Just like all the drug addicts and murderers, I can honestly say that I never set out to be what I am today. In third grade, I wanted to be an astronaut but all the boys told me that’s not for girls like me. At twelve, I wanted to be a writer but my teachers laughed at me, saying that ain’t a real job for people in this town. Their laughter echoed throughout the halls, still echoes inside fissures of my brain some times.
The first time I heard about death was in the form of the grandmother of this boy I hated. I saw her just a couple of days ago in town, walking with her cane and hunched back. For a time, I had a skewed understanding that death only comes with old age and that everyone was safe for now. So it was a huge deal to me when I met cancer. He was nine like me but his hair was falling out in clumps like cotton candy made of honey and he’s got nightskies underneath his eyes that made it look like he carried all the weight of the world. I’ve never heard someone breathe so shallowly, never seen someone so drained out of life.
The first time I heard of suicide was from a news reporter, five minutes before I set out for school.The entire day, I just sat there, not hearing what square roots were for, not even looking out the window like I always did at Math class, counting how many flowers were as blue as I was, just sat so still, the world became the inside of a broken lightbulb.
There were stories. Lots of them, as I was growing up. A boy once told me about a friend of his attempting to kill himself at midnight when his parents weren’t home. Tied a rope around his chandelier and when he jumped, the ceiling caved in. We laughed. Sure,it was funny then. But there were other stories. I went to a bookstore once and just out of a whim, chose a book from the highest shelf and bought it without knowing what it was all about. I got home and plopped it on the couch. I read it two years later during a rainy day when my parents weren’t home. On page two forty one, paragraph two, eighth line, the author wrote about a rainy day when the entire student body discovered a fifteen-year old’s body hanging from a rope inside the gym. I imagine what would happen if the same thing happened in my school. I imagine who I’d become: one of those running away, or if I’d be one of the few with feet planted firmly on the ground, unable to take my eyes off the soft swaying of something so utterly dead.
Let’s face it, there are so many opportunities to die every single day. One step in front of a speeding van to make it look like an accident. One bottle of aspirin to make this headache go away for good. One fifteen-foot drop off the abandoned bridge in the woods, just east of town. One clean cut to the wrist.
Yet we don’t take them. I figured if I were going to go through this, I’d much rather choose something different. A gunshot to the head accounts for over fifty percent of suicides. Suffocation’s almost up to twenty five percent annually now. I knew a guy who guzzled up a gallon of bleach, died more likely of choking than poisoning they say. So I write, and I live. And this is how I kill myself.