He sat there on the apex of that bridge, contemplating eternity. The freezing, winter rain was pummeling down and drowning the world, but he didn't even notice. He was dry in the middle of an ocean. A sea of people. None of them even noticed him sitting on the railing, feet dangling over the edge, ready to jump. He wanted to scream at the top of his lungs until nothing else came out. But he also knew no one would hear him. He was a falling tree in empty woods. The weirdest thought that infected his mind was how after all of the sadness, confusion, and anger had faded away...everyone's lives would continue. He would become a memory. Life didn't stop because he did.
"This is stupid. Who taught you how to write suicide notes? 'Tard."
"Fuck off, Dave! You're not the one dying. Just let me do my thing, man."
"I'm just saying, if you're really gonna man up and do this, you might as well man up and send one last 'fuck you.'"
I hated when Dave decided to inject his beliefs onto me. He had to make me see things his way and do things his way, as if my ideas weren't good enough. I never complained even though I'm pretty sure he knew my thoughts anyways. It was hard to come by a friend who would actually support suicide as opposed to trying to stop me and get help. I wanted to die, and Dave was helping me - encouraging me - to do it. I figured his annoyances would be done soon enough, though.
We spent the rest of that night planning out every possible detail and scenario leading up to and after my death. Our plan was for me to simply jump off of the old Fox Cove Bridge. Nothing spectacular. We picked that bridge because of its perfect location over the river - I didn't want my parents to have to see my splattered body. Well, Dave picked it. I complied. For as horrible as they were to me for my entire life - all of the abuse, neglect...rape - they still kept me alive. They fed me. Housed me. Got me into a nice boarding school that gave me a good education. I didn't want to repay them by having to identify me by my molars. Dave called me a "pussy," but deep down I think he understood.
The note that we wrote was going to be in an envelope, taped to the railing I was going to leap from. If they found it, they'd maybe understand what I was going through mentally. If they didn't, their loss. Despite Dave wanting me to place blame and make people feel horrible for not listening to me when I needed them, I wrote it in a more literary fashion. I didn't want to be remembered as a nut job. I wanted to be remembered as someone of grace and intelligence who just couldn't handle the pressures life threw at me.
Dave and I got to the bridge at about 2am that Thursday night - my birthday. It was windy and raining heavily, just like the forecast predicted. That element was crucial. I wanted bad weather so when my body hit the water it would carry me far, far off so my body wouldn't be found. Dave sat in my car waiting for the moment to come. He was going to honk when he saw that the conditions were just right. That was my signal. I sat up there on the railing as the rain added some extra weight to my clothing so I would fall faster. It was weird. I wasn't scared like I thought I was going to be. I felt...happy. No more beatings. No more "fun" with mom or my sisters. No more shame. I wouldn't feel isolated anymore because I was isolating myself in the ultimate way. Dave honked his horn.
I read a lot of first-hand accounts of survivors instantly regretting their decision to jump. They think about their families and how their situations aren't that bad. Not I. It was bliss to me. When the water hit me I felt cleansed and renewed. I kept going deeper and deeper until the black depths of the river engulfed me into it's core. But I didn't stop sinking. Rather, I picked up momentum. I started falling faster and faster with every passing second. My body started burning up just as quickly as I fell. In the blackness I swear I began seeing flashes of my family crying and screaming. They seemed...sad. Genuinely sad. For the first time in my life they seemed...remorseful. Before I had time to comprehend what images I was making out, a piercing blue flash overtook the darkness. When it subsided I was sitting in a chair at a desk in an interrogation room.
Dave was sitting across from me.
"Wh- Da.." Dave held up a hand before I was able to form a real word.
"Let me start." He put his hand down a took a sip from a red mug on the desk. "For starters, congrats! You killed yourself! Happy for, man. I really am. I was certain you were gonna puss out like most of them do. You had balls, though. Nice. Fucking. Job."
I started looking around the room. Gray, dimly lit walls surrounded us. One had a large mirror, and one had a steel door. It was literally your stereotypical interrogation room. The same kind I had seen on CSI reruns about a hundred times.
"Wha-" Dave held up his hand again.
"No, dipshit. You aren't in Hell. You're not in Heaven. You aren't in purgatory or that weird place people in the Middle-East think they go." Dave rattled off sarcastically. "We're in my office. We're nowhere. Seriously. If you open that door it leads right back to your seat. Really! Try it if you want. It's kind of trippy the first few times."
"I...I don't understand."
"Okay. So, you jumped off a bridge. Fox Cove bridge. You hit the water. You died. Can we agree on that for the panel?" He nodded his head over to the large, reflective window.
"Yeah. I did that. Yeah."
"Great!" Dave took another sip from his mug. "Want some? It's coffee. I can't get through my days without it."
"Sh..sure." A red mug identical to Dave's appeared next to my elbow like a seamless jump cut. "Thanks.."
"Alright. So, you're in my office. My job is to assess whether or not to let you die. The panel will be observing and making their judgements based on your answers and actions. If you pass, you die. If you fail, you live." He paused and looked at me perplexed. "Shit. Maybe it's the other way around. Doesn't matter. If you deserve to die, we'll let you die. If not then sorry, dude. You've gotta go back."
"What?!" I stood up in a panic. "I can't go back! You know what they did to me!" I sobbed and fell back into my seat.
Dave sighed. "Such a pussy. Question One: how does this make you feel?"
Dave's skin began oozing down his body like fondue on a piece of meat. Blonde hair started poking out from under it as Dave checked his watch. "Guys, really? I don't have all fucking day." He complained to the window in a cracking voice. "Do me a favor: blink."
I did, and in the microsecond my eyelids took to reopen, my mother was now sitting in front of me. She was a more..voluptuous woman. Not in a bad way, but the lingerie she was wearing didn't flatter her when she wasn't on her back.
"Let's fuck, honey." She whispered as she leaned over to me, letting her sagging breasts hang just over my hands. "You know you want to get your dick wet." She took one of her hands and unclasped her bra, letting her tits drop even further. "Fuck. Me."
"No!" I pushed her away from me and she fell over the chair behind her to the floor.
"Why don't you want me anymore?!" My mother yelled as tears pushed out from behind her eye makeup.
"Fuck off!" I screamed in in such a high pitch that an opera singer would have trouble harmonizing with me.
"Is this what you want?" She wept. "You want me dead? One less ugly person on the world that you don't have to look at? Less weight pushing the country into obesity? Fine!"
My mother got up, grabbed the red mug Dave was drinking from, and smashed it on the desk. She grabbed a large, pointed piece and held it to her throat. "Tell me you want me or you're gonna kill me. You'll go to jail, sweetie. Then you won't get this sweet, sweet pussy anymore! You'll be someone's pussy!"
"Better jail than having to see those eggs nailed to a wall again." I crossed my arms and sat back down. She wasted no time jamming the ceramic shiv into her neck. Blood poured out from the dam she created and she seized on the ground for about a minute before she stopped breathing. I took a sip of my coffee.
"Jesus Christ, man. No remorse at all? You just failed. Or passed. Whatever. You're going back. Get the fuck out of my office. We don't want a psycho like you here." Dave scolded me before he made his way to the door.
"What? No! I can't go back! I'll-I'll just do it again!" I ran over to Dave, who shook his head in disappointment.
"You aren't getting it. We don't want people to die. Our job is to help you realize what you've done, and evaluate you to see if you're strong enough to fix your situation. You just made your mom kill herself and didn't give a single fuck! You don't need to escape. You're better than that. Take care, man. We had a good run. I've gotta get this shit cleaned up before my next appointment."
"...and that's when you woke up?"
Nurse Jackie poorly held back a sigh. "Okay. We'll let you go back to your room now. Eduardo will get you your pills on the way. I'm sure the doctor will set up a meeting in the next couple of days. In the meantime, try to get some rest."
That's where the session ended. Had I known that the doctor was going to go so extreme as to recommend a lobotomy, I would have destroyed the recordings. He was so cold about the decision. The doctor just took a sip from that stupid red mug of his and walked away. He didn't even consider another option! That poor kid didn't deserve to be made into a husk. He just needed some love.