I shot myself on a Tuesday. I'd just come back from school and I was feeling tired. The house was empty; I guess everyone was still busy elsewhere. That was fine, though. They didn't need to see this. Even now, part of me wishes they never got to see the aftermath. I didn't know it'd be so hard for them. I didn't consider...let's back up a bit for now.
Yes, I shot myself on a Tuesday, but to be clear I’d already been dead a long time. Depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety and the like. It's weird how it's portrayed in books or on tv. It's like a little "sad hole" you fall into and cry for a while, then someone comes along and loves you back to normal. From a story telling perspective I guess it sounds alright. You need a way to spread out hope but that's the thing, you see. Sometimes a little hope becomes a gateway to despair.
My depression started at 13. It wasn't anything like the movies at all. I didn't even cry. Well I did, but that was mostly due to anger. That's a part of depression too, actually. It’s very brief most of the time, but it's there. Anger at people for not understanding, anger at yourself for being depressed. My life was a brick wall of gray. I remember crying in my father's room one night shortly after I turned 14. I wasn't even angry then, I was just tired. And well, the bible says to lay your burdens on God...so I prayed. "Please, just let me die." I begged. "I don't want to do this anymore. I can't bear this any longer."
But I could, of course. Afterall, God never gives us more than we can handle. I knew it, and so did He. So I went on. For 8 more years I went on. And it was fine...ish. I made some friends, I fell in love, life went on, but at the same time my will to continue was gradually slipping away. I was getting tired again. So I turned to distractions. Not harmful ones, just...simple things. Sometimes I’d look at the sky and just admire the clouds. Sometimes I’d try counting the stars. I listened to a lot of music.
And you know what? The depression went away. Maybe. Well, I didn't feel so grey anymore, so I thought I must be fine. And that was that. The depression was gone. But the suicide, that was still a problem. By now I’d already etched out a plan for my life but at the same time, I no longer wanted to live it. The thoughts, they'd festered in my mind, gotten stronger. And now, I couldn't fight them off. I didn't want to.
"Think of your family." A part of me urged. "What if they miss you?"
"So what?" The rest of me replied. "They'll be fine eventually."
Would they though? I wouldn't know, but I thought they at least deserved a heads-up. They thought I was joking. They hoped I was joking. But why? Was I not clear enough, or would that just help them deal with it better? Whatever, that wasn't my problem. But now I was curious. How would my friends take it? A few of them believed me, though, some a slight bit less than others.
"Why would you want to kill yourself?" they asked.
"I've lost the will to go on." I answered. As it turned out, that wasn't really good enough for them. "Well at least think of your family," they told me. But I’d been over that.
So, the only question left was how to go about it. Oddly enough, suicide is actually really hard to pull off properly. Almost every method has a decent chance of survival. I chose a gun. Though, in hindsight, I probably should have gone with something less messy. But anyway, next was a suicide note. Some kind of final testament. I tried desperately to explain to my friends and family that me leaving was completely and one hundred percent my choice, and was in no way any fault of theirs. I hoped they'd believe that. It might help ease their minds a little.
The second the note was done and my fate was sealed, I felt a strange sense of peace. One I don't think I’d ever felt. It was an “everything's going to be fine” kind of peace. Not because I found some renewed hope for life, it was more a relief that I didn't have to trudge through it anymore. It crossed my mind briefly to set the house on fire while everyone was sleeping so we could all go out together, but hey. They wanted to be alive. That was their choice. And this was mine.
So I shot myself on a Tuesday. I got home, the house was empty, and I went into my room. I laid the note on my bed and sat in a corner with the gun in my hands. There was none of the sad music that accompanies a suicide on tv. Mine was almost eerily quiet. And I was alone. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. I knew I needed to aim the gun just right or I’d do little more than just seriously injure myself. And of course by then the neighbours would be on full alert. I drew in a shaky breath and aimed the gun at the side of my head.
I must have sat there like that for...God only knows how long. The part of my brain responsible for survival and self-preservation battled wildly for control of my body. My hands were shaking too much for it to be a clean shot. Suddenly I heard the gate to the house creak open. Somebody was back home, and I was out of time. I shook my head, trying to get myself to do something. Anything.
"Hide the gun." My mind screamed. "Hide the note, try this again later."
But I couldn't try again later, this was my only chance. It was now or never. Whoever was back home was at the front door now, and I could hear the key turning in the lock. The screaming in my mind was so loud it was like a clone of me yelling directly in my ears. My breathing had turned into a kind of raspy, dry heaving. It was loud, and matched only by the sound of my heart rattling about in my ribcage. Now or never.
"There's no turning back if you do this!" the clone yelled.
In one decisive motion, I shoved the gun into my mouth, gritted my teeth, and pulled the trigger.
I opened my eyes several hours later. It was nighttime now and my room was completely dark. The house was quiet. I got to my feet slowly and made my way to the living room. The lights were on and there was my family, sitting in a circle...all totally silent. I walked up to them, noticing their facial expressions. My dad had a red-eyed thousand yard stare. My mother, I didn't even want to look at, but right next to her was my sister. Her eyes were puffy and her little hands clutched my note like a blank cheque.
"So it worked then." I muttered to myself. And I have to say, as relieved as I felt to finally be at rest, seeing my family like that, too grief-stricken to even string any words together, that...that did not feel good. Part of me even wished I could take it back. I couldn't, of course. Even if I could, what would be the point? I'd finally got what I’d been wanting for so many years. It may have been a little selfish, I realize, but what was the alternative?
Carry on living like a shadow so my family wouldn't feel bad? Wasn't that selfish too? I guess it was on both sides. But my sister, she...I was standing right next to her. I put my hand on her shoulder. Tried to ruffle her hair, like I used to. Her hair didn't move, and she gave no indication that she knew I was even there.
"What's wrong?" a voice called out from behind me. "I thought this is what you wanted."
"Not this." I answered, keeping my eyes on my sister. "I didn't want to see them like this."
"But you knew this would happen." the voice said again. There was no judgement from the voice, just a calm statement of fact. I knew what would happen when I went through with my suicide. I knew. But they didn't deserve this feeling.
"They'll be fine." I said, more to myself. "They'll be fine, right?"
"In time," replied the voice. "But what about you? You're finally free from your 'terrible life'. Are you happy now?"