It was Wednesday. After lunch -- around one -- the schedule has a group session listed on the bulletin board on the upper-top, right-hand side of the medication office. They even had both the telephones on each side of the medication center. The hours we were allowed to call the outside world were seven a.m to eleven p.m., though, no one can make any calls between the hours of six and eight p.m., as every day we were allowed visitors. Now my stay was not mandatory; anyone can check themselves here if they feel they are a threat to themselves. There was this seemingly tall person -- roughly close to seven feet. He wore this really light orange shirt. I asked him if this was his first stay, he replied how he’s been here twice; this was his third time. He had just come back from doing electroshock therapy. Never would I think they still use those practices in today’s day and age, but he remarked how it kind of works. I mean, it’s not a permanent solution, but he said it helps jolts (no pun intended) him back to a sense of grounded reality. I guess if I wanted to make any attempt to appear better, I should make an effort to go to the groups. Maybe participation can cure clinical depression and Bipolar disorder.
“If you go to the groups, they’ll release you in two weeks,” my roommate, Nate, said. Those were the only words he said to me in his entire duration. He actually left on the third day I was there, so I got another roommate. I guess that’s one thing the world can’t lack -- a fresh supply of crazies. I never knew anything about him; all I remember was how those three days, he just stayed in bed. He only ever got up during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And to occasionally refill his cup with diet coke. He never had any visitors, too. Man, now I’m getting depressed just thinking about someone I barely know.
The ward only contained around thirty patients, but when I turned up for the session, around only seven people where present, including the coordinator. It was the ward’s on-call therapist, Dr. Zelner. He was the first person who interviewed me on my first day when I voluntarily checked in. He seemed like a warm kind of person, though from his young age, I think he’s one of those eagerly young doctors, ready to make a difference in the
world. Give him around eight years and see that enthusiasm fade. I think it was even more kind of pathetic how there were only three sessions held a week for a mere one hour a week; I would kind of think a ward filled with people wanting to kill themselves would need more attention.
Roughly thirty minutes into the session, I realized why I avoided doing group therapy: It’s such a bore! The only thing worse than hearing everyone’s story about how they attempted to kill themselves and wound up here is desperately trying to pretend like you give a shit. It’s not being mean; I genuinely am a nice person towards hearing anyone’s plight, but after a while, it all feels like white noise.
I kind of dozed off and was remembering what lead me to this place. It was three days ago and I had planned to shoot myself on the tenth floor of this office building that I’d heard has a beautiful view. They usually close around midnight, but I managed to get in due to the back entrance that they haven’t bothered to fix the lock for months. I reached the top, I looked over and it was truly marvelous. Almost so marvelous that I forgot I had the gun under my chin. It was definitely quiet. I felt at ease.
Then I heard the door open, and turned around and saw this small figure across from me -- It was a woman.
“Oh damn, I’m so sorry. I Didn’t know there was someone up here,” she said.
I was just stuck in a frozen gaze.
“I’ll just go back inside, again, sorry.”
I turned around; never minding the slight inconvenience. I guess the gun to the chin wasn’t much of a proverbial cry for help.
“Can I borrow that when you’re done?”
“What?” I questioned her.
“The gun. Would you mind if I could possibly borrow that when you’re done?”
I was utterly baffled.
“Uh, yeah. Sure. I kind of need some privacy here.”
“Oh yes! I’m sorry. I’ll just face the corner. Go ahead. Do your business.
This was really surreal. Whatever. I can’t let anyone distract me now. I immediately tried to pull the trigger, but it didn’t move.
“Are you kidding me? This shit is isn’t working!”
“Do you have the safety off?” she uttered.
I checked and I’ve never felt more stupefied in my life.
“Jesus, let me do it!”
She marched towards me with such an attitude to turn it off, but I moved the gun away from her.
“I can do it myself, thank you,” I said, sarcastically.
“You’re such an amateur. Get a move on! I don’t have all day!” she yelled.
“Fuck off! I just got this a week ago!”
“What’s wrong with going old school and jumping off like I was going to?”
“I hate heights. I don’t want to die while being scared.”
All this time I was thinking how several minutes ago I was supposed to be dead, and yet here I am, prattling along with this person. What are the odds this had to happen now?
I turned around but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. You know how when you decide to act upon something but the implications don’t really sink in until that moment? Well, that moment pretty much ruined that day for me. I dropped the gun and turned to her.
“Why the hell couldn’t you come twenty minutes later? You ruined everything!”
“Fine, I’ll do the honors.” She quickly raced in my direction and extended her long, thin arm to grab the gun. I stepped on it so she couldn’t even grasp it.
“Okay, wait, let’s just stop this. Just sit down with me.”
“Why? You don’t know me. You can’t tell me what I can and can’t do. Maybe I’ll jump off now!” she exclaimed.”
“If you wanted to, you would have done it.”
She had a disgruntled look and slammed her right leg down and basically plopped herself across from me on the floor.
“So, what now?” she questioned.
“I don’t know. I didn’t really think that far. Haha.”
She looked dissatisfied at my poor joke.
“Well, first off, I’m Jason. You are?"
“Well, I guess, if anything, what brought you here?”
“Nothing. Just life. What about you? Life seems pointless? Just bored?” she said, with such a sarcastic tone in her voice.
“Well, yeah. Pretty much. Just tired of my depression and how life is just one big routine. Nothing new or exciting. I just can’t see a good reason to keep going on.”
“Thanks for setting the future up for me,” she said with a sudden melancholy."
It’s not true for all people. Everyone’s different. I mean, you look really beautiful. You pretty much have life half-way set up for you.”
“Are you trying to hit on me now?"
“If I wanted to hit on you, I would have made it more obvious.”
She chuckled. Finally, some life in her. But she soon turned her face down towards the ground.
“Well, I can say without knowing your situation. It’s all normal. All this school crap and trying to fit in the mold or finding your place -- it’s all happened to everyone. This school drama and just feeling like a speck in the universe. I understand. The best part is that it’s such a minuscule part of your life. You’ve got so much to look forward to.”
She had a questionable look in her eyes; I tried to lean a little closer to her.
“Come on, Alexis. What’s eating up inside you? What are you? Eighteen? Nineteen? This is just one-fifth of your life. Think of that empty four-fifths yet to be explored. Like, imagine not being able to eat pizza again. Or ice cream."
“I--I don’t know,” she sighed, with some pain and quivers in her voice. “Like, just this. Now. Then college and to have a career. I can’t just grasp it. I’ve never really had a lot of friends. I feel like piece of waste. You know what’s my favorite quote from Bukowski? When he says how he’s, ‘a thumb print on the window of a skyscraper. A smudge of excrement on a tissue-’
‘ -surging out to sea with a million tons of raw sewage.’ ” I concluded.
“Yes! Aw! You read Bukowski, too?” She smiled with so much glee.
“Oh yeah. I was around your age when I read him, but here’s the thing: Bukowski was a chauvinistic, drunken reprobate who wrote in his own squalor and filth, going on about rambling about his life. You don’t have to become that. It’s okay to feel a kinship towards an author, but you don’t want to take on their identities.”
I stared into her eyes, with the hopes of my words resonating in her brain.
“Everything you’re going through, I went through. It’s okay. You’re never alone. I mean, me? I’m just going through some imbalances in my head -- I’m fucked for life. But you’ve got potential awaiting to be tapped.”
She started to smile, not in the happy-go-lucky conventional way, but the kind of smile that reaffirms the hopeful notion that things will be okay. “What do you mean ‘imbalances?’"
“Imbalances. I’m seriously depressed, and I got Bipolar to sweeten the deal, my head is just in utter chaos every day. I’m at my end right now. That’s my problem.”
“Come on, let me drive you home. Your parents are probably worried.”
I picked her up, got her on her feet and we proceeded to walk down the staircase. I slipped the gun back in my pants.
“But wait!” She stopped and turned towards me. “What about you? Will you be okay?
“Oh, pfffff! I’ll be fine.”
I don’t believe you. I think you should get yourself checked in or something. Just to clear your head.”
“I appreciate the concern, but I’ll be fine.”
“Like hell you’re fine. You still have the damn gun!”
“Fine. Then how about I check myself at the hospital, will
that make you happy?”
She hugged me. Never quite had this feeling. The feeling where you finally feel like the warm gooey center of someone’s life, instead of that grey matter. I didn’t check myself in; would I really be that so undetermined by something as suicide that I would be swayed by the endearing eyes of a child? Please. Now it may appear that I might come off as somewhat of a hypocrite for what I have done, but I can’t comprehend it -- just seeing someone so young and where you feel even though no one came to you in your time of need as a kid, why would I to her? Well, it’s hard. Seeing someone in the same position as you’re in puts things in perspective: what kind of person would I be if she led by example? I immediately went home. However, I must hand it to her, she did call the cops, and around thirty minutes later, they came and took me to be evaluated at the local hospital. I was released after two weeks. If you’ve read this far, you’re such a patient person! As a suicide note, I didn’t want to blubber on how “life is just a miserable, meaningless existence.” I just want to jot down something that is currently lingering in my head
Author Notes: Sorry that it is super long.
I am not considering suicide; it is just a story that incorporates suicide. But this is my first time writing an actual short story, so please forgive me if it's not good, per se. But any helpful feedback is much appreciated!