I wrote this for a project in english class. Its a story about my own life. I threw myself into 3rd person and became the friend I wish I had when this was all happening. I hope you enjoy.
id the same. I dont think I heard them ever tell him congratulations without there being a “but” after it. Maybe they did, but I’m pretty sure he would’ve told me about it. So, Alex goes through his life thinking he is never good enough, that failure far outweighs success and quite frankly, he was miserable. But, for some reason, I can never remember him crying.
In middle school, I remember people giving him a lot of crap for the way he looked. He wasn’t the smallest kid, in fact he was rather hefty. As most 11 year olds are, he was socially awkward. I was one of the only people he would talk to because the others mocked him with constant attacks on his weight and shyness. Every day he tried all he could to tell himself that they were wrong, but he couldn’t believe that. Every fiber of his being had been trained to never accept who he was, his parents made sure of that. So, he took the insults to heart, started believing everything people said. He told me no matter how bad things got, he wouldn’t let anyone see him cry. Looking back on it, that was probably a big red flag flying in my face, and I don’t know why I didn’t see it waving me down for help.
Middle school progressed, and so did Alex’s hatred of life. He would tell me every day was a challenge to get out of bed, I didn’t understand. He explained it to me like this; “When you wake up, you resent the fact that you did. You question why you still wake, why you still breathe, what the point is in living. You think about everything the day has to offer, from all the shallow cruel kids to the hours and hours of meaningless homework assigned by teachers who could care less if you showed up to come home to a ‘family’ that will yell and scream at you over the smallest mistake, you hate everything, you don’t want to do anything. You don’t want to go outside and play, you definitely don’t want to do homework, you can barely muster the energy to climb back in bed where you lay catatonic from the weight and strain of the day until you pass out.” Of course, I’m paraphrasing. Alex had a good vocabulary, but it wasn’t that great. Regardless, that explanation stuck with me. And the way he said it, so emotionless, so cold…
Middle school was coming to an end, and life threw Alex another curveball. He developed a severe condition that prevented him from eating or drinking anything without becoming violently ill. As he wasted away, he said all he could think about was how at least he wouldn’t be fat anymore. He laughed. I couldn’t think up a response.
Alex went to the 8th grade dance with this girl. What they saw in each other was beyond me. I think her name was Victoria. He told me it was a last hurrah with life. I asked him what that meant and he said he’d only live a few months at the rate he was losing weight, that his body would soon start to break down muscle and then eventually his organs to get the nutrients he needed. He said he wouldn’t let that happen. I asked him what that meant. He just looked at me and half smiled.
The summer between his 8th and 9th grade was the happiest I’d seen him in a very, very long time. Things seemed to be getting better. He would talk more, he wasn’t always secluded and isolated from the world. He would go out with friends and his parents didn’t seem to bother him as much. He attributed it all to Vikki. He said she gave him purpose. I said “that’s great!”
His first year in high school was an extra special strain on his body and mind. Not only was his workload increasing exponentially with the onset of honors classes, one thing after another went wrong at home too. His dad started drinking again; he would hide handles of vodka around the house. Alex said he’d sneak a drink every day when he got home from school to help him deal. His cousin died from negligence; his mom was too drunk to realize he had fallen off his ventilator. His grandma, probably the only other person he confided in besides me, died unexpectedly. He didn’t cry. I know that he really cared, I just don’t think he was capable of that specific demonstration anymore.
In october of that year, his dog was put to sleep to end the suffering from the tumors growing in his leg. He couldn’t be there when they put him down. He was far too numb to let anyone know he couldn’t feel it anymore. And, as if life hadn’t emptied a clip into him already, it pulled the trigger three more times. Once when his mom was diagnosed with cancer. The second when Vikki left him on the day of her surgery. The third when he went home that day and tried to blow his brains out with a shotgun. He told me the ammo must have gotten wet when his house flooded. I didn’t know how to respond to that. I still don’t.
I started talking to him less and less; he was toxic. Not only to himself but to people around him. He wouldn’t text me during school. He wouldnt come see me after, he’d always have some kind of excuse. He couldn’t maintain any friendships, his ex was on his mind a lot and eventually he called me one night. He had gotten really drunk and was about to hang himself. I told him to hold on as I sprinted out the door. I ran the two and a half mile road between our house in under 10 minutes. When I got there, he was fine. There was a mark around his neck; the rope had snapped. I went to hug him, tell him it’d be okay. I said there would be someone on the way to bring him to a hospital. He got mad and pushed me away. I told him to come with me so we can get him somewhere safe. He started yelling at me. He said that he didn’t ask for my help, that he didn’t want it. I told him I didn’t care if he wanted it or not, he needed it. He said that if the paramedics came, he would never stop trying until he succeeded. I cried to him to listen to himself, to look at what he was doing to me, to himself. He paused, and then, in this creepy, calm voice that he spoke. “I don’t care about you. I don’t care about myself. I don’t care about anything, not life, not people, nothing. All I want is to die. And if you won’t let that happen, if you won’t let me have this, then fuck off.” I just walked away.
From what they would tell me, his parents said he didn’t show any signs of depression. That they could never have known that he felt like that. I wanted to gut them on the spot. How could they not know? How could
not know? Or did they just not care enough to see?
They let me walk around in his room. I remember avoiding a stain on the floor I knew, but I didn’t want to know, was his blood. He made 127 cuts in total down both arms, lost over 2 pints before they took him to the hospital. I felt like I was going to throw up. But, something was strange to me. A thought, “How did the medics find out what he was doing? His parents didn’t know he was dying.”
Two months went by, not a word from Alex, or his family, nobody. People started making up rumors. That he was in rehab. That he was on vacation. That he was on a mission to find God. I didn’t want to hear any of them.
His parents called, told me he was home again. They asked if I wanted to talk to him. I said no. They told me that he needed a friend right now.
“So, I hear you’re out now.” “yeah.” “How you feeling?” “i’m not.” “Oh….” “yeah.”
He started going out with a girl named Shannon. I wondered how long it would last.
Four months. She left him because she couldn’t fix him. He started going out with this other girl, Amanda. I had the same thought.
The answer was three months. She killed herself. I knew what would happen next, I panicked. I made that two and a half mile run to his house, thinking about all the times I could’ve done more for him, how I couldn’t save him but I could’ve at least been there for him. How I was no better than the people that tormented him, that if anything happened it was my fault. As I ran up to his house, I knew what I might find. If I was right, I said I would join him. I opened the door, and there he lay on the couch, fresh gashes down his arms, weeping red, bloody hands and a razor on the floor. I fell to my knees. He said to shut the door, I was letting all the cold out. He was still alive. I got my phone out and started to call 911, but he stopped me. He got up off the couch and said he wanted to show me something first. We went to his bathroom and he opened up the medicine cabinet. First he wrapped his arms in gauze. Then, he took out some pill bottles. His mom’s expired Vicodin from her chemo. Alot of them. He took the bottles, opened the lids, looked at me, looked at his arms, and flushed the pills down the toilet. As he watched his surefire way to a quick and relatively painless death swirl away, he turned to me with a scared but determined look in his eyes and a faint smile and said, “I want to live.” He fell to his knees. I embraced him, and knelt there, blood on my shirt and tears in my eyes. I felt his chest move, his nose sniffle, and I felt little drops land on my back and shoulders. He was finally crying too.