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Wait For It – The Awl

byMike?

Riggs

Ihaveknownsomeimpatientpeopleovertheyearswhocouldn’twaitfortheendofthe?

world。

Sotheykilledthemselves。

Ericandhismomlivedinaone-roomrentalwithacarportandnofence。

EricandmylittlebrotherandIallwenttoschooltogether。

MybrothersaidpeopleusedtomakefunofEricbecausehedidn’twearcleanclothes。

HealsosaidEriclikedtopickonotherkids。

FromwhatIremember,Ericalwayshadasmudgeofdirtonhisface,asifhedroppedfromthewombandlandedindirt,andthedirtstucklikeawhite-trashbirthmark。

MaybethatiswhyEricwassuchan?

asshole。

Afterworkoneday,Eric’smomfoundhimhangingfromatreeintheirbackyard。

Theytoldmybrother’sclassthatErichadbeentryingtoretrievehispetsquirrel。

Accordingtotheofficialstory,thepetsquirrelescapedintothebackyardandupatree,andEricwastryingtocatchhim。

Witharope。

Thatgottangledaroundhis?

neck。

WhenmybrothertoldmeaboutEric,hetoldmehebelievedEricwastryingtocatchthatsquirrel。

Ididn’tsayanything,somybrothersaiditagain。

Mybrotherwas12。

Ericwasthesameage。

Iwas14。

WelivedablockawayfromEricinaHUDhouse。

Kidslikeusweren’tgoodatmath,butweknewyoucouldn’tcatchasquirrelwitha?

rope。

Nineyearsago,noonetalkedabouttheMayancalendar。

Noonethoughttoask,“Whydidn’tEricwaitfortheendoftheworld?

It’sjustaroundthe?

corner。



OnmybookcaseisatranslucentstoneashtraymygirlfriendandIgotthisyear。

Etchedlinesfillthedish,buttheimageishardtomakeoutuntilyoustartdepositingyourashes。

Thatiswhentheetchedlinesfillupwithblackandgray。

Afterasmokeortwo,youcanmakeoutafaceandsomehieroglyphics。

Afterawholepack,youarelookingdownattheMayancalendar。

It’sliketheashtrayissaying,“Iwillkillyoubeforethatcigarettedoes。



Whenpeoplewanttogo,theygo。

Sometimestheytellyou,andsometimestheygiveyoutimetodosomething,butifyoucan’tgivethemareasontostay,thentheyputontheirgamefacesandthey?

go。

ScottandIwereinthesamefraternity。

Weliveddownthehallfromeachother。

Weworkedouttogether。

Scotttoldmehedidn’tbelieveinshrinksorquacksordrugs。

Scotttoldmehewantedtogetapictureofabombtattooedoverhisribsbecausehefeltlikehemightexplodeany?

minute。

Scottsentusallanemailthedayhekilled?

himself。

“Guys,forgetaboutme。

Love?

Scotty。



WefoundScottlockedinhisroom,crying,terrifiedof?

himself。

WegotScotthelp。

Campuscops,campusshrink,afewhoursstayinahospital。

ButScottdidn’tbelieveinshrinks。

Scottescapedthehospital。

ScottfetchedthehandgunhisfathergavehimforChristmas。

Scotthidinthemusicbuilding,whereheprobablyplayedhisfavoriteEminemsongoverandoveragain,justlikehedidatourfraternityhouse。

OneofusfoundScottinthemusicbuildingandbroughthim?

outside。

Copsshowedupintheparkinglot。

TheywantedtotakeScottbacktothehospital。

Scottdidn’tbelieveinhospitals。

Thecopsdidn’tcare。

SoScottshot?

himself。

Inthe1987movieLethalWeapon,MelGibson’scharacterMartinRiggsforcesasuicidalpersonoffabuildingledge。

Riggsknowsthatthemanwantstogo,andthatpeoplewhoreallywanttogoaregoodatfindingwaystogo,sohegrabstheman,andhejumps。

Together,theyfallandfallandfalluntiltheylandsafelyonabigcushionprovidedbythefiredepartment。

IimagineJanuary1,2012tobeabigcushionforpeoplewhoareimpatienttoleavethislife。

Itwouldmarktheendoftheirdescent,butthereatthebottomwouldbeallthepeopletheylovedandwholovedthem,finishingtheirownjourneys。

ButonmybookshelfisakitschyashtrayandaJohnCusackmovie,whichsaystomethatwedonotbelievethattheendtimesareupon?

us。

Whichmeansnooneevercouldhavesaidtothe?

boys:

“We’llgetyouanewsquirrel。

Youcangetatattoo。

Justhangintherealittlewhile?

longer。



Thingsmayhavegottenbetterintheinterim,ormaybeworse,buttherewouldhavebeenagoalinsight。

Waitingwouldhavemeanttheycould’vesplitthisrockalongsidethepeopletheyloved,andwholovedthem。

Somedayswouldhavefeltinterminable;otherdayswould’vefeltlikeotherdays。

Noonewouldhavehadtogoitalone,inthislifeorthe?

next。

Thenagain,neitheroftheboyswereparticularlypatient。

Iworklonghoursintheninthstoryofanuglyofficebuilding。

Theaveragestoryis12。

5feet。

FrommyofficetotheasphaltonLSt。

NWindowntownWashington,D。

C。

isprobably112。

5feet。

Theysayifyoufallforlongenough,youpassoutbeforeyouhittheEarth。

Thisisn’tsomethingIthinkaboutoften,butIthinkaboutitsometimes。

IthinkIamgoingtowaitit?

out。

2012isjustaroundthecorner,andthingsmaygetbetterbefore?

then。

Also:mywindowsdon’t?

open。

MikeRiggsworksandlivesinWashington,D。

C。

Photobyelmindreda,from?