He laid on the floor in fetal position, cold steel wedged between his jaw, already tasting the lead soon to lodge itself in his brain. The smell of the smoke that would shortly stain his mouth as it smoked from the hand gun was fresh on his mind. He imagined his body laying in a pool of blood staining the carpet floor of his studio apartment. Their voices screamed in his head, breaking him down into the animal we all revert too when pushed to the gum. Sticks and bricks break a man’s bones, but words alone break a man’s spirit, whether they are said to him by another or if they are the words spoken by internal demons, concealed in the mind.
You’re a piece of shit, and he is twice the person you could ever be… she said before leaving him after he called her a whore for sleeping with a co-worker. And when she left that night leaving him a broken shell of a man, he knew she was right, as the demons whispered her echoes in his ears.
Men shouldn’t cry, he told himself, floods running down his cheeks. The room was filled with sobs that convulsed from his shaking body. They were brute and far from dignified, more like the wails of a wounded beast than the cry of a man. Snot ran down his lips and onto the barrel leaking its way into his mouth, mixing the taste of mucus with the hard liquor lingering on his tongue. He shook like a rabbit, each muscle shivering in succession. The man was cold, so cold, as if death began to run its frozen hands affectionately across his skin calling him home.
His thumb flipped the safety. His index tightened around the trigger. The sliver of metal seemed like the most fragile of things in that moment, the slightest movement could pull it back and send a twisting bullet through his skull. A mounted clock began to tick faster, his heart following each click. It was the moment he had dreamed of for years now, a strange mix of a nightmare and a fantasy, he would go out violently, but would never have to feel a shred of pain. His heart was ready to be lifted of the weight of living; his veins were ready for rest. But before he could squeeze he heard the crash of wood onto the floor, a hollow thump, startling his already frantic state. Pulling the barrel from his mouth for a moment he frantically looked around the room.
He saw it laying on its side, its smooth wooden body glowing with the sort of beauty that actresses can merely wish to emulate. The silver strings glistened despite the eerie yellow lighting of the apartment, its tobacco finish beckoned him near. Placing the gun gently on the floor, he got to his feet, nearly falling in the process. Making his way towards the acoustic guitar fallen from its perch, he stumbled more than he walked. On his knees in before it and began to cradle it like a fallen bird with a broken wing. His shaking fingers ran across its body feeling its wear, every crack, every dent, and every bit of smoothness in between retained from its beginning. Each scar in its wood was a memory… or a forgotten dream, reminding him of better days. He felt the warmth of rekindled flame.
The body pulled close to his chest, placed his numbed hand across the fretboard, and with a single strum he let out an eerie chord. Ghostly notes molded together filled the silent room. The guitar vibrated in his hands pulling him out of the hell of his mind. He began to play. Chords let out brought a sense of power, followed by single notes bringing a sense of a chaos, Apollo and Dionysius danced in unification. Then he began to sing. The voice that broke through the guitar was rough and weary, it was not a good voice, but it sung with pain and the strength of a storm, beautiful despite its unconventional nature. Each note he sung, came with fury of all the built-up emotion welled inside a broken heart; each word he spoke was tragic yet elegant; the nothingness he felt was made into substance. He sang with spite. He spoke with remorse. He screamed with every broken and jaded feeling in his veins.
With a crescendo, he stopped, and soaked in the somberness of the room. And then all thoughts of an early end left his body, filled with hopes and dreams of the child that once held such ambitions. If the world would forsake him, he would break the legs of the atlas that held it in space. If its every word spoken was that he would be nothing, he would live in spite, only to prove he was made of something.
The next few years he began to write without cease, every spare moment was with his rugged six string, which now was treated as a lover, and then he knew it was time. He began to play in broke down bars and in moldy venues, and each minute he spent on stage was a minute the audience could feel every emotion he had ever felt. His soul was put before the crowd, his skin was torn and his insides left exposed, all so they could see the breathing tragedy inside of him.
That fateful night he caught the spirit of emotion, and from the night on he the world could see that he had indeed captured the soul. He went on play in front of hundreds followed by thousands, and then his songs were distributed on millions of CDs, the small fragile discs containing the essence of a man’s heart. And in the end, it was all for spite; in the end, it was all to show the ones who never thought he would amount to anything he could rise above them.
Hell hath no fury, like the guile of a man with nothing left to lose, and the pain of unbecoming has the power to turn the meekest of men into the greatest of devils. After all the years of nothingness, the entirety of the world spread before him, ripe for the taking.