He bought some helium balloons and wrote on them with a large felt marker: “do not resuscitate.” He tied them to his wrist and climbed the six flights of stairs to the top of his building. When he forced open the door to the roof it triggered an alarm. He didn’t need a lot of time. A few steps and the parking lot below.
His message wasn’t necessary. When they found him his head didn’t resemble much of anything we would recognize as a head. It was broken and shattered and leaking lots of things. More than you might imagine, unless you’ve seen that sort of thing before. The balloons were still attached to him. They were floating straight above him. There wasn’t any wind.
When he stepped off the edge, I wonder if he wanted to just hold onto those balloons and float away. I guess
in a way
(And I took the balloons – I took them home with me. I think he’s still there, inside of them. At night I hear them scream with a voice that seems to be rising from underwater: “Do not resuscitate! Do not resuscitate! Do not resuscitate!” I hold them in bed beside me and I whisper to them, “It’s okay. I’m here. It’ll get better, I promise.” As the balloons shrivel the voice gets fainter and now they are deflated I carry them with me in my wallet. I take him places and tell him what I see. At night I still whisper to them, “It’s okay. I’m here. It’ll get better, I promise.” Sometimes I hold them to my ear and I think I can hear the faintest, dried-out whisper, “Please… please… please…”. I will never puncture them. I will love him forever. He’s my friend. I’ll make him better. I promise.)