No title – Inspired by L’Etranger, Albert Camus

There I was, my feet curled around the windowsill, twitching as unpleasantly cold night air came to greet them. The window was three stories up, it was extremely long, rimmed in washed-away white wood. I had flung it open, shortly after settling the cream envelopes (I ran out of white ones) onto the large mahogany desk of my father’s office. My parents were away for their anniversary dinner. I’d told my mother she looked nice in her wrap-around red dress: it imitated the style of a sari, which made my father laugh. He was a bit racist at heart, and claimed my mother knew nothing about Indian culture but had allowed it to “contaminate” her style nonetheless. I laughed with him, for good measure. There were seven envelopes on the table, because it was a lucky number. I was not especially superstitious, at least I didn’t consider myself to be, but then again, maybe I was. There was one for Mother, one for Father, one for my violin teacher Mrs Prazi, one for Abel my boyfriend, Johnny my brother, Tilly my sister, and one for Octavia, a friend, if I can call her that. 

Each envelope had the same note. I know what you must be thinking: what a waste of paper. I only realised that after, I wasn’t thinking about it, and I told myself it was a detail. It still doesn’t seem right. Maybe I ought to go on with the description of what took place: people like to know about the preliminary phase before death, and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t reveal the contents of my suicide note. It isn’t as if I’m occupied with something else, like the violin. I could be, but I don’t feel like playing, and I don’t feel like doing anything other than undertaking the task of writing this account of the moments preceding my death. 

The note had my name and age typed in the right hand corner: Heather Farringdon, 17 years old. Underneath it read:

Hi all, I’m just leaving this note so you don’t worry, because I don’t see the point in wasting time questioning what really shouldn’t be questioned. I just wanted to say I’ve decided to kill myself. Actually, I’m not certain it was a decision, but it wasn’t impulsive and it wasn’t the result of a form of psychosis or a strange neurological disorder. I know most suicide notes would say something like “I love you all”, or “live your lives knowing I am watching over you” or even "it isn't your fault, something better awaits me" but I am not going to say that. Because it doesn’t change anything, my insignificance, or yours. If this note makes you question your own existence, it did not have that intention. It carries no intention except the unconscious application of procedure. It is not uncommon to leave a note before taking one’s own life, and I am not uncommon, so I have left a note for all the people I have had the most contact with. Many would protest that I will miss the opportunities, the experiences life has to offer, the things all of you have to offer. For Mother and Father that would be parental love, nice dinners, long conversations and herbal tea. For Abel it would be sex and social status. For Johnny and Tilly, the bonds of familial affection and obligation. For Mrs Prazi, the harnessing of a talent, the obscurity of music. For Octavia, the easy-going intimacy, the sense of being valued as an individual. I cannot say I haven’t felt and depended on these things, for I have not surpassed this human condition that inhabits us all, but I have become detached from them. By this I mean, I have overcome my individuality and allowed significance to fade. It’s fascinating to think that the word significant in itself holds no significance. Language is a tool we use to conceal and forget the absurdity, the undeniable absurdity of our human existence. Accepting this means nothing, other than escaping this existence. The only portal we have forged in order to do so is death, and I believe (it is hard to know for sure) that I have accepted the meaningless nature of all things and therefore I must die. It is satisfying, truly, to embrace a notion that communicates the loss of my biological existence. And since there is no such thing as spiritual existence, it communicates the loss of my existence altogether. If I must end on a human note, because I feel the irrationality of emotion is troubling me at this moment, I will say that it is physically painful for me to imagine abandoning sensation. As you are the craftsmen of my sensations, it is hard to imagine abandoning you.

My note was not concise, but I don’t understand or wish to understand what the obsession with being succinct is. It is of no importance. 


Alice Bellan