Snow Angels

Disappointing, they said.

"You're such a disappointment" and "why don't you ever do anything with yourself?" and "you could be so much better than this." You're such a disappointment, they said.

And he believes it, really. What has he done with himself, besides drink his liver into oblivion and made a mess out of things? Could he have done so much more? Disappointing, they said, and he agrees. He's such a disappointment.

He's planned this moment with a faded sense of release, a sort of rusty realization that he'll never be something more (somehow he thinks it should bother him) and he'll never get out of this rut (and somehow he thinks he should feel more panicked). He's planned it coldly, almost cruelly, and it's come to a head the way he wanted it to – one last hurrah for the one who never made any trumpets ring.

He's planned everything perfectly, and nothing will go wrong (you're such a disappointment) unlike everything else has. He figures that that's the least he can leave behind. He assumed that he'd see everything in diamond-clear focus, feel the clarity of knowing that life is so freakin' important and he shouldn't let it go (he shouldn't have let it go) but there's no epiphany.

No sudden understanding of purpose, no ironic realization of the worth of living – and it pisses him off. He's supposed to see everything in this new light, this shimmering, glorious comprehension of how wonderful the world really is so he can laugh in God's face when he takes that all away, but it's not happening.

It's just… dull and faded like always. The same dust on the same mantle (the same picture of him and his brother), the same wine bottle in the same refrigerator (the same magnet on the door), the same cheap countertop on the same broken linoleum (that his dad helped him install). It's disappointing, he thinks.

Disappointing, they said.

There's no sudden insight into the ways of the world, no flash of bright light, no livid colors or voice of God reprimanding him, and it's disappointing to go this way (and the sun is shining – it's supposed to rain). He planned everything perfectly, but he can't control the last straw and it won't fall. He's not even particularly depressed anymore – he kind of wants to find a new job and go out with his friends tonight.

But he's always been such a disappointment and he doesn't want to fail again (is it even possible to succeed?) so he stands in the kitchen with everything set up so perfectly and lined up just right and it feels so wrong. It's disappointing, he thinks, to have gotten here after so long, only to find that the last moment is just like all the rest (nothing knows it's almost over). You can't know it's ending until it's done, and he's starting to get that now. The end should be surprising – or it can't be anything but disappointing.

You're such a disappointment, they said, and he wonders now if they weren't wrong. He's hardly an adult, why should they decree that he'll never be anything (and why should he prove them right)? Can't he try again?

He expected sudden understanding to come with trumpets blaring and lights flashing, screeching don't give up, but it's sort of come quietly, by way of a dusty mantle and a stupid magnet on a peeling floor and before he knows it, he's got his realization (why can't he be something more?) and it doesn't really make him feel anything. A disappointing epiphany.

How very appropriate.

The letter's on the table (why don't you come home for Christmas?) and the rope is in his hand (why don't you turn around?) and the chair beneath him squeaks and rocks (it's going to break before long) and he can't…

He can't. A disappointing epiphany that just repeats what he already knows (a snow angel in the courtyard), and he can see that, disappointing as life is, it's the only one he's got (it didn't make itself but no one owned up to it) and he can't throw it away (she smiled at him and he knew who it was). And the letter's in his hand (she laughed when he accused her) and the rope is on the table (and refused to stamp it out) and the chair beneath him won't hold his weight anymore (saying, "the world needs more angels").

She said that the world needs more angels and maybe she was right. But he never believed in that righteous talk anyway (it was gone by morning). And somehow the thought that he can't be bothered to give up now should make him laugh (but all he feels is content) and he thinks that maybe…

Just maybe… He could be something more, right?

Disappointing, they said, and maybe they were wrong (it's not up to them anyway). It's disappointing, he thinks, that God doesn't like to be laughed at, because he really wishes he could.

There wasn't any bright flash or trumpet song to speed the way – no momentum built up when he hit the end, nothing to send him over the cliff. Just a disappointing epiphany on a dusty picture frame, a snow angel in the courtyard, a hand on his shoulder (that he could have sworn didn't exist), and the letter in his fingers.

The magnet says "smile" and for right now, that's okay. His brother laughs from the picture, dripping wet and muddy, and it makes him want to go home (why don't you come home for Christmas?).

They all look happy when he knocks on the door, and welcome him back without a glance of disappointment and the Christmas tree is prettier than he remembers. And he tells them about snow angels and the friends he's got back in the city and doesn't mention the rope sitting in the dumpster not five minutes away or his second-rate epiphany because he doesn't think they have to know.

Disappointing, they said, and they were wrong.
A/N: I know the title doesn't have much to do with the story, and it's kind of wierd (I'm not even sure what the italics are, so I guess you can just make them up yourself), but... Well, review if you like.