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.
Like cells dividing to make more cells, life happens and evolves. I wish division wasn’t an order for the new worlds to be born, but I don’t know how it can be any different.
A woman in my poetry group recited a poem by Marge Piercy, called The Spring Offensive of the Snail and I was sparked by this section of it:
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.”
With Love and Fire, and a heart full of both Heaven and Hell, I wish you a Happy Fourth of July.
Where are you off to for your summer escapade?
Thanks Anna for posting this,It makes me realize the truth behind “Well behaved woman make history”
I had someone who did this similiar act to me all through grade school and middle school and I was always too shy and too “polite to do anything” about it.
When I got to HS there was yet another one, and for the most part I tried my very best to evolve and let her ignorance be her bliss but when she fell asleep during an AP English class Presentation of mine, I confronted her in front of my entire class “Am I boring you A…?” And I got a bad grade b/c she fell asleep during my presentation, and b/c I confronted her. I was both suprised at my reaction, and also Indifferent. I was lectured by our teacher, and I was told by mutual friends they could see where I was coming from, but I could have gone about it in a different way.
I never appoligized I even came home slightly delighted at my chance even if it was only my chance to let her feel the heat on her cheeks that day.
And At our Senior Presentation she blocked me out / photo shopped me out of every group photo that was for graduation.
And When our 10 year reunion was in the planning stages in 07 I found out that she was actually the “Class President” and that suprised me because I don’t remember gaining the allowance to “VOTE” her in… Another injustice?
But IT wasn’t her planning it was ppl who had planned prom ect trying to do it, because Eventually what I found out from my own class and my “Rightful class” that I could have transferred into was that She had turned into a Heroine Addict and was on Methadone for getting clean, and She overdosed and passed away.
I created alot of out right hatred when the remaining friends of hers, wanted to hold a “Vigil” “Ode to A” for her loss of life.
AT the Reunion!
I Said No way, This reunion is for the living! I said “Ding Dong the Witch it dead” and chanted it like the wizard of ozz, Not my proudest moment but I did it, and I lost friends I had already thought I lost anyways.
I felt liberated because I had all those major surgeries and fought for my life, It takes a WILL of life and a mind set to do it and I survived! I never made any appologies. I wasn’t invited nor did I go to her Funeral.
And I hope now that She has a clear conscience and a free soul from what ever chained her down in life, does not do so in death.
No one cares now what I say post the incident, for the Reunion we never had promoting a “Shrine”of sorts. And I recently heard the quote “Those that Matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter”
I’ve learned to let go of the angst for the most part to free my soul from the darkeness of someone else’s life unto mine.
And Although I don’t have plans for the 4th I have better plans for the 9th, where I will finally meet someone who gives me good advice and has become my “Go to person” And that to me might just be even more exciting than a fireworks show!
Have a great time on your vacation! And Looking forward to your posts in the after math!
This is an intense story, wow. I like the word you wrote: “I’ve learned to let go of the angst for the most part to free my soul from the darkeness of someone else’s life unto mine.” and will try to do the same.