He killed himself in my freshman year at high school. His junior year. He was sixteen.
I heard it at school, from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from someone else. And I didn’t believe it, until even the teachers were saying it. Then I believed it.
“Forty pills. Yeah.” I heard some kids say, walking down the hall. My math teacher did a moment of silence for him and I tried not to be distracted.
I didn’t cry. I really didn’t. I wanted to scream but instead I stood with my head against my locker, memorizing the scratches in the blue paint, one’s I’d done myself and ones other kids had made.
Kids. That was all I really was. A kid, and so was he. He was only two years older than me.
We were all kids here at school, kids at heart and mind and body. Even the ones who had kids.
I’d thought about it, him going out like his dad did. Forty pills. He’d retched up most of them but they worked.
He acted so cheerful and had so many friends but underneath that was a shitty life of being put down and set up and broken up with. He looked happy but you could see in his eyes, sometimes at a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, that something was wrong.
I knew how he felt sometimes but then again how could I have after all he’d been through. I’d seen shit and he’d seen worse but that’s why I cared so much. He didn’t care back. In the back of my mind and bottom of my heart I thought he might have wanted to, but he couldn’t. I couldn’t either.
Walking home I allowed tears to fall, silently making my way up the sidewalk to go home, crash into bed and never wake up. I paid no attention to my sister beside me who looked at me like I had eight heads. Everyone at school was sad but I felt the worst. I thought I’d loved him, and I never got a chance to say. Not that he would’ve cared.
I could barely wake up for his funeral-the whole week I had been out of school. I didn’t want to see his body, I didn’t want to watch his casket buried. I was scared. Blindly I dressed and went.
When we got to the church there were dozens of people saying goodbye. I was confused. And when I saw the body I went rigid. He was dead, in a coffin. If he’d been alive in there in that suit and tie he would’ve stripped down-he didn’t wear shit like that. He would’ve stayed in the coffin though. I would’ve wanted to crawl in there too. I did now. He didn’t know it but when he went under he dragged me with him.
I was the last one to pray. And I didn’t, really, I just knelt by the casket and thought. After what seemed like forever I stood up.
“This isn’t goodbye.” I said, and walked outside to get some air.
I was blind on the car ride to the cemetery, trying to hold my composure. It was surreal and I felt like I was in a fog-which I was. Clouds loomed in the sky and reminded me of the last funeral I’d gone to-a friend’s, too. It rained then. It always rained during a funeral.
I shuddered when the pallbearers brought the coffin. It was closed, it could’ve been empty but I knew better. His headstone was plain, just his name and a few words. Date of birth and death, too.
As they put him underground I couldn’t breathe. This was goodbye. In my head I knew it was but my heart wanted it not to be so badly. I felt sick and my tongue swelled up, a reflex as it grew around the steel barbell. I choked up but kept it in. before I knew it the earth was patted down and we were leaving.
It was only November 3rd, three days after it happened, but I shook with cold and sorrow. I waved to the gravestone.
“Goodbye.” I mouthed.
I didn’t go back until summer.
August 31st , exactly nine months after his death, and his birthday too. His mother had left flowers and I welled up when I saw them. He was gone.
No one else was there, and I was glad because I was practically wailing. I slapped myself and stopped. He might not have cared but he hated seeing people cry. I sat down on the grass next to where his body was, six feet underneath me. It burned my heart to know it was real. I started talking, sucking in a breath.
“Okay, I know you’re dead and stuff. And you can’t hear me. So I’m talking to the ground. But I think I loved you. I don’t want to have to say goodbye. I wish what I said was true, that it wasn’t goodbye, that you weren’t in the ground and your girlfriend didn’t not care. I wish you hadn’t done this because of her, because I know you didn’t do it ‘cause of your dad.” Shifting, I continued. “It’s scary that when I saw you I wished you weren’t there to tear me apart, and now you never will be again but you still are. Breaking my heart. I really loved you. It was scary and I’m sorry because I know I wasn’t supposed to. But I swear it was an accident. I want this not to be goodbye but it was nine months ago.” I stood to go.
But then, for a second I couldn’t breathe. He was right next to me, he looked like he used to. Alive. He wrapped his arms around me like he used to. I closed my eyes.
“This isn’t goodbye.”
When I opened them, he was gone.
- Current Location:IN BED FUCK YEAH
- Current Music:The Devil Went Down to Georgia