He had given up. Finally. He had tried to start anew after Frances had left him, because he wouldn’t and couldn’t become her new pet prodigy. Danny had tried to turn back to the life he once knew so well. An odd job, not for the money. Scottie had made a carefree life possible for him. No, he needed something to keep him occupied. Something non committal. Drifting through bars and clubs. Searching for something, someone, anything, anyone. But whenever another man tried to contact him, turn towards him, Danny shied away, excused himself and all but fled.
Now, he was sitting in the darkest corner of the bar, watching, observing. The loving couples kissing and chatting the night away. The two men leaving the dance floor at the same time, walking conspicuously towards the loo, returning dishevelled and one of them grinning smugly a mere twenty minutes later. Danny could lose himself for a few hours in the bustle around him. Not by partaking. Forever left outside, forever the observer.
With a shrug Danny took another sip from his drink. He looked up, just in time to meet a pair of cold blue eyes, watching him. Danny swallowed. It had been a long time since he had been scrutinised intently by such an attractive man. Danny blinked, before lowering his head. It should have been frightening. It was not. Danny emptied his drink, didn’t look up, didn’t lift his eyes from the floor when he walked outside. Once more, one last time, he went to the bridge. As he had done a year ago. As he had done two years ago. Back then, distressed, lonely and sad. Now, empty. Danny wasn’t nervous. He looked out on the river, then turned in an imitation of his moves from two years ago. But no man came running to his rescue. The dawning light only revealed empty streets and places. Danny shivered. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
Today. Today Daniel Edward Holt would end his life.
An almost smile played on his lips. He stood, tall and straight. Steady, determinate steps took him away from the bridge. He found Scottie’s car, where he had parked it last evening, and made his way back to Scottie’s house. When he stopped in front of the garage, he turned the key immediately. He did not leave the car. Like he had done every morning for the past two weeks, Danny contemplated the garage in front of the car. How easy it would be. Open the garage, park the car inside, close the garage. Sit back into the car and turn it on. How long would it take before he would be unconscious? Before he was dead? He shook his head. No. Not this way.
He left the car and opened the door into the house without heeding the dark shadow that seemed to linger behind one of the trees.
A few minutes later, Danny came out of the house, carrying a small envelope and a bag. He went back into the car and drove away one last time.
Finding the unpaved road and climbing the fence was as easy as ever. Danny tried and failed to imagine walking side by side with Alex. The memories were as vivid and clear as if it had happened yesterday. But the emptiness inside him couldn’t be filled with images from a long gone past. Not even his anger, his frustration, his grief could fill the void any longer.
He had walked along the beach to the very spot where they had been drinking a cup of tea from a thermos. So domestic, adult, mature. So very much missed by now. Danny took off his shoes and socks. Put everything neatly together, including the bag and letter. One last look along the beach on both sides. No other living being was in sight. Once more Danny straightened his back and turned towards the water. It was cold, but he didn’t mind. Step by step, one foot in front of the other, Danny went in. His clothes soaked up the water, became heavy, clinging to his slim body. Randomly he thought about his last meal. Two days ago. Just a bit of toast and beans. Since then nothing but tea, water and the one drink at the bar. The water reached up to his neck and he started to swim to avoid the small waves hitting him in the face. And then he was dragged down by the weight of his clothes, the emptiness in his heart. He wondered if everything was going according to plan or if he rather hoped for some kind of cock up.
He wouldn’t have to wonder for long.