[Sustentation] Chapter 9 - Kareem - The Noose


Wesley hasn’t avoided me for the last week or so. He’s been more aggressive, but conflicted about something. He’ll join me for a movie, but get up half way through or only watch for the ending. He’s not going to church or class every day. On occasion, I can hear him arguing with himself. Just going back and forth with himself over some guy. I’ve started to wonder if it was my fault, if I broke him. The whole vampire thing, and the dead body. I haven’t exactly eased him into my life. Sometimes father will say that I’m strong and can’t force others to be bred and raised the same way I was. I can’t expect others to make the same choices and react the same way I do. He’s not reacting well to what I’ve done, or maybe he was always like this. I didn’t pay much attention to him before he saw the body and started trying to kill me. No, he wasn’t like this. I broke him, ruined him like everything else. Nothing I can do now but wait. He’ll either kill himself, someone else or I’ll kill him in self-defense. It might be easier to just, do it myself. No, he talks to his family all the time, they’ll be worried if he suddenly vanishes. I have to remember to ask the next roommate about family ties.

I’m thinking about this too much, a movie should take my mind off it all. Casino is an underrated classic. People go so far as calling it a copy of Goodfellas or saying it can’t compare to Mean Streets but it has a charm that belongs to nothing else. It doesn’t just tell a story, but focuses on the history of the characters as the city. It has similarities to Goodfellas but it’s more evolved, and refined. It’s a beautiful film.

But I can’t seem to enjoy it right now since Wesley is arguing with himself again. Odd, because it’s 3am and he should be asleep by now, even crazy people have to tire themselves out sometime. But it sounds like it’s coming from outside, the neighbors won’t like that. I better go get him inside. Do I need to bring a blanket? I always see firefighters and paramedics give out blankets. He’ll be fine without one.

He’s easy to spot, right outside the kitchen window in nothing but his underwear. I always laugh when there’s a grown man wearing tighty whities in a film. I don’t know why; they just seem like something you stop wearing when you stop being a kid. Wesley keeps yelling at himself, name calling mostly as he struggles with a rope. I’m not sure what he’s doing until he holds the end up. Tying a noose, or trying. He pulls at it with his hands, testing it, until it easily comes apart. Soon he’s trying again. Wes this, Wesley that the argument continues. He’s trying to kill himself, and he’s going to be sloppy about it too. I can just let him do it. That’ll solve my problem. He just looks so pathetic, trying to tie a noose the same way over and over again, just to get the same results. He’s got all the enthusiasm of someone who never really tried to kill themselves. A black man trying to hang himself, he’s not even thinking about this. There’re easier ways to do it than a janky noose. Gunshot to the heart, slitting your wrist, jumping off a tall building. He doesn’t seem to care for pain so a cocktail of random pills, intentional drug overdose. I’ve tried it all but he’s not a vampire, so he should be just fine. If fine means he’ll be dead.

After thirty minutes of watching, he finally gives up on the noose and ties the rope around his neck before making a knot that satisfies him. He spends the next fifteen minutes clawing at the tree, slipping down over and over again as he tries to make it to the top. He should have tied the rope once he got in the tree and made sure he knew how to climb a tree. Another fifteen minutes passes with him sitting in the dirt, arguing with himself about why the tree was a bad idea. Wesley hops to his feet and rushes over to the shed, tossing objects around, still dragging the rope behind him. I’m hoping he chooses something messy, like a nail gun, or chainsaw. In the end, he settles on a ladder. He tests the length and easily ties it to a tree branch.

I’m forced to watch as he struggles, kicking his legs in the air. The goal of hanging is to snap the neck, not a slow and painful death, he’ll pop his head off like this. I’m reminded of a puppy I had named Micro. It was right after the whole vampirism thing kicked in. I had bitten a stray cat, because I was thirsty and didn’t know why, but my body told me if I bit the cat, I’d be satisfied and I was. When she found it, she beat me. I was so used to the beatings at that point that I didn’t care. One day, while I was on my way to school, she took Micro and tied his leash to a radiator, then tossed him out the window. I watched as he tried to bark and break free. By the time broke down the front door and made it upstairs, he was already dead. I didn’t go to school that day or anymore after that.

I can see blood starting to cover his neck as Wesley claws at the rope. He really did choose a terrible way to die. He hasn’t looked in this direction the entire time I’ve been watching, but now it feels like he’s staring right at me. Asking for help, but can’t get the words out. I wonder if Micro knew I was trying to save him. I hope he didn’t spend his last moments thinking I had abandoned him. Maybe it’s a good thing Micro died. His life wasn’t ruined by knowing me anymore. I haven’t thought about Micro in years. Maybe Wesley isn’t the only person going insane.  I can’t do it, I can’t let him die even if it would solve my own problems. Why can’t I let him die? I never cared about anyone dying before, I killed people. Fuck.

I don’t rush out the back door, and I’m not in a hurry to get to him either. I’m still conflicted over the whole thing. As I get closer, I’m watching him jerk and kick towards me. I don’t know if he wants my help because he’s afraid to die or if he’s trying to keep me away from him. He’s running out of energy; he won’t die soon but he’ll pass out. I step back when he kicks me in the head, watching, waiting. I don’t know why. I’m reminded of the scene in The Green Mile when everyone just watched as they knew an innocent man was being executed. The Green Mile, that’s so basic, is that all I can think of? Wesley’s fighting less, more swinging and trying to keep the rope from closing on his neck than anything else. Occasionally he kicks out. I can’t help but laugh when I realize he’s trying to get back on the ladder. I suppose he does want to live. I climb the ladder, and place my hand between the noose and his scratched bloody neck. One quick yank and the rope is broken, there’s a thud as Wesley hits the ground. He’s knocked out, but still breathing. I nudge him a few times with my foot but he doesn’t wake up.

I lift him up into my arms and carry him inside, for a moment I think about dropping him on the couch but he’s dirty, sweaty and smells bad. I watch movies on that couch. Instead, I carry him up the stairs to his bedroom. He keeps whispering about angels saving him. Delusions of a mad man, there are no angels in this house, only devils. As I place him on the bed, he strokes my cheek repeatedly despite me pulling away.

“Stop touching me, I don’t like to be touched,” I smack his barely awake hand away from my face.

Looking at him now, he’s pitiful looking. I should have left him there to die and saved both of us some time. If he hadn’t kept fighting, and just gave in this could all be done by now. Maybe my mother did Micro a favor when she made sure he wouldn’t need to keep living in this world. I could have done that same favor for Wesley.

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