That summer he fell in love for the third time, by his own count, and this time it was to be the last. The feel of final love was like grass. Like plain green grass that sat on lawns and needed mowing. It was well regulated and even and never struck him to be portentous in any way whatsoever that he could notice. The penultimate love was something of the same, carrying with it not a hint of what was to come. But he had fallen in love for a third and final time and attended to the duties involved therein with the same motions he had learned from the previous two. Where to place the hands. How to cut with the knife and fork. The thing to say to the mother. Not so much the father, to whom there was never anything really to say that wasn't an apology.
They went to the movies and didn't talk about them afterward, which left him feeling scandalized, that the transition from silent darkness into pavement daylight didn't jostle opinion. She would not participate in his rites in this way. She would grapple with his hands in public, wrenching them away from each other, holding them firmly and sometimes tugging him to follow like a boy in mittens.
When it ended, the only answer was to be dead from it all, as this was his last love and now he knew it all along.
Given to overstatement, he threatened to drink himself into a coma, as if he even knew what that meant or would entail, what kind of slow organ-death that would require. Little things burst bit by bit, spring leaks that empty into the various pits and pails of the main-guts before seeping out into the glommy passageways and getting pushed back into the dense meats until they stopped squishing and contracting. The kind of real damage that can only result from something as misguided as tough self-love.
These are the reasons he didn't kill himself: The mockery to follow. The glib way he talked about dead acquaintances and their contributions to the culture, his culture, his immediate world. The thought that it might be met with indifference, derision, photoshopped pictures of himself with dick in hand, in mouth or worse, no one there to object or delete them. It was only the thought of more shame that pushed him forward, ever. Pressed on by the promise of paranoia, by the thought of suicide at all. It breathed a kind of surreal glow into the otherwise unremarkable life of a stranger, not so strange, but just alive as everyone else. Just as odd awake and unsure of the measurements of sleep.