Lila Bingham began looking through other people’s houses on her very first play date. She didn’t do it to be nosy, for her it was a learning experience. She wanted to see if everyone lived how her family did: in cluttered, dirty, ashtray adorned homes. The more she hung out at the homes of her classmates, the more she realized how her family life was anything but normal. Her friends’ parents didn’t get fired for showing up at work drunk, they didn’t yell at each other from morning to night, nor did they get into fist fights. The term ‘dysfunctional’ didn’t exist when Lila was growing up, but that’s what her family essentially was: dysfunctional.
“The madness stops with me,” Lila said to herself one day. “I will never marry, nor will I have children. Spawning another generation of crazies won’t do anybody any good.”
So Lila grew up and went through life solo. There were casual friends and the occasional lover to keep the loneliness at bay, but nothing really substantial, and that’s what made her most recent life decision an easy one to make.
Lila didn’t really mean anything to anyone anymore. Her brothers had both passed early from heart disease, she hadn’t heard from any of her coworkers since she had retired, and the only time her nieces and nephews came around was at Christmas and near their birthdays.
“The last five years have been nothing but Murder She Wrote reruns and sitting at the lake, watching the tide go in and out. There’s really no reason for me to be here anymore. It’s time to check out.”
Although Lila’s nieces and nephews hadn’t done anything for her in years, she felt that the least she could do for them was be considerate in how she handled her suicide. That meant planning everything down to the last detail. She gave the superintendent at her apartment building the proper two months notice, although she lied about her reason for leaving.
“I’m going to go and live with my nephew,” she told him.
In those two months she took what was still usable to a resell shop and what was garbage, she arranged to have hauled off to the dump. With her apartment cleaned out, that’d be one less job for the nieces and nephews to worry about. She then went to her bank and informed them that she’d be writing big cheques to her favourite charities.
“Don’t worry, I’ll leave enough for me,” she assured them; although all she left was enough to cover her final expenses. She thought that it would be inconsiderate of her to cause the nieces and nephews any added expense, but she wasn’t about to leave them anything extra, not after the way they had ignored her.
When the day came, she drove out to the lake one final time. Inside the glove box of her car was a Ziploc bag with all the necessary information the authorities would need to identify the body that would eventually wash ashore, as well as the banking and legal documents her nieces and nephews would need to settle her estate. It would be nice if they gave her a proper send off, but perhaps they would think she hadn’t been considerate at all and simply give her a pauper’s burial.
As she dived into the chilly water, though, it occurred to her that she really didn’t care what they did. She no longer cared about anything at all.