J O R G E C A S U S O
The drawings of an unknown artist save those trying to take their lives.
It all began where I thought it would end. I was evicted and out of work and they had already come and taken everything away, everything except the mattress I was sleeping on and a few useless possessions, among them the eight-inch carving knife waiting in the kitchen drawer. I had left it there not for this particular purpose but for a reason I couldn't quite grasp when I cleared out all the drawers.
I calmly walked through the empty house to the kitchen, opened the top drawer and took out the knife. Then, not caring I was half-dressed, I stepped into the patio and walked through what had once been my backyard towards the boat -- a vessel I always thought would rescue me when everything else was gone.
I felt calmer now that the decision was made. I could hear the insects clicking and chirping and the sound of the boats' wakes out on the river. Like the sounds, everything around me was clearer and brighter now -- the walls of my former house, the budding mango tree, the row of palms along the chain-link fence and, beyond it, the large white boat.
I opened the gate, which I now left unlocked, and walked onto the dock. I was barefoot, and the wooden planks felt rough under my feet. The sound of the river, louder now, was strangely soothing, like the breeze brushing against my bare chest.
Slowly, with no emotion, I put the blade to my belly. I was surprised by how tough the flesh felt. It would require a hard thrust and I recalled once reading that a real man chooses a knife or a gun, but poison or leaping to one's death was the path for cowards and women. You must use your own hands.
Staring out into the water, I lifted the blade to my throat, thinking that would make things easier. Of course, it did not. I tried closing my eyes. "Cut your throat," I heard a voice say. "Cut your throat. Now!" The blade softly scrapped against my skin, and I began shaking and sweating. That's when I heard the other voice.
This time, it was a woman's voice, and at once I knew that it belonged to the guardian angel I had seen in a drawing the previous week during the monthly art walk I attended in the hope of clearing my mind. The angel had brilliant unfurled wings, and it followed a small stooped figure walking towards a cliff. It's difficult to explain, but for a moment, I felt that I was that lonely figure, and I could feel the bright yellow glow emanating from the angel warm against my back. I closed my eyes and let the brilliant light engulf me.
Dropping the knife, I slowly opened my eyes. Everything was winding down now. I didn't know how long I had stood there or how long it took me to get back into the house, all I knew was that I had heard that voice, and that now it was telling me to rest. I lay on the bed and fell asleep, and for two days I slept.
When I finally awoke, there was only one thing on my mind. I needed to track down that drawing.
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