By Keegan Crawford

(Illustrated by Emily Horn)

____ wakes up. Things are white and soft blue. His vision is hazy. He has tourniquets on his wrists. He tried to kill himself the previous night, but he was found in the bathtub while he was bleeding out. ____
still wants to die. He has realized the absurdity and pain of living. Death is more comforting than life will
be. Anything is possible in death. Why live? ____ looked to the right to see an IV stand with a saline bag attached, liquid being channeled into his veins. He squeezed the line with his index finger and thumb.
He became dizzy. He had bled out a lot and was now weak. He let his arm rest down and looked at the
ceiling. Fluorescent lights. White ceiling. White walls. Pale blue sheets. The room ached and sat still
while medical machinery chirped. Hearts were beating. A doctor came up to ____. ____ couldn’t see his face clearly; he was still groggy with medicine and light headed from the lack of blood.

“You were here yesterday”, doctor.

The sky was grey outside. Nothing cast a shadow. The blinds of ____’s window were open. A few
raindrops hit the window, but it didn’t continue to rain. It was comforting.

“Can you stand up alright?”, nurse.

“Yeah, I’m fine”, ____.

“You can take those off in two days”, doctor. “I don’t want to have to put them on again.

____ looked at the door.

“____”, doctor.

____ looked at him.

“Please be careful with yourself”, doctor.

The sky was still grey and ____ felt an occasional raindrop snap on his pale face. ____ walked to a bus
stop. There was a man sitting on the bench reading a book. The book was checked out from a library
and had a dirty plastic cover around it. He was about half way through the book. ____ stood there and
the man sat there, five minutes passed before the bus came. ____ got on and fed his card into the ticket
machine. The card slid back out and ____ sat down without looking at anyone. The man was still sitting
on the bench, reading his book.

____ got off the bus after riding it for fifteen minutes. He walked on the sidewalk toward a coffee
shop he went to often. He cut across the parking lot and walked inside. The coffee shop’s insides
were painted a reddish brown. Three people were working there. One worker was Italian and was
forty-five years old. He always wore a black shirt. Everyone else had to wear a red shirt. The second
person working was wearing a red shirt and his hair was slicked back. He had tattoos of pin-up girls and
Halloween imagery all over his arms. He had a tattoo of a tiger’s head on left side of his neck. The third
worker had glasses and was skinnier. His hair was messy and blonde. His facial features were defined. He
looked intelligent.

____ ordered a small chai tea with soy milk. It cost $2.19. It took one minute and two seconds to
prepare. ____ sat down at a small table near the counter. A man was sitting at a table by the window
and was looking at some kind of blueprint or schematic. There were six tubes next to him, presumably
containing more blueprints. He took a drink of hot tea. He rested his finger in the crevice of his lips in
speculation. He scoffed. He tossed the rest of the tea down his throat and gathered his blueprints. He
walked toward the door. He used his back to push the door open. ____ was watching the entire time. He
wondered what kind of tea the man had been drinking.

____ walked home which took fifteen minutes. He flashed his wallet which held a card key toward the
sensor to open the doors to the apartment building. ____ walked up two flights of stairs and down to
the end of the first hallway. The window was open and there was a breeze blowing in. ____ got out his
keys and opened the door. He passed by the bathroom as he walked in. The hair on top of the drain was
still stained red from his blood. He walked over to the couch and closed his eyes as he sat down.

The black of the backs of his eyelids gave him a comforting feeling.


keegan crawford lives in portland, oregon