I Chose the Fifth

“I chose the fifth because it was my least favorite number. I didn’t see the point in ruining a perfectly good numbered day.”

It was 7:48pm on November 4, 2018 when I wrote those words. It was a revision of something I’d written the week before; lines I hadn’t been satisfied with. I saved them anyway. I’d like to believe there’s always room for improvement.

But why’d I write it? I don’t know. Did I really plan to end my life on the fifth of January? Or was it a piece of fiction? Again, I don’t know. Words and stories and thoughts flow through me like a river without a dam. I have thousands of notes in my phone and, on average, I fill a journal every three months. I don’t always know where the words will land, but maybe I wrote those for this.

As the story goes, the one of my life, I didn’t kill myself on January 5, 2019. Instead, I took a trip down to Laguna Beach with my mom. She’d flown out from Buffalo just days earlier to be with me. Lord knows I needed her.

The sky was a hazy grey that day in Southern California, but the approaching downpour held off until I took the Laurel Canyon exit off the 101. Even the weather, it seemed, mirrored the timing of my life; if only in reverse. First the storm, and then, well, we’ll see.

Mom in Laguna Beach, CA. January 5, 2019.

“It’s an awful thing, to plan your own death.” – November 16, 2018, 6:20pm.

Those words are more clear to me, which makes them far more personal.

I’d gotten out of the hospital just the day before that trip to Laguna Beach. And even if my words about choosing the fifth meant nothing, the reason I’d been there most certainly didn’t, and like the words about planning your own death, it’s far more personal than a number on a calendar.

Over the past year, I haven’t wondered what would’ve happened had I not been involuntarily admitted to the hospital’s Behavioral Health Unit. I haven’t because I already know that the chances I’d still be here to tell this story are slim. It’s a story that’s not fully mine to tell, nor will I ever tell it fully. But the narrative of my life, of who I am, had been so twisted and mangled and I’m choosing now to take it back; piece by piece.

Five and a half years ago, I fell in love. It’s one of those life events that we all dream of. Who are they? What will they look like? Will it feel like magic? Everything will be perfect.

I shake my head now. Everything was far from perfect. My life turned upside down and I turned inside out. It’s funny how the one who makes us feel the most love, is also the one who stirs up the most pain.

The problem was, I focused too much on the pain. And nobody, not even the one you love most, can take it away. That, I’ve learned, is an inside job.

Over the past five and a half years, I’ve learned a lot from that beautiful redhead I fell in love with. But what I’ve learned most since life blew up in our faces is that nothing else really matters. Love is it. Even if it turns you inside out, maybe especially if it turns you inside out.

But I suppose when it comes down to it, life is nothing but a game, and we are all just toys of the sun.

Of course, maybe, just maybe, we are a piece of the sun.


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