A Long Night

By , charlotte, NC
We began to drive towards the coast on June 12th, two days after school had let out. My brother and I were in the car for 3 hours together heading to his house on the beach. It was going to be a weekend of fun adventure and surprise. And little did I know how true that statement was.
This long awaited trip to my brother’s apartment on the beach was an explosion of excitement for me. Also going on the trip with us was going to be our friends who owned the apartment right underneath us. This weekend was going to be great. After miles of Billboards, rest stops, and hundreds of songs, we arrived to my brother’s apartment and crashed. It was late already so we decided to just chill out. Our friends dropped their stuff off and came into our apartment upstairs. We all decided to pull out guitars and a thing we call a buddy burner, which is a metal coffee can filled with wax and cardboard that you can light like a candle. Laughing and singing we all had a great time that night feeling free and relaxed.

We woke up the next morning for our first day on this vacation. The usual 11:30 wake up times with some pop tarts and milk for breakfast. My brother and I were getting ready for our day when Sam, one of our friends, knocked on the door. He told us that Adam, Our other friend, wasn’t feeling well and that he was going to sit out for today and stay at home. I felt terrible for Adam because we had planned this for so long, only to have it ruined by getting sick, so the three of us left to go to a waterpark and snorkeling area. I was thrilled to be able to go snorkeling with my brother or such a great day and a perfect place. We got ready and our guide gave us the safety run down speech he gave twenty times a day, and we headed for the water. All day was very amazing but I was very upset that Adam couldn’t come with us. But after a lunch, some more swimming, some ocean time, and dinner, we were exhausted from the day and went back to the apartments.

We were all ready to crash like the night before, so Sam went to his apartment with Adam and said goodnight. It was my brother and I on a very starry night next to the deep and empty ocean. With guitars in hand and buddy burner lit, slow melodies poured out and my body relaxed in the rocking chair and good times were Rollin’. It was just past midnight and my brother and I were just about to call it a day when we both oddly heard a scream. We looked at each other as if to say “Did you hear that?” and looked over the balcony to listen for the noise again. We heard Sam start screaming bloody murder on the floor below and we both were as white as ghosts. I remember saying to myself, “What the hell is going on?” Extremely confused my brother and I both ran as fast as we could down the stairs and towards Adam and Sam’s door. Sam bolted out screaming his head off about how “sick everything in life was!!” and, “it is all a waste!” My brother and I hurried inside and saw the floor that was flooded and heard the bathtub running. We then saw in horror that Adam was hanging on the curtain rail by his neck. He had hung himself.

Immediately my brother and I’s instincts kicked in and we wasted no time. A few weeks earlier we had taken a CPR a first response class together, and our training was definitely being used here and now. My brother ran to the body and put his shoulders underneath Adams legs to support his weight. I grabbed a knife and cut the towel that hung around his neck, and then we laid him on the wet bathroom tile. We saw he still had a heartbeat so we did everything we had learned. I supported his head while my brother started to check the pulse. We started mouth to mouth resuscitation, but that only delayed the inevitable. He had a broken neck and wasn’t breathing. His pulse exponentially increased so much that you could literally see his heart pounding in his chest, and in one instant it was gone. I started to cry as I held his head and watched as he had his eyes open at me, and took his last breath.

I don’t remember how I felt, but when everything came back to me I realized I was holding Adam in my arms, who was now dead. Next thing I know my brother is talking to paramedics and police officers and I am pulled away from my friend. We were ordered to go downtown and provide statements for what we witnessed, to make everything official and documented. I could barely talk when I was supposed to and I was uncontrollably shaking. No person should ever have to experience that. My friend had taken his life and I was upstairs daydreaming while it happened. As my brother and I drove back to his apartment, we swore to never talk about this, and I never have until now.

Looking back on the whole incident I feel as if I am a completely different person. People always say that death will change you if you see it, but people don’t understand until it happens. I don’t feel haunted or stalked by that memory, but every time I think about it, it sparks a deep and overpowering emotion. I will get sad and upset, but mostly I will get maddened or even furious at the fact I could have done something. Guilt has a way of eating at your soul like that. But if anything, I am stronger. As cliché as it sounds, I feel like I can tackle anything after an experience like that. Not a day goes by where it doesn’t cross my mind, and it will continue to impact my life.





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