Week 1 - The End
I always wondered how things would end. Now I know.
It wasn’t quite what I expected, but by now I suppose I should have expected that. Nothing really goes according to plan. You always start with a plan, and you bring all your gear, even a friend, make backup plans, double backup plans*, do everything right, but in the end the rope still snaps and you still fall and now you’re broken and it’s the end.
*ok maybe we didn’t do this, or even the single backup plans, but you get the gist of it
At least now you know. Sometimes a shitty certainty is still better than a shitty uncertainty.
Hope was nice while it lasted. We shouted until we couldn’t shout, until our voices were as broken as the rest of our bodies. No one would be finding us here. We had each other, but a dying person isn’t much help to another dying person.
And now I don’t even have a dying person next to me. Just a dead one. Jake died a few hours ago. That’s when I knew it was coming for me too. Before then, we both still thought there was a chance. But reality always gets you in the end. So now it’s just time to write.
It was water that got us in the end - or our not getting it, at least. Such a small thing. So abundant and superfluous and an afterthought when you have it. So all encompassingly great when you don’t.
No one ever thinks they’re going to die of water. I always thought I was going to die of cancer or something. That seems like the way everyone goes these days. Eventually, you body just goes “You know what? I’m sick of this shit and your disappointment of a life. Fuck you.” and leaves you to die. No one dies of external forces anymore. Do they?
I guess I’m going to be one of those cautionary tales mothers tell their kids. “Don’t play too far out in the forest, Johnny, or you’ll fall and break everything and then die of thirst like that one idiot did. You don’t want to be an idiot, do you?”
I guess I should be glad I can still write. Of all the things I could have right now, I have this pen and a notebook. Great. But then again, maybe this is the best prophylactic gear. After all, everyone dies. I would have gone sooner or later. These words might just live forever. Hey - if you find these words, mind carving them in stone and shooting them out into space or something? Thanks. Not to guilt trip you or anything, but please consider this a dying man’s last request. Oh, and tell my mom I love her.
Mom, I love you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t get to spend more time with you. I always worried I wouldn’t have enough of it to spend with you before you had to go. I never thought it’d be the other way around.
I love you so much. Thank you for everything. I’ll never be able to tell you just how much everything you did for me meant to me, and I wish so much I had more time to spend with you to show you that. Please be okay. Please be happy. I’m not sad at all - I’m just happy I got to live such an incredible life, and most of all, that I had the most amazing mother in the world to guide me through it. Please keep living an amazing life for me, now that I can’t do it for you.
Yeah, I might as well get all my goodbyes out now.
Jake. It’s not real to me yet, and I’m assuming it never will be at this point because I have a sinking suspicion I’m not going to have exactly enough time to properly grieve. Honestly, I guess it doesn’t even really matter, since you’re already dead and will never read this, but it’s still somehow meaningful to me to get to write this to you, even if I can’t seem to take any of this seriously right now and this is probably the shittiest note a dying friend has ever written to a dead one, and if anyone finds this and reads it they’ll probably think I’m an insincere asshole, but hey man. I’m sorry we didn’t make it out of this place. I’m sorry my rope was shit. I can’t begin to describe the guilt I feel over that - I don’t know what happened and I guess I never will — was this my fault, could I have prevented it, or was this just a freak accident? God, that’s traumatizing. It makes me almost glad I only have a few more moments to be traumatized and not an entire lifetime to live with this guilt and uncertainty — but thank you for not ripping me one on that. Thank you.
If one of us deserved to get out of here alive, it was you. You had so much going for you, and you did everything right. Hell, if one of us deserved to live a little longer than the other, it was you. I don’t have a bad thing to say about you. No one ever did. Killing you is probably something that’s going to wipe out every other good thing I ever did in life and land me solidly in hell with a maximum negative karma score for losing in this game of life. God, I’m sorry.
Lucy, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t get Jake back to you. I’m sorry for everything. I don’t know what else to say. Everything I have is yours? That’s all I can say or do. Let this be my final testament and will - I, Harry Messenge, bequeath every last thing I own to Lucy Chen, as the most meagre apology for her loss. I’m so sorry again. I hope you and Coral stay strong and make it out of this okay. Please, please do.
Hannah. Hey babe. I miss you. And I’m going to be missing you for all of the next few hours, which isn’t to say I’m not really missing you that much, but rather to say that I’m going to be missing you for the rest of my life - apologies that that’s not a lot of missing to give you. I’ll also be loving you for that entire time, more than I’ve ever loved anyone. It’s probably not remotely as much as you hoped from me, but…it’s all I have to give. Thank you for all the good memories and experiences. I still can’t believe I got to live these last few years with someone so incredible. I’ll always be grateful for that. Sorry for saddling you in return with someone who was going to leave you in the end. Get over me quickly, okay? That’ll make me happiest, and goes for everyone please. I don’t want anyone to be too upset over me. There’s no point, since I’ll already be dead - and if I weren’t, or if there is an afterlife, or whatever, I’ll just be more sad knowing that all of you are sad. I’ll be a lot happier if you’re all happy. So please, try for me. And I’m sorry. God, I wish I made so much more of every moment I got to have with you. I’m sorry for that the most.
Everyone else - thank you for everything. I’m sorry I don’t have the space or time to write to each of you, but know that there are so many of you that I’ve thought of these past two days, and that I appreciate all of you and all the good and happy things you’ve all brought to my life so fucking much, and you know what would make me happiest? If you all threw a party in my honor. Go do something fun, and bond together. Get to meet each other - try to be friends with my friends that you weren’t already friends with.
But don’t do anything too crazy, like rock climbing. That would be really fucking stupid, apparently, and would make me feel very bad if anything happened to any of you while celebrating my demise.
Wow. I guess death is all about apologies. All you can really say is sorry, when you can’t do anything else. I’m assuming I’m going to hurt a lot of people (is that narcissistic? Is it okay to say that?), and I’m not going to do anything about it. All I can say is sorry. Some of you are going to think we were idiots for not being better prepared. For taking such risks with our lives when we had everything going for us. Why the hell would you do something as pointless as climbing a stupid rock with such enormous risks involved when you could just go live a perfectly happy life without this stupid rock climbing thing and not die and not have to say sorry and not have to be a cautionary tale and not have to hurt so many people?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’m sorry. I guess the cliche thing is cliche for a reason - it’s the truth. I just never thought it would happen to me - you know the risks, but you never know them viscerally and truly until it happens. That’s our fatal flaw in the end, isn’t it? Even now, I’m fucking lying here dying, and Jake’s already fucking dead, and I don’t really believe it. It doesn’t even register yet. It’s still hard to believe that this is really it, that I’m really going to just fucking disappear forever, even when I can feel it happening to me. I know I’m getting weaker, I know I’m getting more delirious, I’m tired and thirsty as all shit, and I can barely write this thing. But I’m still alive, and it still feels like an infinite binary state to me. How can I die? I’ve never died before. How can I not exist? I’ve never experienced that, and I never will.
It seems pretty stupid to get so philosophical when I’m about to literally die, but I’m just writing whatever comes to mind now. I’m a little desperate to keep writing. I’m afraid if I stop that’s going to be it. I want to get as much down on this piece of paper - I don’t care what it is I just want more of it - as I can before I go. Just more legacy, I guess. Just more output. Maybe something will stick. Maybe something here, if I just keep going, will be worthwhile enough to have made my life meaningful. Memorable. Significant. Anything. I don’t know what it is, but maybe if I just keep going I will.
I don’t feel too bad. I wonder if this is how everyone feels when they die, or just me. It just crossed my mind that I’ve never known a single true thing about anyone else in my life. Sure, I can see what’s happening to all of you, and sure, I can hear what you tell and describe to me, but I’ve never known anything about what you’ve truly felt and experienced. None of us have. We’ve all been living these lives with external intersections, but none of us have ever intersected internally. I’m describing all of this to all of you right now, but none of you will ever truly know exactly what I was feeling, exactly what I was trying to describe, exactly as I felt it.
It makes you feel alone. Or less alone, I suppose. It’s a little lonely being here all by myself now dying in this forest with no one around, but I guess now I realize it wouldn’t be any different in the slightest even if I had everyone in the world next to me. I’d still be all alone.
Oh fuck they found me. Fuck