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Reflect with Me
I took a walk with her that night.
It was cold, and we were bored. My mother agreed to let us out so long as we took bikes. We didn't feel up to riding, so we exited through the garage and-- instead of snagging the bikes-- we simply ran from the driveway, giddy with feeling you could only get by not completely breaking a rule, but bending it far enough so as to receive consequence for it.
Our side of town was quiet that night and my cousin and I were able to walk along Bougainvillea's sidewalk in peace, stepping in beat to our differing mp3 tunes.
Though it went unspoken, we both knew what the other was thinking of; the day's school assembly.
The assembly had held a To Write Love On Her Arms theme, and the speaker from TWLOHA had left us with some heavy things to ponder.
'Hey,' I started, inhaling the winter air sharply, 'suicide. What do you think?'
'You're still on it, too, huh?'
'Well, that guy had a point.' My face twisted into a smile. 'He had a nice accent.'
'Didn't he?' My cousin flashed me a grin, 'He seemed young. He was funny, too, no?'
'He was.' I recalled some of the speaker's jokes and smiled, but it faltered, and I remembered the assembly's point. 'I cried.'
'I almost did. A lot of that stuff was sad.'
My throat caught. The streetlights illuminated the road, and there were few cars passing us. We were walking towards the movie theatre, though our boundaries had clearly already been crossed. It was too dark for any real detail, but I could see my cousin easily. And I wondered what she would think'what she would say'
'That's not why I cried.'
My cousin looked at me, and her half smile was still there, ever-present. 'Then why?'
'It's just'.' I inhaled again. 'I can relate to what he was saying. I understood.' We had talked about suicide before, but there was an intensity to my voice that she caught onto almost instantly. 'And it all fit together, but the pieces that clicked were too sad for me to really focus on''
'I get you.' Her voice was starting to thicken too. 'It's sad that so many people took it as a joke.'
'Those annoying idiots next to me were asking for it. I almost decked them for being so insulting.' My anger flared at the memory and I sighed irritably.
'I was holding back from crying a lot.'
'Me, too! It felt so good to finally let it out at the end.' I swallowed. My mouth was running dry.
My cousin and I had been through a lot together. We were the same age and practically sisters from the amount of time we spent together. We had even managed to share the exact same schedule this year, our sophomore year. I wasn't sure how she might handle my darker side. If she knew'what would change? If she knew I was suicidal, how would she act? My relationship with her cannot be even scratched with the deepest of words.
'I liked what he said, that we should take some time to sit down with our friends and talk about it,' she looked at the sky, liking the idea. I swallowed again.
'Don't you remember what else he said, though? What would my friends say? What would they think if they knew I thought like this?' The words he chose that stuck with me most were, Man'this is heavy stuff. I won't forget them.
'That is true'Hey,' she said my name, 'do you ever think about it?'
'Too much lately.' The sobs that had meshed into my regular breathing not too many hours ago were starting to resurface. 'And,' I said her name, 'The reasons behind it are so stupid.'
She inclined her head, a nod, and I launched into details, details of my bursts of frustration of late, my anger, my jealousy, and all the emotions I couldn't handle. I talked about their source, at least of the problems I knew were there.
At this point, we were walking past a busy street and into a lonely road that would take us to the theatre.
'My mom, she's been so angry lately, and I get so mad that she takes it out on me, on whoever's around,' I wasn't fully crying yet, my anger had spiraled too high. 'And I know that I don't have it bad! Many, so many more have it so much worse than me. I'm stupid for seeing that and still feeling this angry.
'And my schoolwork'I've been slacking so much lately, it's not like me at all.' My anger was dimming. 'And I know that you try so hard, too, and it frustrates me that you still don't get the scores I do. Because you deserve it more.
'Those two don't even top my list,' the tears were spilling over my eyes now, 'I don't want to say it like this, but I crave attention. I really do.' She was looking at me sadly, and her eyes were starting to fill up, too; she understood. 'I hate that they ignore me at lunch. If it wasn't for,' I named my best friend, 'and her group, I'd be so alone. And the others wouldn't even notice.
'Lately, I've been hearing about things I'm too clearly left out of. And then,' I inhaled shakily, 'when I do finally snag their attention, it's not enough. I want them to be centered around me, to know I exist. But that is too selfish, and I know it, and that makes me so bad a person.
'That's only some of it'the rest, I can't explain''
'But I know what you're saying,' my cousin hugged me with one arm, and we continued down that lonely road.
'Well'it's all of that, and then that 'some'. And the other weekend'' I swallowed hard, 'I actually looked for pills to down, to overdose. I tried the knife, but it scared me. I actually googled 'how to kill yourself with no pain'.'
At that, we both looked at each other and laughed. It was no joke, but the concept was a little funny.
I vented a little more, my sobs growing, her own eyes watering a little more, but it felt good, it felt right to tell someone. And she felt that it was right to hear it from someone else.
She began to throw in her own pieces. Her own academic failures. Her own mother. I handed it to her there; if anyone could complain about motherly injustices, it was her. Her mother stripped fairness from her all too often. Her friend-problem wasn't as severe as mine, but it was there. She related to me almost exactly. I threw in my comments, my grunts of acknowledgement.
By the time we finished up, we were trailing back to my house on that lonely road.
'You said all that of it not being important, but'' She looked at me sincerely, 'I think that everyone's little personal problem is their whole world. And although it may not mean much to others, even though it doesn't seem as important, that is their world, and it is their take on life.' She breathed evenly, 'It may seem silly to others, but it's what it means to you that counts.'
And I cried. I cried for my stupidity. I cried for her understanding. I cried for the fact that it was finally in the open. I cried for the people I would have left.
We swore to one another that we would not allow ourselves to fall into those very thoughts once more without each other at our sides. We knew with each other, it would make the difference.
My sobs subsided into sniffles when we were on my driveway. She nodded at me and we went back into the house, healthier of conscious than before.