July 9, 2008
By Lindsey McDonald, Sioux Falls, SD

I remember the last minute being alive. In that minute I felt more in my life than any other minute…or just any other time. I was feeling an odd combination of optimism and pessimism.

One part of me was tired of waiting for the end and was screaming, “Just do it.”

Another part was morbidly thrilled at the thought of wrecking such a precious thing to the people that did me wrong.

The strongest part was still anxious and I could feel a tinge of regret. It was so selfish of me to do this, but there was no way I was turning back now. If I didn’t do this, then nothing would improve and I’d feel this overwhelming agony for years and years.

For most of that minute, I stared at my reflection in the water below me. My reflection was strangely enthralling and as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t tear myself away. I knew that it’d be the last thing I would see. Maybe I was holding onto that image. The anxious part of me wanted it to last forever so I wouldn’t have to plunge into the water.

Still, I had to let go at some point.

I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath, not exhaling. The image of my reflection burned into my mind. A stranger with gloomy eyes and an emotionless expression despite all the feelings welled up inside of them.

Then, when my diaphragm was about to burst all the captive air from my lungs, I relaxed my whole body. I felt wind surge past me before the bitter chill of night’s water.

As water filled my lungs, all the past doubts and regrets washed away and all that was left was an unfamiliar peace. This peace was the type of peace that you’d find in your grandmother. My own grandmother wasn’t afraid of dying and accepted her long lived life. Now, I felt the same way. I didn’t feel any remorse for what I was doing. It should’ve bothered me, but I was feeling nothing. I was finally released from worldly pain.

I wasn’t sure how exactly, but I watched my body slowly float on the soft waves of the lake.

I was dead, that I was positive of, but why wasn’t I in heaven like they said I’d be? Instead, I was like a ghost, hovering above the water.

Birds perched on my upturned back as my hair became tangled under the merciless water. I could only wait for dawn, for when people would discover my body. That’s what I wanted, the whole reason I did this.

The thing I wanted the most was to ruin the thing most precious to those that did me wrong. I wanted them to think of my body decomposing every time they dared to flutter to the water. This would destroy their innocent fun.

Deep down, I also longed for the people who didn’t look twice at me to wish they had done more to stop this. I had an ignorant hope before. I dreamed that I could be like everyone else and have supportive friends to laugh and gossip with. That never happened. They all looked right through me. I could never figure out why.

I tried so hard to get someone, anyone, to notice me. Still, no one even glanced in my direction. Jealousy filled me and eventually turned to hate. How could I hate someone who I had never even talked to? I did hate them. I loathed them with all my being and I gave my life to prove that.

It was unfair that I should have been lonely. And so I turned the tables. It was unfair that I hated them, but life isn’t supposed to be fair. I built my hate on what could’ve been. I hated myself most of all for letting my dreams whisk me away. I hated that hope was the most evil force out there. Disease, famine and death are nothing compared to the endless pain of wistful thinking.

To have the thing you want most in your mind but not in your hands hurts more than a knife struck into your side. And I relived that over and over.

All of this gave me nothing. Now I was a spirit watching my lifeless corpse slowly fade away to nothing. It seemed so pointless.

They found my body on the shore the next afternoon. A bright, warm, and perfect summer afternoon. The daily gatherers of the lake didn’t even notice my body until the police arrived and pulled my body out from a pile of trash collected on the tabooed part of shore.

People gathered to the scene and watched in a horrid fascination as the police rolled my tattered body over. The children gasped at my pale face, empty eyes still wide open and looking at nothing. The parents covered their children’s eyes, but continued to survey my dead flesh.

Some of them noticed that the birds have pecked off some flesh from my back. They held onto the sight until a man came and covered me up with a white blanket. His face startled me.

He looked sincerely mournful, as if I was his own daughter. He looked away with only his glistening eyes as he threw the blanket. He bit on his lip before turning away and returning to the ambulance he came from.

I was still hovering over my body, and despite the blanket, I could see my dead body stare blankly at me.

It felt so strange looking at myself. It was as if I was one of the spectators that flocked to this spot. I couldn’t look away, as before. This me was not too different from my reflection. They both were lifeless, cold, and appeared emotionless. A small nobody from nowhere.

But now…I was somebody. Young ladies dressed in navy and pink suits rushed with their cameramen to the scene. They all stood side by side in front of my covered up body. They talked about how I was reported missing and gave my name. In the background, the paramedics lifted my body onto a stretcher and into the ambulance.

The spectators were in a roar of bantering now. Some told fake stories of false memories they “shared” with me. Others couldn’t talk, struck speechless with grief. The majority, however, were trying to remember me anywhere. Kids from school repeated my name to each other, asking each other if they remembered me in any class or if I’d ever spoken a word to them.

I noticed the ambulance was waiting. I didn’t know why until I saw a very familiar car pull up and my father taking baby steps toward the commotion. I think he was hesitating, stalling time so he wouldn’t have to officially identify his dead daughter. Tears were filling his eyes, and he didn’t even look ashamed to let them fall to the rough sand below.

All I could do was watch my father lift the white blanket up and take a quick glance before dropping it and turning away. He took the deepest breath I’ve ever seen him take. He leaned against the ambulance as he called someone. I guessed it was my mother, but all that came from the other line was a wild shriek-like crying.

After they had taken my body away to be examined, I decided to wander around to hear what other people thought of my tragic suicide.

Everyone was either quiet, in shock, or hugging each other with tears bursting from their eyes. Most of these people I never knew existed before.

Why were they crying over a person they had never looked at before? The biggest question on my mind: Why did I feel so bad for them?

These were the people I wanted to see break down. I never expected that I wouldn’t feel satisfied that no one glanced over at the lake for longer than a second. I should have been delighted that I achieved my goal. But I could only feel a heavy guilt that pulled me closer and closer to the ground.

Eventually, my feet were just an inch above the ground. And my feet walked me to my house.

I didn’t really want to go inside, but the urge was so strong that I couldn’t deny it.

When I entered, I didn’t hear ear-piercing wailing as I expected. Instead, there was this dead silence hanging in the air. The kind of silence you only find right before the sun rises. Normally, this silence was the best sound to my ears. Now, it made me sick.

I went into the family room and found my father, mother and my brother all crowded together on the floor. From the looks of it, they just all collapsed and held on to each other so they wouldn’t faint.

All of them had tears shining in their eyes. Even my brother. This was the brother that shunned me like everyone else. What was he so sad about?

I understood the depression I inflicted upon my parents. But my brother?

He was the one that told me to go die. So I did.

Did he honestly think he was the sole responsibility of my suicide? I could pick out the shame in his eyes. Although he appeared to be staring at nothing, it was obvious that he was looking for a way to forgive himself.

I suddenly felt ashamed of myself, too, for putting this on all of them. I was free of pain, but they would have to live with my selfish act for the rest of their lives. I’ve never felt more loathing for myself than I did watching them silently tear apart piece by piece.

What have I done?

I watched my family closely throughout the week that acted as a prelude to my funeral. When they were together, they all kept silent and did things in a synchronized fashion. They did all the chores together, not failing to miss a spot here or there.

However, when they were alone was when they let themselves show the emotions they keep pent up all day. Everyday they went to bed early and woke up late. My parents took the week off to plan the funeral.

I still felt disgust at myself for making them have to do this. Revenge wasn’t worth this. It was a huge mistake. One that I couldn’t ever learn and grow from.

The day of the funeral, I hovered above my coffin. I couldn’t stand to look at my family again. Especially not on a day like this.

All of my family was here, every cousin, aunt, uncle, and grandparent. It surprised me at first. I didn’t ever think these people even knew we were related.

And yet here they were, silently grieving to themselves.

I was so wrong in life. It hurt so much that I could only realize this after I ended my life.

During the visitation, I stood by the coffin and studied the faces that went by and peered into my own lifeless face. The first to go by were my parents.

They showed matching faces of emptiness and sleepless nights.

My brother was next and didn’t look directly at me, but at the corner of the table I rested on.

The following faces were mostly the same long faces with the same exact sad eyes.

As I watched my dead body slowly enter the cold hole it would forever rest, a sudden, strong wave of depression washed over me. It was as if I soaked in all of the emotions from the people that surrounded me. I felt the same chronic exhaustion they were experiencing.

My mother couldn’t look at the horrific sight anymore and glanced at the ground.

I went over to her and lightly embraced her. She wouldn’t feel it, though. I wished she could have. I wanted to see her smile so much again.

Hours after everyone left, I stayed perched at my gravesite.

Would this be what I would face forever? Would I just hardly exist here until the end of time?

I felt I deserved it since I had been the cause of so much pain. I still wanted a release though.

It was strange to feel so much agony after death. It seemed no different from living. But I would have to suffer like this forever because I let it overthrow me before.

I would be paying for my crime for all of eternity.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

on Feb. 5 2009 at 2:02 am
oh my gosh that was such a touvhing and real emotional story that was one of the most talented pieces I have read in Ever! wow just wow!

Swoon Reads

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!