory, it was a business that produced machines that produced various other things, sometimes other machines used to produce other things. I was the janitor's assistant. Aaron got a job at the counter of a clothing store. He worked days and I worked nights... We hardly ever saw each other, but we got the room to our self during the week.
My boss didn't really like me much, as most people don't. But he liked how well I did my job, and when he retired the next year I got his. I had this job for four years, but Aaron could never seem to hold a job. He went from behind the counter at a clothing store, to behind the counter at a grocery store, to somebody who moves an unfinished product from one conveyor belt to another, to the guy who puts flyers under peoples doors, to a butcher's assistant, to just giving up and living off of the money I make.
1929, the company I worked for went under. Apparently the stock market crashed. I was nineteen and Aaron was eighteen. Without my job we had nothing left to support us, so we had to give up the apartment. I would have found another job, but it wasn't very easy.
But one day we both found the perfect job, sailors. We get food, shelter, and more money on top of it. It was risky, but we were desperate. There wasn't a whole lot of trade going on between countries, but there was an independent company that was looking for two brave men to sail the world in a cargo ship. The two brave men who used to fill the position were thrown overboard in a storm across the pacific. We decided to take the job.
They didn't ever tell us what the cargo really was, or what the purpose of the company even was. We were just told that if anybody ever asked, we were supposed to say exotic plants. It was a little strange... But that was fine.
The job took us all over the place, we got to see all corners of the world... Mostly South America, but it was nice. We had a few bad storms, but nothing too serious. Ok, well, there was one serious one, but that's not for awhile yet.
We did this for several years, and had lots of good times. But in 1941 we were sailing the Pacific and were boarded by Japanese soldiers, and taken to a POW camp... Even though we weren't American soldiers. Hell, I didn't even know what was going on. We had heard of the war, but we thought we were staying out of it. I guess that changed. Or they were taking prisoners from a country they aren't at war with... If only it were a government owned ship. Then maybe they would have tried harder to get us out of this trouble.
I spent my 32nd, and 33rd birthday in the camp before it was infiltrated and we were released. At which point we were assigned weapons and uniforms and sent back
into combat. I never explained the situation, because they might have seen it as avoiding draft. And to be honest I wasn't too sure how legal the company I was working for was.
I don't have as many war stories to tell as most people do, when it was time for combat I really just froze... curled into a ball, and pretty much just blacked out. Nobody noticed because of everything that was going on I think. We really only saw a few small skirmishes, and not very often would we have to fight, but often enough for Aaron to lose his legs.
When the war was over Aaron went home... I didn't see him for a long time. I continued to work on the boat, but for a different company this time. Turns out well we were gone everybody in the company was arrested, maybe it was a good thing we were captured.
Even though by 1946 I was 36 years old, the thought of settling down, getting married, having children, and getting a safer job just... Never crossed my mind. I was having too much fun with my current life.
I think I already said there was one big storm, and this was around the time it happened. We had just picked up cargo from Trondhiem, Norway five hours ago when a huge storm hit. We had no vision of anything, and the boat was getting tossed around quite considerably when we hit what was either an iceberg or a small island. Either way, all I remember is how cold it was, and how long I laid there until I dosed off. I woke up in a hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland. I don't know how we got so far off course... but... I was in Scotland. I was the sole survivor of the incident... I never knew how exactly they would have found me, but I didn't complain.
After the accident I moved back home, I figured I could get a job pretty easily then, and because of the storm I wouldn't be going back out to sea anymore... I thought about settling down now.
One day in 1947 I noticed my mother's name in the obituaries... Death always made me sad, even if it was the death of somebody I hated... Or somebody I hadn't seen since I was a teenager.
The idea of settling down at home seemed like a nice one at first, but after awhile I found it really boring... After living on the sea... life anywhere else just isn't exciting enough. I decided to leave... Maybe look for my father if he were still alive.
As I was growing up my father talked about quite a few nice places that he would want to live, they were all around the city. I went to all of them and couldn't find him, or a record of him ever being there. This was pretty disheartening. After about a year I gave up.
After that I decided to move to the mountains... I got a nice house that was very secluded... And pretty much just lived off the land. I suppose it was a bad idea to let myself be alone with my thoughts for so long... It slowly developed into pretty bad depression. I lived a very uneventful life there until I was 92. At that point it was the year 2002.
It's now the year 2008. I've been in and out of fits of depression ever since then.
I... I don't think this is going to work. I might as well just get down from here.
No matter how hard I try I just can't... die. Being as old as I am I should be able to kill myself just by falling down, but I... can't. I might as well give up and live my life until it decides to end itself... Whenever that may be.
Most people who live to be this old consider it a tragedy... All of their friends and family die before they do. The thing is, I don't really have any friends... The only one I've ever had is Aaron, and I haven't even seen him in several years. I haven't spoken to a member of my family in several decades. I don't know if that's better or worse for me... I still don't like it much.
My 115th birthday is around the corner. I haven't really had anybody to celebrate my birthday with in a long time... I really miss human companionship. I would try and make friends... but as I've said before people don't much like me... Maybe I don't talk enough. That, and I wouldn't want to live to see them die.
I wonder if I would ever live to be the oldest man on Earth... Having my name in the record books would certainly be special. Well, I suppose it's possible... Who knows what life has planned for me?
The years keep rolling on by, I've decided not to simply waste them... I don't want to go out and make any friends... I guess I have a fear of them dying before I do. Maybe I'll start a daycare or something, I don't think it would be possible for any child to die before me. Yeah, that's a good idea. Children are fun... Would anybody even want to leave their children with me, though? People usually don't much like me.
Well, today is my 116th birthday, and the day I've decided to finally start the daycare, I guess I'll just run it out of my house... I put in ad in the paper, and a few around the neighborhood. I don't really care too much about making money, I just want to have something to do.
People brought their kids, I was sort of surprised by it at first, people usually don't like me, I figured nobody would trust me with their children. I suppose they assumed I was too old to do any harm. Though being this old I'm surprised they thought I could handle them... You know, I'm surprised myself. But I handle children well.
Taking care of children like this is really helping my depression, I'm starting to remember how good I used to feel about life before, even though I didn't have anything to feel good about. It feels nice. Seeing their smiles, watching them play, it just makes me feel happy.
Over the years I have formed a few friendships with the parents of the children, and with a few of the children themselves. The only reason I didn't want to form any friendships before was in fear of my friends dying before I do, I didn't think I could handle that. Though even befriending the parents of the children isn't really risking anything. They're usually young, healthy people, still in their twenties or thirties... Sometimes even teenagers.
I've been doing this for three years now, and it's been very rewarding, of course theres bad moments, but it doesn't really bother me.
Despite being 119 years old... I still have my health. Has there ever been a 119 year old person that could still run? ...I doubt it... I wonder if I'll ever die... Have I discovered the secret to longevity? I don't think I really did anything different health-wise then anybody else has.
Lately a lot of people I don't know have been visiting me... People from various record books, news shows, etcetera... At 139, I guess I've broken the record.
I still run the daycare center, lots of kids have come and gone, grown up, and gone away... A few of the parents I had been friends with have died, one or two of the children even.... It's bothered me, but it hasn't yet deterred me. I suppose I couldn't avoid death, I just always thought I would come much sooner.
It was over 40 years ago I was going through my unsuccessful suicidal phase, I thought I was an old man then... 40 years is usually half of somebody's life... It's a long time.
Lately I've been having some splitting headaches... They're usually accompanied by a very loud buzzing, it sounds like an electric saw of some sort. I've been having trouble sleeping because of it... Pain killers don't seem to be doing the trick.
Could this possibly be the thing that finally does me in? Maybe I have a brain tumor... I haven't gone to a doctor about it, I'm thinking that this is how and when it's finally meant to end for me. I'll just let it do so, going to a doctor would just prolong it.
I had lunch with Aaron today, he's doing well.
Recently it's become almost unbearable, the buzzing has been getting worse, flashes of blinding light have started every once and awhile. I've given up the daycare because of it, I just cant handle it anymore.
I wish it would just finish me already, it's become to painful... And at times kind of confusing. I wish I could gather the energy to kill myself... Though that's never worked in the past.
The buzzing is becoming more... clear? It's less faded, and is starting to sound more like it's actually there.... I'm even seeing figures in the bright lights... And I've been getting the chills... sometimes it gets really serious... As if I don't die from this, I'll die from the coldness. If I do have a tumor, this is probably it taking over my senses... It shouldn't be too long now.
The figures I've been seeing in the light are forming a coherent shape... They look... Human. They sound human too. I hear their voices. Sometimes the buzzing will stop, and I'll hear them talking... I can never hear what they're talking about, but it couldn't really be anything... Also, I can no longer move any parts of my body.
I've been laying in my bed... or... somewhere anyway, I honestly cant remember where I was when it started to get like this, but I don't think I would have moved from that spot.
Sometimes the coldness stops, and a nice warmth comes over me... I can move my body a little more when this happens.
I've tried to put my mind back to normal, I've tried to reason with myself and bring me back to reality... But whenever I try that it always seems like I'm just dreaming it. Like my mind is more here then it is in reality... Has this become my reality? Am I dead? Is this death?
I can hear what the voices are trying to say now... I've heard things that sound like "Bring him up.", "Be careful", and even "I can't belive this is happening." ...What's going on?
I've been attached to something, it seems to be pulling me up... It's bringing me to the surface... What surface, though? I still don't quite get it... As I look to the sides I see ice... thick... It just keeps going.
They've brought me up... It's silence as I look around incoherently... I can't really move any parts of my body, and I'm having trouble forming complete thoughts... I tried to ask where I was, but it comes out more like "Wh- ....Mi?" I kept trying... Eventually, in all this shock, somebody understood what I was trying to say.
He responded with "We are just off the coast of Norway."