Broker Misses Unique Opportunity
They're dying in the thousands, every day. People. People no one cares about. People who are in their own way far too special to be interrupted and ended. I want to touch them somehow. I want to grab their thousands of hands and pull them back. I want the sad music to stir and soar with tragedy averted. I want to wind back the clock against its springs. Why can't they go back and try again? Why can't I? Why is it only man who invented the undo button? Why not God? I want that so badly that in my head I mumble: Control Z. Control Z.
All the things they could have done if they had been allowed to be. All the things I could have done if I could be someone else. I watch it all in waking dreams and wish for other days. Not better days. Alternate days. I wish I could start over, but I cannot. Of all the impossible, this is the most impossible, this wish to change not who I will be or am but what I was and what I did.
You will ask me what it is that I have been that makes me so regretful. And I will tell you I am a stockbroker. And you will give me an over-wise look. "Of course," you will think, "This mercenary bastard is waxing all poetic but all he really wants is another shot at the margins."
No. It isn't that. I feel. Really I do, even if you don't believe, even if my wife doesn't believe. This is just the way I learned to make money. I'm not one of those guys. I'm me, and I would have done so much better as somebody else. But this is me. I can't go back and learn something else. I can't stop earning or my debts will catch up to me. I can't stop lying or my secrets will be found. There is only one way out.
And yesterday morning I could have taken it, and nobody would have minded or been confused. My wife found me in the Ashley Madison list. And all my stocks tanked. Everything was coming down around me. This Jenga I call life, that scares me every time I move, it almost tumbled down, not because I failed but because the table just rocked. Do you understand? Everyone thinks I have life by the balls. But the better things go, the worse it is when I screw up. How can I ever quit? How could I ever admit? But yesterday morning the world gave me an out. Forces beyond my control destroyed me. There is no shame in that.
Or there would have been, if I had done it right. Down to the parking garage. The Desert Eagle is right there under the seat. It's a magnificent gun. There would be nothing left of my head, and nothing left of anyone's expectations. Things were insurmountable. Anyone could have seen that yesterday morning.
But then the market came back. The loss was only 3% or so. Apple closed higher than it opened, in the end. And Helene left me a message. She said she was sorry. She said she knew she'd been distant. She said she'd almost but not quite had a lesbian affair with her yoga instructor, that she had been avoiding me on purpose sometimes, but when it came right down to it, it hadn't felt right. She wanted both of us to forget and try again. And I wanted to think that it was only about the money, that she knew I was keeping most of my capital overseas, in places divorce lawyers couldn't find it, and that she didn't want to lose her claim on it just yet. But it was also possible that she was a vulnerable, feeling, decent person who had just got off the tracks somewhere along the way. And wanted to find them again.
And there it was. My window had closed. I would have to go on living.