He stood, poised at the edge of the bridge, looking down to the skaters below. Down there was the solution to all of his problems; the frozen surface of the canal that would take away all of his pain. The quiet nothing that he imagined as the after — after the brief moment of pain, after the confusion.
He stood, poised at the edge of the bridge, and sighed, and walked away. Away from the solution, and back to the place he called home. He followed his usual route home, through the Rideau Centre. He passed smiling people, grumpy people, harried people. Face after face, body after body, each one different, each one blending into the next, forming one big blur of humanity.
Past the stores, the never-ceasing consumerism, the smells of food in the hands of the people he passed, feeling coats and shopping bags brushing him as he rushed to be home on time, to his regular post-work day.
He burst through the doors on to Rideau Street, heading down Sussex to his little apartment on St. Patrick. He shared a two-bedroom apartment there with his wife and cat, Tom. Tom the tomcat, his little joke when they first adopted the skittish little tabby from the Humane Society. Tom never had any interest in straying, just like him, his wife would joke. She liked to tell friends that both of the males in her househole were neutered.
As he turned down St. Patrick, his thoughts were of the comfort that Tom would bring him. Tom would stay, content in his lap, for hours on end, making no demands on him aside from the occasional head or chin scratch.
He unlocked his front door, reaching out of habit to grab the flyers stuck between the doorjamb before they fell — the usual pizza flyers, ReMax ads and yet another brochure from the Scientologists. As he pushed the door open and stepped inside, he could hear his wife, like clockwork, scream his name —
And then there was pain, and confusion. In the midst of the confusion he heard screams, briefly, before he hit the frozen surface of the canal and it was silent. His only regret was for Tom… but at least the poison he had fed Tom that morning, as he was curled in his lap, purring, would ensure he would have company wherever he ended up.
First confusion, then pain, then nothing. Quiet nothing.