The Diary of Charles Higgins

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He was quiet, he was shy, and he made you depressed just looking at him. His name was Charles Higgins. No one ever knew there was anything wrong with Charles until one fateful day when he did something no one could have believed. But to understand Charles we need to go back to the beginning.

It was the first day of high school and everyone was excited. All the freshmen were wearing their nicest clothes to leave a good first impression. I was a sophomore and didn’t really care how I dressed, it was just another school year to me. Charles was a freshman too but he did not seem as excited as the other kids. He walked around seemingly not caring about his surroundings. I am not sure why, but he interested me from the first time I saw him. On that day I passed him in the hallway multiple times and tried to engage in conversation with him, but he just ignored my words like wind blowing in his ear. This made me even more interested in him. I decided to do a little project on Charles. I would study him throughout the school year observing his reactions to different events.

After a couple of weeks studying his boring everyday routine, someone new come into the picture. He was a senior named Buck. Buck was not a very nice or pleasant person. His favorite pastime was picking on “little” freshman. He liked to call them “freshmeat”. Charles seemed to be his favorite of all the freshman to pick on. Every time I saw the two together Buck would either be shoving him into a locker, dumping trash on him, or just plain beating him up. You could tell Charles took this daily treatment hard. Every day after an encounter with Buck, Charles seemed to slide more deeply into a depression. I thought to myself, “This is getting ridiculous. Someone should stop Buck”, but I didn’t have the courage to speak out. Little did I know that if I had spoken, I might have changed the course of events that would occur within the next week.

It was the Monday after winter break and everyone was reluctantly back at school. That was the day that Charles approached me for the first time. He said, “I know you’ve been following me. I know you’ve been studying my life as a freshman. You think you know me so well? Then maybe you can tell me what’s wrong with me?”. He handed me a folded piece of paper and left without saying another word. I unfolded the paper and inside of it was written, “I feel trapped and confused. I just want everyone to disappear, where there’s no one to bother me, and nothing to fear. Is that bad?”. This was my first confirmation that Charles was on the brink of severe depression and maybe worse. After lunch I found another piece of paper in my locker. It was from Charles. “No one understands me except you. I fear I might do something I don’t want to do. I’m lost.” I received multiple notes like this from Charles throughout the week.

Thursday afternoon I received a particularly strange note from Charles. It said, “My dad is a cop, I have a gun”. I didn’t quite know what he meant until the next morning. I had a note taped to my locker this time. The note said, “I have no other options. This is what I must do. Every one in this school will die, except for you. Thanks for listening”. An immediate shock and disbelief came over me. Once I got hold of myself, I dropped my bag and ran for the nearest teacher. But it was too late. Three gunshots, that’s all I heard. Three. I ran outside and saw a bloody mess. Lying there on the floor was Buck, the principal, and Charles. He had killed them and put a bullet through his own head.

The catastrophe threw the entire state into turmoil. After this incident people saw Charles as “unstable” or “a psychotic mess”. I knew the truth though. He was not psychotic, he was depressed. He needed someone there for him, someone to talk to. I could have been that person but I chose instead to observe him from a distance.

I kept all of Charles’s notes. I decided to give them to a local newspaper to set the record straight. The article was on the front page, the heading – “The Diary of Charles Higgins”. “It wasn’t exactly a diary”, I told them. I did like the name though. This article immediately caught the attention of many TV news stations and talk shows. I ended up doing a lot of interviews. This was my opportunity to speak out and tell Charles Higgins’s story. I told the world about a boy who made a drastic and terrible decision, but at the end of it all, he never was a bad person. The story might have been different but everyone including me did not do enough to try to change the ending. Hopefully, it will be different next time.





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Stephenmcrey said...
Apr. 6, 2009 at 9:32 pm
That was good.
Could you check this out to give me feedback?

TeenInk.com/raw/Fiction/article/96942/Our-Army/
 
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