I remember a girl in junior high. She was my only friend. If I didn’t do what she said or I did something she didn’t like, she would threaten to cut herself. I walked on egg shells to keep her around.
One day, from a phone that I dragged into a small closet off of the dining room, so that my parents couldn’t hear about the darkness that surrounded me, reflective of the small darkness of the closet I was hiding in (I only had to open it to escape into light), I became so exhausted of the threats. I told her to go right ahead and do it; go cut herself. She hung up on me, to fetch a knife I suppose.
The next day in P.E. class, kids congregated around her and her bandages that were wrapped thickly around both of her wrists, like Wonder Woman’s superhero bracelets, except they were made of white woven gauze instead of shiny solid gold.
The kids gawked and stared open-mouthed in my direction as I stood there alone, on the other side of the gym. They deemed me heartless, monstrous and cold. I now had no friends and any potential friends all perceived me as an asshole, yet I was surprised to find myself delightfully riding high on the waves of liberation. I stood my ground and dribbled a ball.
A messenger pigeon was sent to ask me, “She wants to know why you did that to her.” Still fizzled with hot coals of temperament from the evening before, I answered, “If she wants to die, she should just die.”
The messenger pigeon ran back to the group to deliver my message and I watched as shock rippled with mumbles and strange expressions across the faces of the kids in huddle around Suicidal. I tried to shoot the ball into the basket. I missed. I ran to retrieve the ball and brought it close to my body, and that’s when the huddle started laughing and looking in my direction. Anger welled up and I found myself shouting at the stupid kids, “Why don’t you ask her if you can see what’s under those bandages. She’s probably lying. Why would her parents send her back to school the day after she tried to kill herself?”
A fiery glare came through Suicidal’s eyes and shot me like a laser until she jerked her head dramatically, causing her hair to whip forward as she brought her hands to cover her face. Was she crying? She ran out of the gym, a few concerned girls chasing after her (I suspect they just didn’t want to play basketball and were looking for an excuse, any excuse, not to).
The ones left behind and myself, would pick up a ball and play, like the teacher had instructed us to do (I can’t recall where or what the teacher was doing, but I don’t remember her being there at all).
No one ever asked me anything more about the incident. It was quickly forgotten. No one ever saw Suicidal’s scars. They miraculously healed up perfectly.
This was the last interaction I had with Suicidal, until just recently, when she requested my friendship on Facebook, which I accepted. I looked over her profile for something new and redeeming to latch onto. Her kids are cute and it appears she carries a very strong Christian belief, which is great. Maybe that’s how she’s kept from killing herself all these years.
That story has long gone past, but it seems there’s always someone around who is similar in character to this girl.
Recently, I again had to call someone’s bluff. It wasn’t about suicide this time, but similar in some ways. She’s now relaying to others what a victim she was to a monster like me. Here I am on my side of the court, the world divided.
I just recently found this quote by Charlie Chapman and find a certain calmness about knowing that maybe this is how things have to happen:
Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born.
But remember to bury
all old quarrels
behind the garage for compost.
Forgive who insulted you.
Forgive yourself for being wrong.
You will do it again
for nothing living
resembles a straight line,
certainly not this journey
to and fro,
you there and me here
making our own road onward
as the snail does.
Like the snail, house tied around it’s back, I’m packing for my summer vacation. I’ve got the house-sitter lined up and I remind myself I will be able buy anything I might forget, to keep me from stressing out too much about the packing process (packing stresses me out).
I look forward to coming home with wind in my hair and new stories to share.
I’ve placed old quarrels and egg shells in the compost pile out back, and I’m walking out into the world with one bag, my hoop, a pillow and an open heart ready to be filled with light, love and relaxation.
Maybe my relationships with the bullies are like fireworks, set and packed for the 4th of July. So close in their dark containment of volitive potential; once ignited, they will explode up and off into tiny pieces of shimmering light across the sky, sending booming vibrations directly through the center of our bodies and frightening dogs and cats across the land. We will watch in awe as they fall and simmer out into ash and scatter along the lakes and lawns of America, our hearts broken from the beauty and excitement of it all.
I was gifted a booklet at the Burning Man Festival titled, “Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do: Selections from the Poems of Jelalludin Rumi.” It is edited by Ric Amante, Mio Cohen and Ray Soulard, Jr. I refer to it every time I find myself hurt or lost and always find an answer somewhere along its stained and weathered pages. This time, I only had to turn to the very front page of the booklet to find the words, “For Ric Amante, brother, with love and fire. I was raw. I matured. Now I burn.”
Where are you off to for your summer escapade?