Okidata

I stood limply, my hand resting against the cabinet that housed our servers and router along with other cables and cords all mixed and matched to make a roadwork of electric veins running along the floor.

An ink cartridge shuttled across the green bar paper, leaving behind a trail of numbers, customer names, and totals. The tape running from one side of the printer to the other shifted rhythmically as the shuttle pulled along the black stream of ink.

It was soothing to stand there, my body still except for the faint movement involved with breathing. I was lucky that was an involuntary body function or I may have completely forgotten to breathe. In the room next to me I could hear his voice as he explained to her the details.

The service would be held after the weekend. His son was planning the details. So far the family knew as did most of the county due to the paper printing the whole fucking mess.

I closed my eyes and listened to the scuttle of the printer as it spit out the report for that morning’s receivings. Such a small detail in the much larger scheme of life; a few pages with black ink organized into rows of information to be read, recorded and filed away, never to be thought of again.

The side of the conversation I could hear had turned into monosyllabic sounds in response to the person on the other end. It made sense, there wasn’t really a lot to talk about when suicide is involved. Just the details of the where, when, how and with what can be really discussed. After that the conversation becomes a silence so deep your bones echo it back through your body as you wonder to yourself the last question: why?

But instead of asking out loud, you keep that one to yourself. You do it a little out of respect for the dead and more so for those still left behind to pick up the shattered pieces of a broken life. But you ponder this question in the silence that follows the news that someone you knew, maybe someone you loved, took their own life.

Why did they do it? Was their life so bad that they saw death as the only way out? Why would they do this to their family and children? Why did it have to end this way?

Why?

The Okidata printer stopped and the report flopped over the edge into the basket below, pooling into a folded stack of figures and data. I bent over to pick it up and slowly pursued the front page but could see only a blur of black in between green and white lines with perforated edges framing it.

None of it made sense. The numbers, the collected data, the reasons, the grief. It all swirled together into a cloudy mess of anger and worry and sorrow.

Why? Why would there always be one question left unanswered?

Why did it have to end this way?

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