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Forever in the Middle Room

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I have the middle room. When I sit on my bed and listen, I can hear what is going on in both of my sibling’s rooms. My brother and sister got into a fight in my sister’s room about an hour ago. The fight was probably initiated by my brother who was trying to seek the attention of his older sister, but his older sister, being who she is, had no patience for his immature antics. This fight got pretty nasty and was forced to end by rare parental interference.

After my mom took my brother out of my sister’s room, she pulled him into his room to put him to bed. My mom was pretty angry, and my brother, sensing her anger, began to cry. My brother was then left in his room to calm down. His room was quiet for a while, with the occasional sound of a whimper.

In the other room, my sister had called one of her friends on her cell phone that I wish she had never gotten. She was talking in that annoying teenager way that made me want to tell her to shut up. I think the reason why her talking bothered me so much was because she and I used to imitate people who talked like that and we laughed at how stupid we sounded when we talked like them.

All of a sudden, my brother opened his door and, in the heat of the moment, screamed, “I’m gonna kill myself!” His words surprised me because I knew he was not so unhappy that he would kill himself and I did not think nine-year-olds knew what killing one’s self meant. Over the next five minutes he repeated those words over and over to my mom while she talked to him in a soothing voice and tried to calm him down.

As I sat in my room listening to my sister’s obnoxious talking and my brother’s death wish, I thought about the fist time I began to understand the concept of suicide.

The first time I was even told there was such a thing as suicide was when I was ten. A friend who remains faceless in my memory taught me that people actually take their own lives. She even followed up with a real life example of a girl at my old school whose mom had committed suicide. I did not get why people would voluntarily kill themselves. I came to the conclusion that these unfortunate people were probably unhappy in a way that I could not imagine. Half a year later I read a story in which the main character killed himself. I was at a family’s house for lunch and after excusing myself from the table, I began to look through their “grown up” books. I found a book of short stories that looked very sophisticated and began to read.

The story was about a man who left his hotel room where his wife was sleeping to go take a walk on the beach and watch the sunrise. After some interaction between the man and a boy on the beach, the man went and lay down in the sand to watch the sunrise. The man thought while he lay in the sand, and his thoughts were seemingly untroubled. When the man got back to his hotel room, he took out a handgun and shot himself through his left temple. I reread the shocking part where the man shot himself, and for me, it really solidified the fact that people, real people, kill themselves.

Now it is seven years later and I am sitting in the middle room. All is quiet now except for the occasional jingle from my sister’s phone that signifies a new text message. I am sitting in my room, listening to the chirp of the crickets, hoping that my brother will never again threaten to kill himself.





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