Plunging into the blackness, she feels free. Her eyes open as the wind produces moisture in them: she refuses to close them. Feeling the bitter, cold wind around her as she falls from the height that now towers above her, she doesn’t look back nor does she look down. Darkness surrounds her completely. She welcomes it as she breaks the surface of the black below her, the cold forming goose bumps on already clammy skin. She feels as though she’s flying, not a care in the world as her body floats effortlessly through the black. Neither breathing in or out, she enjoys her last few seconds as memories of her life flash before her eyes. She lets out a sigh before the blackness takes her in.
My back is bent at an awkward angle as the books weigh me down. The exams are coming up and I didn’t think about bringing a few books home a day like everyone else did. I can’t help but regret that decision now as I scowl at the bus. The bus I was meant to be getting but I wasn’t there in time. It’s raining, nothing new but I didn’t bring a coat. A coat should be of vital importance in this country, something that’s always with you no matter what. Or at least a hood or umbrella.
But umbrellas are banned at my school in case we poke someone’s eye out with the point. That’s actually the real reason why we’re not to have one. I’m the Student Council and asked the principal. And we also don’t have hoods because we’d ‘look like thieves going into a shop with one’. For it being a school with such a reputation as it has, they are idiots. The only coat we’re allowed to wear has no hood.
I sigh to myself as I step out of the way as a car drives past me, driving over a puddle and splashing it in my direction. Its 3:35 and I’m usually home by now but because it’s raining, it’ll be a while longer than usual. I don’t mind being late though. Mother’s probably in one of her cleaning moods and won’t even notice me come in until its dinnertime. We don’t have dinner together as a family though. She calls me down and I take my plate while she stares endlessly out the window at the oak tree in the garden.
She hasn’t been the same for the past few months. It’s been ever since dad left really, but she’s gotten worse after what happened two months ago. She cleans every room in the house, mine included but she never goes into the one at the end of the landing. I don’t have privacy, not that I particularly need it as I don’t do much that needs much privacy. It’s just a bit strange and annoying that I have to ask mother where something of mine is when I should know.
A sharp pain on my cheekbone causes me to wince and I glance up at the sky to find hailstones falling from the whiteness. They hurt as they hit me and I reach for my bag the put over my head as I walk faster down the path. The bag digs into my scalp but I don’t let it fall to my back. I’d much rather the bag hurting my than the hailstones.
There’s a traffic jam on the street before mine and I slide through the gaps between the cars to get across the road. I’m not the skinniest person, nor do I want to be. I’m 14, but I don’t get why people are so obsessed about their look. Who cares what clothes you wear? Why do you have to cake your face in make-up so much that it looks like you’re wearing a mask? I wouldn’t ask anyone these questions, but I can’t help but wonder.
I’m fine with the way I look and, like I said before, I’m 14- who am I looking to impress? The gate at the front of the drive is locked so I jump the wall instead of opening it. It squeaks really loudly when you open it, but I doubt anyone would hear it as the rain’s really heavy and loud. I land in the rose bushes and grit my teeth as a thorn digs into my skin. It doesn’t pierce the flesh, but it’s uncomfortable.
Mother never liked gardening. It was dad who gardened and ever since he left, the garden has been dying and the grass nearly at my waist. I wouldn’t trust myself with a lawnmower so I don’t cut the grass and gardening really isn’t my thing. Dad tried to teach me how to prune and weed the garden and flowers, but gave up when I made a complete mess.
Taking my shoes off as I reach the door so I don’t trail mud into the house, I open the door and step inside, cringing as I stand on the cool marble floor in my bare feet. I forgot to put socks on this morning and I quickly jump onto the rug by the stairs. I listen out for mother, trying to make out her voice or the sound of the hoover but I hear none. She rarely leaves the house.
The walls are completely bare and give no indication that the people who own this house have two children. Correction: the person who owns this house. Another correction: has one child. I have to get those two things into my head but it’s been less than four months since they happened. I’ve never liked having photos taken and should be glad the pictures of me as a baby aren’t up there, but I’m not. It’s only been two months, but I find myself forgetting what she looks like already. Mother took all the photos of her out of the house and I don’t know whether she kept them or not.
Though she’s never directly said it, I was an accident. I know this and she knows this. They only ever wanted one child and I wasn’t it. Dad wanted more than one child but mother didn’t. I’m not sure if they loved each other as they claimed they did and wasn’t exactly surprised that they spilt. Dad moved to Australia and has a new girlfriend. I’m happy for him but I miss him. Dad and I got along much better than mother and I did. He offered to take me with him to Australia but I couldn’t leave school like that. He’s coming to visit next month.
My feet slap against the marble flooring as I make my way up the stairs. I used to like them not being carpeted when I was younger as I used to enjoy sliding down them and not getting carpet burn. But those times have changed and I wish they were carpeted; getting up to get a drink in the middle of the night and going back to bed with cold feet isn’t too enjoyable.
My room is the first one on the second floor. It’s across from hers, the one that hasn’t been opened or used in two months. I quickly slip through the door and into my room, trying to slow my erratic heartbeat down. I hate looking at that door. Was it really that bad to live with us?
I drop my bag to the floor and lie back on my bed, my hands covering my eyes as I kick my shoes off. At least it’s Friday, I think to myself as I glance at the clock. The weekend is going to be one full of studying and that thought makes my groan. Exams are completely pointless, but that’s what all fourteen year olds think so my opinion doesn’t count much.
A quick glance at the calendar brings tears to my eyes that I quickly wipe away. Two months ago today was the day my family became one less. One less person in my life to worry about; one less mouth to feed; one less friend. At least, I think we were friends. We were sisters but did that make us friends? She was two years older than me but we weren’t really close. We spoke to each other and joked about, but were we really friends? I loved her- she was my sister and I had to. But did she love me? We didn’t tell each other we loved one another often, maybe not even at all. The last words I said to her were ‘go away’. I was trying to sleep and she came into my room wanting to talk.
No matter how bad my life is, I would never commit suicide: A permanent solution to a temporary problem. I could never go through with it even if I wanted to. I can’t kill a bug without feeling guilty for the next few days, much less a person. And that person being me… no way, I could never do it.
I was and am beyond confused to as why she did it. She had a good life- well, from what I know anyway. She had great friends, a boyfriend who cared about her, did well in school… My lip trembles as I think about her and I let myself cry. I don’t bawl or scream. I let the silent tears run down my cheeks as I take a deep breath.
But the breath I take is shaky and uneven. I rest my head against my knees as I picture her in my mind. We didn’t look alike at all. She had wavy locks of golden hair that fell to her lower back. She looks like mom whereas I look like dad. She rarely wore make-up but when she did, it was never much. She didn’t need it; she was beautiful. She was caring, kind, funny, gorgeous, smart…
The tears continue to fall as I think of her. I try and not let myself remember her. The funeral was my grieving time but I didn’t let myself cry then. I was shocked; I couldn’t do anything, barely move much less cry. I sat in the pews not moving, not joining in when they were praying…. Not doing anything. Mother was bawling beside me but I couldn’t comfort her.
It was an empty coffin with no body. An empty coffin was buried in the cemetery as the body was never found. No one knows where she jumped, but it was a bridge somewhere. They searched for weeks but nothing.
I allow myself to cry. Time has moved on and so has everyone else, but that doesn’t mean she’s forgotten. You can’t forget someone you love, you just accept the fact they you’ll never see them again. But you still love them. You can’t stop loving someone; it’s impossible.
The pillow below me catches my tears as they fall from my cheeks in the dozens. I don’t catch them, nor do I stop them. If we don’t grieve, we’ll never accept that fact. We’re never going to see the person again.
We’ll meet someone new, sure we will. The days drag on endlessly as the nights’ take their place; we can’t do anything about that. Things happen for a reason, they say. Something good will come of something bad. But things don’t always happen for a reason. They don’t.
Nothing good will come of her killing herself. She sacrificed herself so something good will come of someone else? Why would someone give their life for something good for someone else? She was healthy, happy- or so I thought. But she mustn’t have been. She killed herself.
I never thought my life would be any different. But in the duration of several months, it has changed dramatically. Dad and mother divorced, mother became even more isolated from me, my sister died… I always thought my life was boring: I went to school, ate lunch, homework, bed and the circle starts again. But now I would give anything for that to be my life again. For my family to be the four it once was. But that’s not going to happen.
I hate the word ‘but’. You think of a solution to a problem, an answer to something that’s been bugging you and then that word butts itself in. ‘But that won’t work because it’s stupid… but that won’t happen because it’s can’t work… but this and but that… it’s a horrible word- so negative and pessimistic.
My breathing starts to even but the tears don’t lessen. They still pour from my eyes, down my cheeks as they gather upon my pillow in pools. My eyes are the clouds in the sky, the clouds where the water is taken to when it’s evaporated by the heat of the sun. The tears are the rain drops that, when the clouds fill to their brim, pour over and fall to the earth in their hundreds, turning what was once a bright day into a wet and miserable one.
The pillow is the earth, the thing that takes all the rain drops and soaks them up, not saying a word as its left to absorb the water. It’s the cause of all the problems, the victim of all pain and words of violent tones. Yet it does its job without word of complaint, nothing done to stop the abuse it receives every day.
The cycle is repeated as the pillow soaks my tears up, the earth soaks the rain drops into its depths. My pillow is what takes my tears when they fall, what takes the violence I inflict upon it, listens to my problems without word or comment…
I fed up. I’m fed up of the sympathetic looks I get from anyone when they hear about my sister, fed up of the pathetic condolences I receive following the news, the promises of if I need anything can go to them… a complete stranger that I’ll never see again unless someone else dies. Then they’ll come back with the same promises that mean nothing. Nothing at all.
I want to scream, scream something, anything. Hit something, someone, anything… I want to be alone. But I am alone. There it is again- ‘but’. But I’m not alone. I’m alone in this room, in this house but that’s it. Outside there’s the busy life of everyone else around me, people shopping for their families, eating dinner and talking, sleeping and coming home from school… people who don’t know that my sister has died and my life is falling apart.
I need to be alone. I need to be near her. But she’s dead; I’ll never see her again. I have to get that into my head but it won’t stay. She’s gone, never to be seen again. Everyone else has gotten over it- why can’t I?
She’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead… I won’t ever see her again. I’m going to have to live with that fact. I live while she dies, she dies while I live. I have to get that into my head. She’s not coming back.
Roughly wiping the tears away from my face, I get up from the bed, kicking anything that’s in my way across the room. But I don’t care if I make a noise, I don’t care if I break something; I don’t care. I don’t care anymore. No one cares about me, so why should I?
Slamming my bedroom door open, I step out. I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t even know why I left my room, but I need out. I just need to get away from everything; I need to be by myself. But I am by myself. There’s no one around me, no one in the house… but I need to be completely alone.
I’m full of emotions, too many to count. They’re all negative ones though none of them happy or joyous or anywhere close to those. I’m angry, so angry at everyone, everything. Why can’t I have a normal life? What did I do to deserve this?
The sound of a door slamming catches my attention but I don’t care who it is. It might be mother, the person who gave birth to me but couldn’t care less about whether or not I’m here. It could be father, but he isn’t here. He’s off with his girlfriend in Australia, forgetting about me and enjoying his new life.
I don’t know what I’m look for but I will know when I find it. I pull the bed apart, throwing the pillows off the matrass and yanking the sheet from the bed. The matrass is pulled from the skeleton of the bed but I don’t find anything. I rip the drawers from their place, pouring its occupants out onto the floor but find nothing.
Clothes pile the floor as I grab them from the wardrobe and scatter them around. Posters are yanked from the wall, photos are broken, lamps are tipped on their sides but I don’t find it. The tears have stopped but I’m even angrier now.
Punching the walls and kicking the door doesn’t help my anger at all. The room in a mess, I slam the door shut and storm into my room, throwing myself onto the ground. It goes dark but I barely notice as I struggle to control my emotions. Shutting my eyes as tight as I can and fisting my hands, I take a deep breath and hold it for as long as I can.
Until I can hold it no longer, I let the breath out in a slow stream of air. I feel less angry; calmer now. I sit up but my head hits against something solid and I quickly lie back again. Opening my puffy eyes, I see nothing. It’s dark. I look around and see a horizontal strip of light in front of me. I slide myself out from under my bed and lie back against it.
I bring my hands to rest on my stomach but they touch something, a papery feel to it. I look down and see it. An envelope with my name.
Cold wind blows around me, the flimsy material that is my coat doing nothing to protect me from its wrath. Stars are out, something I haven’t seemed to notice before now. Millions of them spread across the stretch above me that is the sky, the black, cloudless blanket. The moon, no more than a half but no less than three-eighths, hangs in the blackness, illuminating the space around me but just barely. It reflects the light of the sun; there would be no light if not for the sun, even at night.
My hands rest upon a stone barrier, blocking my sight of the feature below me. I stand upon a bridge; a lonely, isolated part of the town. There are no cars or people, the only light coming from the moon above me. But I’m not afraid; I’m alone. Finally I’m alone with no one around me for miles. The only object I bring with me is the letter.
The sound of water running is heard below me; the river, but I can’t see it. The darkness surrounds me below and above. But the moon is reflected in the river. I can’t help but wonder if this is the part of the river where she jumped. It would be a perfect place to do it; no one would hear the splash of the water when you hit the surface; they wouldn’t see the figure jumping the high wall and falling; they wouldn’t come to the conclusion that the figure isn’t to surface moments later again.
But I’m not here for that. Fitting my foot into the cracks between the stones, I pull myself up to sit on the wall. The bridge is old; I’m surprised they haven’t stabilised it since it was built. But no one uses it, the odd teenager coming here to drink is the only exception. Or maybe people do use it; there’s no one around to survey the land every night.
Sitting upon the cold stone with the wind blowing around me, I can’t help but wonder what it would feel like to be free. Free from life’s worries, away from it all and not having to think about it anymore. To fall through the air and have your life flash before your eyes, before you hit the icy surface of the black below me, to feel deaths cold grasp take you in until you feel no more…
Just one little push, one inch forward and I would be no more. No one would know how, where or why it happened. It would be my little secret. My legs dangle by the bridges side, goose bumps forming on their flesh from the winds bitterness. What it would feel like to fly, if only for a moment, how weightless you would be to fall through the air, the adrenaline rush you’d get when you hit the water, sinking to the bottom of the bed of the rushing river before it goes even blacker.
My fingers numb, I slip my hand under my coat and pull the envelope out. I’ve yet to read the letter inside and there’s no perfect a time than now.
I know I haven’t been the best big sister to you but you have to know I love you. You’re my little sister and always have been. I’ve been with you during your good days, bad days, embarrassing moments in your life, special occasions… everything, I was there. I have become less of a figure in your life, I do know that, and I wish that wasn’t that case.
If I’m to be completely and utterly honest, I’m slightly jealous of you. You’re beautiful, but you don’t seem to see that. I don’t think I told you it before and I wish I could in person, but you wouldn’t listen. You’re so smart, caring, honest, kind, friendly… the list goes on endlessly, but I don’t have much time left to write this.
My life may have seemed normal to you, but it isn’t. Suicide isn’t the way to go, I know, but I feel like I don’t have a choice. I have friends, a wonderful family and everything else, but drugs have messed my life up. I feel terrible every morning, like I’m dying and cope with the feeling. Heroin is my best friend, the thing that helps me get through the day without losing it. I feel terrible without it and hate that feeling. I know I need to stop using it, but going a day without it is pure agony- I’m not strong enough to do it. I’m taking the coward’s way out.
I haven’t told anyone about this and hope no one finds out. But I understand if you want to tell anyone. You’re disgusted at me as will everyone else be if they know. I’m disgusted at myself, too. I shouldn’t have let myself need it this much, I shouldn’t have let drugs become my lifeline. But I’m an idiot; I don’t deserve to take this way out.
But my mind is made up and this is what I’m going to do. I just needed to tell someone, anyone I can trust. And I can trust you. You’re only fourteen years old, but I could trust you with anything in the world. I regret not being closer to you every day of my life, but maybe it will be easier this way, who knows? I left this under your bed. Remember when we were kids and we used to play games under there, sometimes just talk? I hope you find this but if you don’t, then I hope you know I love you.
Don’t let my stupid decisions change your life. You’re young and free and shouldn’t have this burdened upon your shoulders. I need to go now before mom gets back. I love you little sister, never forget that.
With love always,
I fold the letter back up into eights. I do remember the time we spent just talking under my bed. That was when we were close, nothing could separate us. But she grew up and we grew more apart as the years went on and soon enough we barely spoke.
With the moon as my witness, its light illuminating my surroundings, I hold the letter in my hand. With one last look at it, at the place where she may have last been, I stretch my hand out flat. The cool breeze catches it in its clutches, blows it away. Blows it away from me, away from the bridge.
I watch it as it glides through the air, the light of the moon catching its shiny edges before it hits the surface of the water below me. It crumples, the ink running up the page until the words are illegible, the black ink spreading across the page until it’s nothing but a black mess. Soggy and a mess, it disappears beneath flowing water, out of sight.
I feel no better, I feel no worse than I did before all I know is that her last words have gone now, never to be read again. Out of sight, but never out of mind.