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To All Of You
I was at the head of my bed, crisscrossed, and Caroline was sprawled out at the foot of my bed, her dirty looking toenails with only the center part left painted, which barley just reached my striped hot dog pillow.
It was quiet, & I left Caroline to her thoughts. It wasn’t the awkward type of silence I normally felt…it was peaceful.
I hated to ruin it, but I grabbed for my stuffed panda Bamboo, putting his head to my nostrils. I breathed in deeply. I felt comfort. I felt distressed.
I leaned against my head board, feeling warmed by the sound of the creak in my bed I know so well, as the beans in Bamboo tumbled on top of each other while I shifted him to the crescent of my other armpit. I cuddled him close to my chest, and brought my knees to my chin, creating more heat. It may have been spring out, but I couldn’t help the goose bumps from reproducing on my arms. I watched intently, as the hair on my arms stuck up right after a chill shimmied up my spine.
What happened next was going to disrupt the silence. If I didn’t do it now, I thought, then I’ll have it bottled up inside forever. I took the dive, and went for it. I took one more deep breath, my last breath before I swore Caroline to secrecy.
I remember I was glad that Caroline interrupted. Like, usual, she took away the spotlight. Normally I’d be pretty upset, but in this particular case, I was fine with it. I flicked it off like it was nothing. I still knew I had to say something though.
“I can not wait for Tori’s Man Hunt Party…I heard Nick & Tori we’re going to hide together! I’m like super excited. It’s going to be so much fun. Like, the whole grade is going!”
I skunked down, and felt that feeling again. It was a shiver almost, but there was a bit of blushing to it. I knew what it was, but I just didn’t want to admit it.
Jealousy & feeling left out. Where do I begin with that? Those two feelings I had been feeling lately, but didn’t want to admit it.
I said what was on my mind for a while & was scared to say it aloud, but I mean, Caroline was my friend right? I could trust her not to be mean…I’d hope.
“I think it was kind of mean….rude…disappointing,” I changed my words quickly not to seem too upset but to show her slightly & stealthily.
“Yeah, I think it was kind of disappointing that she invited like everyone in the grade but me and Hannah. I mean, it was up to her and I guess she had a limit to whom and how many to invite, but I really thought that her and I were friends. I’m pretty upset.”
Caroline nodded like she understood, but deep down I knew that she liked Tori better than me...everyone did.
I decided now more than ever was it best to admit to Caroline what I had been feeling about the cliques at school.
This was the day, this moment right here, the way she talks about it today, I knew & always will know Caroline will was my actual true friend. No strings attached. No scam.
I could trust her forever more.
I don’t remember how I said it. Everything was a blur up to the point that Caroline was crying softly, whispering calmly to herself, “I could have done something to help. I’m so sorry. I can’t believe this.”
She was holding her hand to her forehead like she had a headache. She was swaying her head in a no motion, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
I was curled up tightly together in the fetus position, never wanting to unravel. I felt secure and comforted from the outside world.
It was quiet as we took and stayed in our positions for what felt like along time. I didn’t want to talk and ruin the silence.
I felt guilty blaming it on Caroline out loud, but I secretly knew I was the victim in all of this.
Caroline still had tears running down her cheeks slowly, when my mom came & knocked on my door.
“Are you staying for dinner Care?” my mom shouted through the door.
Like someone writes their names in wet cement, the look Caroline gave me was permanently marked in my mind for eternity.
Trying to look like we were just talking, she speedily wiped down her eyes and cheeks with the whole palm of her hand. We finally met at a glance which didn’t feel usual. It felt foreign and awkward like when you go bowling and have to wear used shoes.
“Don’t open the door Emily!” Caroline rapped quietly but sternly. “She can’t see me crying!”
I came back to reality. I hopped up from my bed glumly, and reached for the door handle without jiggling it. Finally in synch with my voice, I spoke through the door that still had my animal posters from 3rd grade. What once made me happy now made me depressed. Where did my happiness go?
“She’d like to, Mom.” My voice wasn’t strong.
“Okay, then call Alicia!” My mom’s voice was bubbly and bright like usual. Good, she doesn’t know, I thought.
I went slowly back to my spot looking down at my feet in shame.
“How were you gonna do it?” She made me trip. “That’s all I want to know.”
Tears were forming in her eyes again, and I could tell she was trying her hardest not to burst out in loud heaving sobs, Her shoulders were shaking timidly and once again her cheeks were tear streaked.
I bit my lip the slightest bit and pointed about Caroline to my ceiling, her eyes following magically, glossed & shiny from the tears. “Um, see that plant hanger? Well I was gonna…”
I couldn’t finish. It was too difficult. She fortunately knew what I meant. She knew what I was trying to message. She looked at me sincerely, and slowly buried her head inter her hands and placed them into her lap, and then quickly was in a steady cry again.
In a way, I totally regretted saying anything at all. Suicide was a scary topic, and it was really tough to say it out loud. Heck, my parents don’t even know.
But, we were only in 5th grade, and though I thought about it daily, I knew I would and I could never bring myself to actually doing it.
It’s like this: The girls at my school were extremely mean to me, but I don’t think it was deliberately. I knew they hated me. They said I was a slut & a brat and was too full of myself when what I felt was insecure and left out and never thinking highly of myself and knowing I wasn’t popular.
Caroline has always been a follower with the “In” crowd. (Up until 7th grade.) Only with me was she her true self, but as soon as we were in front of a public, popular group, she would ditch me and talk behind my back—I would never know and will never know, if what she said about me back then was actually what she felt, or if it was the “popularity” talking.
Even though I’m “sober” today, I’m still fragile and sensitive about what people think of me. I am recovered though.
I know I make it seem like my case of depression was really bad, but it totally wasn’t. It was just my first big experience with bullying.
My parents have no idea what I went through, and I want to keep it that way. I know they would be devastated if they knew their littlest girl, was having these thoughts. I can’t do that to them, but that’s okay because I have my friends to help me through the rough times. My good friends talk me through things, along with Caroline of course.
I also write about it; my seventh grade short story was written around my problems but taken further with my fictional character “Olivia.”
I cringe at the word suicide and get embarrassed and uncomfortable when someone brings it up, feeling like the whole world knows.
I got through it, and Hey! I’m still alive! But, I know it was a mistake ever thinking that. I have a loving family, great friends, and good luck. So, don’t worry. I’m all better now.