Day Zero: May 5, 2009

May 28, 2011
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It was a Tuesday when I heard the news spreading among the track team as we stood in front of the gym waiting to board the bus to the season league trial. At first I thought it was simply an indiscriminate person that none of us knew who took his life. I did not think much; I told myself that it was not my fault and that I had to stay focused for the race.

It was around 90 degrees that day, sun burning through layers of sunscreen that I had put on. The whole track was filled with the smell of heated rubber. I distracted myself by doing homework as I waited on the bleacher for the 300 meter hurdle event to start. After about an hour, it finally did. By that time the hot temperature and low humidity had made me finish a liter-bottle of Gatorade. The few other girls and I stretched and warmed up. No one communicated with the other, we prepared ourselves in silence. I was in lane seven, which starts second closest to the curve. I could only see one hurdler several feet in front of me in lane eight, as I positioned myself at the starting line with my spikes stabbed into the starting block. I sprang out at the sound of the gun and accelerate before stepping over each hurdle, no hesitation there. I could hear one of the track coaches saying “nice” as I passed by. I managed to keep myself going even though I felt my whole body was screaming at me in exhaustion. I attacked each hurdle that lay between me and the finishing line. I arrived second at the stopwatches that timed us with a 52-second, my personal best of the season.

I kept on distracting myself from thinking about the suicide until I failed to keep it out of my mind. I had to ask my friend if the person was a student at our school, she said yes. The equations and geometric shapes on my math textbook made no sense anymore. I could not solve any problem no matter how hard I tried. My mind kept wandering off to any possible reason that he found logical to take his life, even though I had the perfect answer: depression. On the way back to school, the team played telephone and ate Skittles on the bus, trying to pretend nothing had happened. Everyone seemed upset, rather than excited for our outstanding scores.

I walked home in the dark that day, for I missed the bus. The night wind felt cold on my bare arms. The streets seemed lonely and eerie. I walked in a hurried pace, trying to escape the shadow that seemed to chase after me. It was the usual after-dinner-TV-time when I got home. I broke the news to the cheerful people who were watching television as I slowly moved myself to the food. My sister and I talked for hours in confusion, guessed the reasons. I wanted to let her know so much that I actually understand why one would choose to end one’s own life. But nothing she said made me feel like she would understand any of my point. It was nine at night when I started to do my homework. The night felt like a blur. It was difficult to stay sane and stay in the reality. Every single cell in my body wanted to believe that it did not happen. Such tragedy could not have happened, it’s too heartbreaking to be true. My mind wandered around, I could almost feel his sorrow. I wanted to let someone know that I felt the same way about my life. I may look as cheerful as any other, but deep down I was broken. I was on the edge of falling into the endless hole of agony.





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