by: Roger Gude
A glimpse into a somber future, where a man sacrifices all he has for the one he loves…
When Leon dies he is going to be sitting on top of a rock, perched on the edge of a cliff situated off the coast of Maine on a frigid, January day. The rim of the ocean will be covered white and Leon will be out there on that lonely rock at the turn of the hour, just past 6:00 p.m. on a Sunday night, sitting nude with his legs crossed. The beautiful ocean current will be thrashing like it does, and there will not be a single person on the beach for a distance farther than can be seen on either side of the momentous peninsula where his house stands. Leon will sit out there for most of the night dying and thinking of nothing but his sister Dom, who he is supposed to meet the next morning. She will be on her way to see him when he dies, or when he freezes into a giant, purple medicine ball, and she won’t be notified of his death until days later.
Leon is going to die. His house, which is red with grey shingles around the second story windows, will be left empty and abandoned and there will be an auction. His sister will have no use for his house and it will one day be destroyed and rebuilt by a couple who finds the location charming, but the house of no use. Before it is sold, and demolished, Dom will take in the home, think of her brother, and have a good cry over him. She will ultimately hire a man named Henry out of Portland, Maine. He will be overweight and fidgety and cloaked in an oversized grey suit. He will be polite and forty-six years old and he will make a profit. There will be a huge turnout when the house goes up for auction. The crowd will be of varying ages and of varying relation to the deceased. The house will stand as a wonderful ornament, like a giant red skull. It will show in the snowstorm.
Leon will take his life for a number of reasons. At church over the course of the following months, friends and neighbors will ask Dom about what he left behind, relentlessly seeking a clue to the big secret surrounding his death, until finally letting it go. A few times Dom will have to excuse herself and head home to cry, and it will be good for her. There will be many things ahead in her long life that will be difficult to experience but none of them will compare to losing her beloved brother. With her infirm, mournful hands, she’ll thumb the obituary that exhibits his picture from a family vacation to Wildwood, New Jersey. His face will be turned from the sun, and he will be wearing a polo shirt, tropically flavored swimming trunks, and an oblong grin. He will be twenty seven in the picture they use for the funeral, though he will take his own life a decade after it is taken.
Leon is going to die. He will have turned all of his problems over so many times in his head that nothing will be sweeter than the final embrace of death. He runs a butcher shop, and he loves the sterility of a good frozen filet, but joy had abandoned him long ago. His wife had left him and they never had any kids. There is a deeper reason for Leon to do this. He has life insurance. He has a family history that goes deep with Dom, and by taking his life he will ensure she is provided for will provide fo, It will all go to her. Dom will drive from her house on the other side of town when the news reaches her wondering why he killed himself. She will curse herself for becoming undone. She will ask the sky many times, then and now, why she is left with no one.
Leon is going to die and eventually Dom will move on and Leon will only exist on a bank account ledger and as a loose assemblage of memories. He will sit on top of that rock on the edge of that cliff and his lips will not quiver and his jaw will not clench and he will meet his fate. His full, frosty beard will blow in the wind as his skin is covered in ice and snow. He will peer out onto the endless expanse of the ocean and he will make peace with the cruel yet exquisite world. He will welcome the encroaching storm and relish in its wild clouds and the way nature seamlessly blends its power before him. And he will cry streaks of tears from his eyes for the beauty of the impending light which awaits him.