“I was ready to die last summer.”
It was all I needed to hear to draw the line.
She has depression.
I didn’t need to be told twice, I went in for the hug. I went in for the act of comfort and reassurance almost immediately. She had a rough time and she didn’t deserve it. She didn’t deserve for her parents to rid her of her internet access. She didn’t deserve to be cut off from all of her friends, yet it happened anyways.
It was on field day at our school. We had already finished our laps for that day, so we had been relaxing in the grass. I can’t remember most of the conversation, but what was said and what was realized was clear.
She had told me “I cut so much last summer...”
And, naturally, I took her arm and held it up to be inspected. “Where are the scars? They better not be new!” Fairly stupid to say, looking back, but I hadn’t known better.
She replied by giggling out, “I didn’t cut that deep, silly, plus I’m not cutting now.”
I let out a sigh of relief- but it was too little too soon, for she said, “I was also ready to die last summer.”
I stalled, then hugged her. I hugged her tight and long, trying to let her know that I was there for her, awaiting to know what it was she needed at any given moment. So she continued, “My Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me use the computer or anything because they were scared that I’d get more depressed from that, but,” she giggles, “They were wrong. Not being able to talk to anyone made it worse, and I got super suicidal and cut a lot. I told them I wanted, needed, help and my Mom promised to take make me to a psychiatrist. She probably doesn’t care or she forgot because it never happened.”
I said hopefully, “But you made it. And now you’re happy and having fun with us,” I beamed at those facts.
Yet she shut me down, “But I’m still depressed. Just with one less thing to be depressed about, and a bunch more because of it.”
I defied, “But you’ll make it because you’ve got us to watch your back. You know that, right? Even if everyone isn’t ready to do anything for you, I am because I don’t want you gone.”
She continues to let cats out of her bags, “But then I’ll be a burden, that’s why I cut, because I’m just a burden to you all. I can’t do anything for you, I just keep soaking up what you have.”
I retorted, “No, I don’t see you as a burden because you try to make it up to me, you try to have fun and spare me from the fact that you cut as a way to make up for the fact that I try my damndest to help you. And I really appreciate it, it shows me that you aren’t just some deadbeat feeding off my kindness. You won’t become a burden to me until you commit suicide, but thankfully that won’t happen.”
She squeezes in and smiles warmly, “Thanks.”
And I end the roll that I was on, “I don’t like that you cut, but I’d rather your skin be split than your blood be spilt.” Which was pretty much me saying I’d rather her cut than die.
She smiled even more warmly (which I didn’t think was possible) and we hugged and continued to truck on through our day, despite what had been said.
This short story was a combination between a past conversation and a fairly recent conversation. The name of the friend that was the center of this story will not be released, she is already receiving help from her current school counselor. I repeat, her name will not be released.