Chapter 1:

Killing Yourself To Live

Memento Vivere

I pushed against the stubborn door, its anguished creak echoing the weight of my existence. The keys, heavy with memories, landed on the countertop with a weary thud. My bed beckoned like a siren, its allure drawing me in, an inevitable magnetic force. With another creak, I descended into the embrace of my cheap apartment.

The room was silent.

Or at least it should have been. Countless, thousands of pings filled my head like buzzing flies. The sounds of bells, the calling of voices familiar yet distant. Opening my phone was like peering into a digital abyss, a handful of messages displaying a haunting familiarity.

“Where are you __?”

“You’re late!”

“Still not here, huh?”

“We’re waiting, you know…”

“It’s way more fun….”

Over here.

I resisted the urge to hurl my phone across the room. Instead, I tapped it against my weary forehead, releasing a sigh of resignation.

Ever since that day. Ever since that fateful day… these messages had been my relentless companions, pursuing me, taunting me, reminding me of a past forever lost.

Ever since that day.

The bed groaned beneath my weight as I slumped forward. The wall, like a fading memory, stared back at me, its lifeless gray tone a reflection of my own existence.

“It’s way more fun… huh?”

A bitter laugh escaped me. Fun? When was the last time I'd experienced that elusive emotion?

Right. Ever since that day. The day I lost my friends. The day everything turned grey. The day of a fatal accident.

Those very same friends, that kept texting me nonstop. Even more so now… after they died.

Another ping. Their messaging really was constant. They told me how much fun they were having. How much I was missing.

But I was still alive. And they were… dead. As dead as one could be.

Was death really that fun?

I smirked. It couldn’t be. Not while life was this shitty. Not while I was stuck here, going through the same dull motions every day.

I flipped the light switch off, and pulled the covers over my head. Another night where my dreams would provide solace from this sick game called life.

The following day brought the same monotonous routine. Gray and lifeless, it was a cycle of repetition where each day blended into the next.

Surrounded by gray, and dulled in white and black was the backdrop of a mundane view. The train station. The rush hour of a typical day; a sea of faceless commuters coming and going, but I remained anchored, a mere spectator. Waiting.

Waiting for what?

My thoughts, dulled by the relentless grind, flickered like a fading candle. I managed to make my way to the front of the crowd and stood at the platform's edge.

The same motions. The same things over and over. Was this really what life was about?

“I’m telling you, you’re missing out!”

What the hell does that even mean?

As the fervor of the incoming train rose, somebody nudged me slightly from behind. It wasn’t enough to endanger me, but I still leaned over nonetheless. As my gaze swept over the tracks however, I caught a glimpse of it.

Beyond the pebbles, beyond the cold steel. Beyond the ground and beyond the doom of the fall, a shiny vision shone through, reminiscent of the first rays of sunlight after rain. A glimmer of hope beneath the abyss.

There they were. “Hey, it’s been a while ___!” Almost as if a door was weaved into the tracks, my friends smiled back at me beyond the threshold, their faces glowing and their hair swaying to what seemed to be a gentle peaceful breeze. Behind them laid long green fields, bustling cities, endless oceans and party lights that beat like one colorful heart.

But…. They were dead. How could this be?

Was this what I have been missing out on?

The more I looked beyond the rails of the train down below, the more my eyes seemed to grow hazy. My perception of the world around me was muted. Shrouded in a deep fog.

“Come on!” They all smiled, beckoning me close.

I wanted to join them. More than anything. I wanted to see the colors lying beyond all that seemed as dry as dust . I wanted to live again. I wanted to live, even if it meant dying.

My grip on my backpack loosened, and my foot rose off the platform. Before I could venture out of solid ground and find my way into the world lying under, a firm hand clamped down on my shoulder, yanking me back from the abyss. I wanted to shake it off, to flee further from this bleak reality. Even closer to the world now lying in wait before me.

Yet the grip held, and the train came to a screeching halt.

I turned around, angry. “What are you—“

Before I could unleash my frustration on my "savior," a plain face, illuminated by the rush of the train, met my gaze. It was that of a simple young girl.

I wanted to scream, to blame her for thwarting my journey toward my friends, toward the life I craved. But before she could even open her mouth to say anything, within her glassy, black eyes laid another vision, a picture, a memory anew.

In her eyes, I saw my friends' funeral, the day color drained from my world, the day life lost its purpose.

Yet, adjacent to that vision, another unfolded. A single casket, mine, surrounded by a gathering of mourners. Darkness, endless pits of nothing but the void. There was no happiness. No parties. No fun to be had in a world like that.

I had long since heard in my life, that Thanatos, the god of death took the shape of someone you dearly loved. Or someone you could come to love. An enticing visage of a person to pull you in. The person of your dreams. But the face before me was not like that. It was plain, weathered. Simple and dull.

But it was also soft. Gentle. There were creases in her hands, and a smile as faded as a decaying, forgotten photograph.

There was something about the calluses in her palms that gave the impression she never stopped working. Even if she couldn’t enjoy the fruits of her labor. Even if her dreams never came true. She never stopped trying.

“I am Eros.” She whispered, her face not glowing or radiating any entice. But it was true. Genuine. “The goddess of life.”

Her eyes sparkled with a subtle glow, pulling me into a reel of memories. I remembered the same light in my sister's eyes when she helped me, the same glow in my mother's gaze when she spoke of family, the same radiance in my friends' faces when they reveled in joy.

That was when I realized; Life existed within us all. Life wasn’t as nearly as charming as death seemed to be. It wasn’t as beautiful or enticing. Yet it still held its authenticity, its unwavering sense of self. It didn’t sugarcoat anything.

Life wasn’t particularly fabulous. Nor was it colorful. It was hard. Mundane and austere. But if you looked closely you could see it.

The light behind her eyes. The hues of a rainbow in her gaze. The lightness of her firm grip. The tenderness of her callused hand.

Life was hard, and rough around the edges. But it was never meant to be easy. It was off-putting and unfair, but for those with the will to persevere despite it all, it was… Just. Authentic.

“You want to live don’t you?”

Suddenly within her eyes as she spoke, a picture sparked forth. A clearer one. A more raw, concise notion.


“You’re here!”

“Come on! What took you so long?”

There they laid, my friends, beaming at me so brightly it almost made me wince. A sigh, as if to expel the rotting from within me, and start anew, escaped from my lungs.

Like a bolt it finally dawned on me. Life wasn’t all that dull. I just wasn’t living.

I had reached them. Finally.

“Yes. I… want to live.”

Memento Vivere