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  • Writer's pictureMarc Lalonde

It's all about the shoes

I stood there, watching my shoe get smacked about by speeding traffic about 40 feet below where I was standing and decided there were easier ways to go about ending my life.


Some context.


It was December. I was alone for Christmas. Not to get into it too much, but for the first time in my life, I was going to be alone for Christmas and it hurt. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to exist and it hurt to walk around in the world. I was being crushed by an elephant on my chest of my own making.


I was not welcome to any Christmas dinner being attended by anyone that I loved.


I must be a failure at life, I told myself.


Despite a life where success was far more frequent than failure, I was feeling alone, despondent and it was a very, very real physical pain. I left my dog with someone I trusted and planned to go end my life. The world was a dark, cold place and I felt every bit of that.


Every. Last. Bit.


I cannot emphasize enough that I just wanted the pain to end. I didn’t want to hurt anyone with it, but for those few short hours I couldn’t see past the pain. Despite knowing, rationally, that I would hurt so many with my selfish decision, it felt like the right decision at the time.


Just like that time I had my heart broken and ate a dozen hot dogs.


Or that time I felt shameful and ate a bag of cookies?


How about those?


I was lost, hurting alone and broken. I saw no way out and the only light at the end of the tunnel was the approaching train getting set to run me over yet again.


So, no train.


I would let Montreal’s incredibly psychotic and reckless traffic do the job for me.


It was an insanely cold night in December and I hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe.


Staring down at the Decarie Expressway, I hoped I would get hit by a moving car before I hit the cement underneath the Ferrier Street overpass.


I felt the wind nip at my ears as I looked over the edge of the guardrail. I put one foot up on it and prepared to hoist my weight to the edge when my foot slipped over the edge of the rail and down into nothingness.


My running shoe went with it.


I watched it fall and get immediately smacked by a moving 18-wheeler rumbling south on the expressway and it scared me.


It scared me so much.


Fuck, it frightened me.


Despite a life where I have raised two amazing kids with an amazing person, loved and lost and lived to tell the tale, been an award-winning journalist, been elected to not one but two institutional Halls of Fame and mentored athletes for the last quarter-century as a football, hockey, basketball, ringette and baseball coach, I couldn’t see the successes. I couldn’t feel joy.


None.


That’s because the pain outweighed everything else. I couldn’t see the forest for the pain.

But I was too scared to follow through with that.


I walked back to my parked car with one shoe on and drove home like that.


Not only was I a failure at life, I couldn’t even end it properly.


It was truly an awful thought process, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. I went home, got another pair of shoes and picked up the dog.


Then I went to sleep. I wished I could sleep forever.


But I couldn’t. And that night, I slept 16 hours. I woke up refreshed and almost – almost – had forgotten about how the weight on my chest hadn’t moved.


Or had it?


To be continued.

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