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The pen starts shaking violently in my hands before I can write another word. I keep it down, on the table, and clasp my palms together, taking deep breaths. Maybe I can stop myself… no, I cannot.
If I could, I wouldn’t be sitting at this table in my room, alone in the house, with a packet of The Pills next to the mess of books and stationery. I wouldn’t be writing my final farewell to my mother.
I take up the pen again and set it to paper, but I’m at a loss for anything to write. I shudder as the huge enormity of what is about to happen weighs yet another immaterial burden on my shoulders.
“This is a suicide note,” I mumble, clutching the near-blank piece of paper in my hands. “A real, true suicide note.”
They say you never understand a problem until it hits closer to home. I’ve read so many headlines about teenagers ending their lives… but it’s seemed surreal. Now, all those headline tell me is that it can be done. Yes, this has hit real close.
I take another deep, calming breath. The packet of pills sits innocently on the table, not feeling my depression, but there to help me end it.
‘Firstly, I’d like to say how much I love you.’
That seems like a good way to start. I have to let her know that her motherly affection has been acknowledged. Even though I won’t be here to see more than seventeen years of it.
‘You’ve been great… you’ve brought me through a lot… even though you’ve gone through a lot yourself.’
It was never easy being a single parent, but mom had made it seem that way.
Well, I had been a burden to my teachers. An outcast, with no friends. Full of potential that I never used, according to anyone and everyone who spoke of me behind my back.
This hateful, hateful Earth.
No- what am I thinking? If so many people can get along just well with the world, the problem lies with me. There’s only so much hate a person can take, and only so much the world can give. That’s what brought me to this decision. That’s what gave me the courage to lift the burden on so many people who have to be nice to me to my face…
A burden. That’s what I have become. Was that ever how Mum thought of me? I wouldn’t blame her if she did. I was never the perfect child for her. And yet she put up with me for 17 years, how many days? I don’t bother calculating. I could do that mentally, but my mind is wandering now. No surprise.
I check the clock which sits among the clutter on my table, ticking pleasantly as it would on any morning. It’s 3’50. I have forty minutes, just forty minutes, until my mother gets back from wherever she’s gone. Where has she gone? I don’t remember. I don’t need to- by the time she’s back, Lauren Black will be a memory.
It’s that easy.
I turn my eyes back towards the ruled sheet, my scraggly handwriting ruining the perfection of the blue lines. Just like my messy existence has ruined people’s lives. Probably. Or has it just been them ruining mine?
No. I can’t blame anyone else for my feelings. Mum wouldn’t encourage that.
‘I did live by what you taught me, you know. Even though it didn’t seem like that. And you have taught me a lot.’
What has she taught me? I ponder this for a while. For a moment it’s like I’m back in middle school, writing an essay we’ve been assigned. That’s before the weight of the impending deed crashes on me again, and forces more words out of me.
‘Please don’t take this as your own fault. You are wonderful. Let me just acknowledge all the great things about you.’
Hmm, great things about her…
BEEP! The clock tells me an hour is up- it’s 4 ‘o’ clock, and I have thirty minutes to finish a wasted life.
I go into a panic. The last thirty minutes of my existence- maybe I have even less. “Hurry up, Lauren,” I chide myself. “Write the damn letter already.”
I breathe deeply, remembering the yoga classes I used to do once upon a time with my mom. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.
And then I lose it. I write like I’ve never written before, making the page look like a duck waddled across it, but who cares? I won’t be around later to listen to tirades about my print.
‘You make the best fruitcake… do you remember baking it together? Thanks for teaching me volleyball- I got a lot better because of you. Your violet dress is simply the prettiest, and it brings out the blue of your eyes. I like how I can be normal with you.’
I like it? There’s no point in using the present tense. I add a ‘d’ at the end of the word. Liked.
‘Driving me to and from piano practices must’ve been a lot of work. Thank you. Thanks for helping me through all my awkward teenage times. Everything about you is beautiful. Thank you for everything, mom.’
And, just like that, the brainwave ends. I stop writing random things- because I cannot think of any more random things to write.
That’s that, then.
I reach towards the pills, pretending they are fever pills. I could do with those, anyways- I’m getting a headache just from all the reality of this. A little ‘pop’, and one falls into my hand. I take another. Extras won’t hurt. I want to die, anyways.
Weirdly, nothing’s moving in slow motion. It’s as normal as me popping mints on any Saturday afternoon.
The pen is still in my left hand- the one I write with- as I lift my right to my mouth.
But my eyes fall on the note… it’s missing one vital component.
I haven’t told Mum goodbye.
I sigh. Why am I putting this off? ‘Just do it,’ I tell myself. I can’t stop, though. I put my hand back in a writing position, gripping my pen so tightly that the grooved side digs into my finger, and write my final words.
‘With this, I end my letter. All I would like to say, Mum…’
My farewell is all that is needed to complete the note. I read over it again, which is hard since I am shaking again, quivering with little spasms of fear.
And then a single tear falls down my cheek.
Not a burden, it seems. Now I see that I’ve been her support… just as she’s been mine. I have no right to take that away from her.
For the last time, I start to write, realization bringing unto me a new dawn.
‘All I would like to say, Mum…
Thanks for keeping me alive.’