The writer took a look at the final version of his book. He inspected the front cover, the back. He flipped through the pages, noticing the heading of each chapter. The circumspect look on his face made the owner of the printing company sink in his leathery chair.
The man took a look out the window and pulled the collar of his coat up, tugging it against his neck. He stood like this for a few minutes. The discomfort in the room was palpable.
“Have you ever written a book, Mr. Rourke?”
“No, sir. I only print them,” replied Mr. Rourke, a slight trace of enthusiasm in his voice, in a feeble attempt to change the somber mood. “But is there anything wrong?”
“It’s like a child. At some point, you must let it go.”
Mr. Rourke nodded gravely.
“So true.” It was getting late and Mr. Rourke still had two appointments till he could close his day and go back to Mrs. Rourke’s scrumptious dinner, the highlight of his day. He really didn’t have time for philosophical contemplations of a writer at the end of his career. He stood up. “So… Should we wrap it up and finalize the payment of the last installment?”
The writer took a step towards the window, opened it and jumped out.
Mr. Rourke was so shocked that he stood motionless looking at the open window, the curtains floating wildly. All he could think of was that he would never see that last installment and that this mess would be a never ending nightmare of police inquiries. Outside, people screamed and he could already hear the sirens approaching.
He grabbed a copy of the book and opened it. Inside, the inscription said “The End”.
Mr. Rourke found that a tad disturbing, considering the circumstances. He continued to the index and that’s when he realized that each chapter was a farewell letter to people the writer knew. One was even addressed to him!
“If you are reading this with me standing by your side that means you saved my life. You read this before our meeting and you talked to me about my life. Thank you.”
Mr. Rourke sank heavily in his leathery chair and started to weep.