Open and Shut Case

by Heinrich Brueckmann

I can guess at the circumstances under which this letter is first being read.  This bedroom was the most appropriate setting for the concluding moments of the tragedy.  It was the journey and, inescapably, the destination.  By the time this page is being analyzed, the bedroom is likely to be cordoned off by police tape, indicating that it is now considered a crime scene.  I have long recognized it as such. 

You have noticed that this page has been laminated.  Given the circumstances in which it has been found, the reason should be obvious.  I wanted it to be protected so that it could be read.  Possibly even understood.

Let me tell you something of the circumstances that have driven me to this.  I had a life and family; to me the words once meant the same thing. 

But anon I had allowed myself to become so thoroughly deluded that I willingly – indeed with joy – cast off my personal attachments small and large.  That I wanted to be rid of my human responsibilities – I cannot deny.  My relationship with my wife was complex and deep.  I shed it with relief – despite her snarls and tears – and imagined a life with my new love free of entanglements.  Imagined freedom from the need to compromise.  Imagined freedom from unfair expectations.  Imagined devotion. 

Things could have been different, and that tortures me.  But I had not the imagination for that.  Instead, I purchased – I choose the word ‘purchase’ carefully - falsehood at the price of truth.  I was drawn to the idea of a world of fixed standards and no doubts. Solidity, reliability, constancy, eternally.

But she was nothing but the personification of lies.

The lies I told myself.

The one I felt love for could not love me back.

Can a man die of solitude in the presence of perfection? 

Could there be any other outcome?

Purity, perfection, and perjury.  It is irreconcilable.  That the object of my affection – I choose the word ‘object’ carefully – cannot reciprocate my emotion is what has driven me to create the scene you see.  And yet how many relationships out there between two people are also so one-sided? 

My actions have framed perfect selfishness.

I know I am beyond forgiveness. 

She lacked the capacity to transgress, to sin.  But I missed the natural corollary: the capacity to forgive. 

      I have decided to remove my clothing before shooting myself, as a symbol of my naked honesty and frankness.  I wish to symbolize humanity, stripped of all of constructs, all pieces of technology.  Except for the gun.  It tempts me the same way that she did.  It’s not what really killed me; it was her – it. 

      Metal touching my lips.


      It’s not the first time.


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