“manhattanlovesuicides” by Michael Koh

Megan walked down the stairs to wait for the uptown A train. A myriad of men and women stood on the platform, waiting for the train to arrive. Megan felt suffocated. She thought of ways to die. Megan walked closer to the edge of the platform. People looked at her. She felt afraid. A group of girls approached her.

“Are you going to jump?” they asked.
“I don’t know,” said Megan.
“Well, if you aren’t going to jump, don’t stand so close to the edge.”

Megan looked at the girls. They stared at her.

“We’re just kidding,” said one of the girls.

Megan blinked.

***

The A train arrived and Megan felt the urge to jump in front of it. She didn’t.

***

The A train followed Greenwich Avenue west until it hit 8th Avenue and followed it north. Megan sat quietly and watched the floor, occasionally looking up to check the stop. She didn’t notice anyone coming or going. Everyone, to her, looked the same at this particular time.

***

Megan got off at 59th Street. She sidestepped around, squeezed between, and pushed people as she made her way to the surface.

***

Megan walked into Central Park. She sat on a bench by the entrance. She pulled her sleeves up to her elbows and took out her lipstick. It was red. Megan took the cap off. She looked at her wrist and drew lines across her forearm. Megan wondered if it would be painful if her lipstick were a knife.

People looked at her. A man called out to Megan.

“You have to go down if you really want to kill yourself,” he said.
“Okay,” Megan replied.
“No seriously, go down, not across.”
“Okay.”
“You might want to use something sharp too.”

Megan thought about saying “Okay” again but said, “Thanks” instead.
The man took a seat next to her. Megan put her lipstick away.

“So,” he said. “Are you going to do it?”

Megan looked down. There were pebbles strewn on the ground. “Where did the pebbles come from,” she wondered.

The man repeated himself. Megan looked away from the pebbles and looked at the man. He repeated himself again and grinned.

“Probably not,” she answered.
“Probably?”
“Probably not.”
“Why probably not?”
“I don’t know,” said Megan.
“Why don’t you know?”
“I don’t know.”
“Okay,” said the man as he got up to leave. “Hope you don’t kill yourself.”

Megan looked at her forearm and at the man walking away. “I hope so too,” she said.


Profile: Michael Koh

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