For the first few months after I would no longer exist, my mom would still open my bedroom door to wake me up, maybe even open her mouth to say my name, but upon looking at an empty bed with normally places pillows, devoid of a mop of messy hair and a sprawled out tangle of limbs, she would absolutely break down, lean against the doorframe, lock her eyes onto the worn keys of my piano, and just let the dam break.
My dad would sit down at his desk, reach down to the mini fridge for a soda, and catch a glimpse of that picture of me from when I was little, a bob pointing down to my chin and my arm wrapped around a basketball, and he would just stare at it for a while. Maybe he'd take it down. Maybe he'd lose his appetite.
My friends would be confused. Eventually, my number would become someone else's number, and there would be a very confused person having to answer to many worried inquiries about a mysterious figure with my name. Some friends would find out before others. My mother would probably call certain close friends' parents and give a gentle speech. And news would travel, be it slowly or otherwise, through the networks. Ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, old bullies, old teachers, old classmates. Then the branch would continue to the school I attend now—perhaps a candlelight vigil, a meeting in the Ferguson Auditorium, an intervention as to NOT LET THIS HAPPEN EVER AGAIN. My friends would be confused, then they'd be sad, then they'd transition into anger, and then things would fade.
My therapist would be pissed. My parents would be so caught up in grief that they'd forget to tell her until their phones would vibrate with an alarm to pick up daughter and they'd send a quick text. I don't know what it would say. But I think my therapist would probably spend an empty session with her hearing aids turned off with her head in her hands, maybe looking over the notes from our past sessions, seeing if there was anything she missed, if there was any way to prevent this.
My little brother would cry, maybe. He wouldn't really understand. Likely, we still hadn't explained why I was in the hospital, or why I was short with him most of the time, or why I needed time alone sometimes, or why our family went to great lengths to keep all Tylenol bottles out of my grip. He would definitely react. It just depends on how much, how old he is, how much he knows about who I am. Was.
My mom would post something on Facebook. My dad would memorialize my account. People would wonder where I was. People would share memories. The hype would die eventually, but I can't deny that something would happen should I disappear, even if I wish that were the case. I feel as though people tell themselves that people wouldn't care because it would make things so much easier. It would remove the guilt from the action, the sentiment from the situation. It would make disappearance so much less intense and life-changing.
I am depressed. I have drawn the short straw, in many respects, and this will linger for a long time, if not forever. I have tried to disappear so many times, in so many ways, and it's exhausting. The façade of okay-ness and stability is exhausting. But I don't want to die. I've never wanted to die; all I've wanted is an escape. It just so happens that for me, and for so many others, the only escape we find appealing and achievable is not a temporary one.
If I stopped breathing due to my own devices, my mom would still have a portfolio of my work in her closet. My wallet would still have my ID in it, my room would still have all of the yearbooks I've collected since I was 5 years old. My mom would remember the first time I had a panic attack in front of her, my dad would remember the time we stayed up late and I laid on the floor as he walked me through the steps of a procedure to get rid of my vertigo. My grandparents would remember asking if I wanted medicine as I threw up into a bag after my first life threatening overdose. My grandpa would remember sitting in the waiting room of the lab with me as I waited to get my blood taken, to check if my liver was still functional. My brother would remember the time I told him that my friend's cat had scratched me down my arms.
Things like this last. Tagged photos last. Watercolor paper, failed attempts at relationships, my name scratched into the plastic of my laptop, the love of others that I've built over my lifetime. It all lasts, and it makes it harder for people to let you go.
People would miss you. People would miss me. They would miss us.