It was a nice day, with a pleasant summer breeze. The sun filled the sky all day long. Now the sky has darkened and the breeze has faded away. In a small town in Oregon, just an hour from the capital, Salem, that’s where the story takes place. Janey, a sophomore in high school, sits at home alone. She eats away at her popcorn, enjoying the last Friday before summer break. Her cell phone to her right side; she had received no text messages in about two hours. She sat in the quiet, possibly thinking the day over as she watched television. She sat up from her couch and walked to her kitchen for something to drink, she sat at the kitchen bar and stared into space for a moment or two. A dog barking outside catches her attention and snaps her back into reality. The neighbor’s dog always barked for no reason. Janey grew bored of the television so she turned it off and went upstairs to her room. Her room was a simple blue, a sky blue; it was her favorite color. She reached around her neck and unlatched her necklace and gently placed it in her jewelry box. She adjusted her hair away from her shoulders. She was going to get ready for bed, it was already eleven. She walked to her bathroom and brushed her teeth and rinsed her mouth out with her minty mouthwash. She turned off the bathroom light and slowly walked back to her well-lit room and shut the door behind her and locked the knob. Janey walked to her closet and put on her favorite pink pajamas. Janey also grabbed her long scarf and walked to her door. She ties her scarf around her doorknob and kneels down in front of it. She neatly ties her scarf around her neck and takes one last breath. She slowly leans forward. Janey died at eleven twelve o’clock Friday, June second.
She was only sixteen. The doctors never told her parents she died full of pain, they know her parents wouldn’t be able to handle it. When Janey hung herself she blocked off her airways and caused her blood to attain an unsustainable amount of oxygen, making her heart violently react. Janey could have stood up and untied her scarf before it was too late, but her body seized up when her heart violently reacted. Her parents found her dead body later that night after they came home from their friends’ anniversary party.
Most people don’t know this but when people hang themselves, the things they hold inside their stomach, like the day’s lunch or breakfast, all escape their bodies and leaves a nasty mess. Janey’s parents cried for days, they had lost their only child and didn’t know why. Janey’s parents never thought there was something wrong, something so terrible that their lovely sixteen year old daughter would end her own life. She was always happy, never had a bad day. She was a smart and popular. The truth was Janey was never happy and no one ever knew she kept it all a secret. Her parents and her friend never knew she cut herself. Janey never kept a journal, she dealt with her demons, so they eventually consumed her. Everything started to unravel about a month ago.
Alex sat at the table, eating his frozen pizza. He sits and stares into nothing, maybe playing the day through his head, how he would have changed it. He finishes his pizza with taking the last bite off the crust. He puts his dirty plate in the sink and begins to head to his room.
“Mom, I’m going to bed,” Alex hollers to his mother in the living room. She doesn’t respond, she is too absorbed in the television. He steps into his room, with rock posters covering the walls and his electric guitar next to his closet. He sits down on his bed and reaches down. Alex pulls out a small box from underneath his bed. He pulls out a neatly folded piece of paper from his pocket and tosses it into the box. He sets the box back underneath of his bed and reaches for something else. Alex finds the gun slightly heavy. He examined the nine millimeter handgun. He lifts the gun and gently presses it to his temple. Alex pulls the trigger. The gun doesn’t fire. Alex knew the gun wasn’t loaded. He just likes the thought and perhaps he wishes he forgot he loaded it.
Janey’s alarm clock goes off at exactly five o’clock in the morning. It seems a little early for a teenager to wake up in the morning. She rolls out of her bed and takes a step to her nightstand to turn off her screaming alarm clock. She goes to her closet and pulls out clothes for the day. She walks to her bathroom and opens the door. She doesn’t worry about being too loud because her parents aren’t home; they’re working like always. She turns on the shower and while the water warms up she brushes her teeth. She spits out the toothpaste and takes out her minty mouthwash and swirls it around in her mouth for about thirty seconds. She undresses and enters the shower.
She starts her car and heads for school; it’s seven o’clock. It usually takes Janey two hours to get ready for school. She always tries to look her best everyday, perhaps it is because she is afraid people will see through her, see the person she really is, an illusion. The best magic trick a teenager can know. She takes her time to school and enjoys the beautiful landscape of the state of Oregon. She arrives at the school at seven ten. She turns off her car and doesn’t open the door right away. She stares at her steering wheel and spaces out for a minute. She opens her car door and heads for class.
Alex opens up his textbook for U.S. History. He always hated U.S. History, mainly because none of his friends where in the class with him. Alex hated most of his classes anyway, he was never able to get good grades like his older brothers, who were already in college. His younger brother, also seemed to be as promising as the older brothers. He was an F student, mainly because he was getting a hold of drugs; well more like drugs are getting a hold of him. The teacher begins to lecture about Andrew Carnagie, and Alex closes his book and rests his head on it to take a nap.
“Alex! Wake up! How many times have I told you? No sleeping in my class!” Mr. Turner yells at Alex from the front of the class. Alex shoots up from his nap; he seems more tired than before.
“Mr. Turner, I wasn’t sleeping, I was just…skipping the boring stuff,” Alex remarks. Mr. Turner frowns with a displeasing look.
“Alex, this is it, go to the deans office,” Mr. Turner snaps.
“Now, Mr. Turner, I think it would be fair to the dean if we left him out of this one. He’s a busy man ya’ know, and I think he would like it if we let him skip the boring stuff too,” Alex says as he leans back in his desk.
“Do you just want me to call your mother than?” The class laughs crudely at Alex because of Mr. Turner’s remark. Alex looks down and doesn’t say anything; he obviously didn’t like Mr. Turner’s comment. Alex stands up and grabs his backpack off the floor and heads for the class door silently. Alex opens the door and Mr. Turner follows him out.
“Class, read pages four hundred and eighteen to four hundred twenty until I get back,” Mr. Turner says and shuts the door behind him, “Alex, what the hell is going on?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Mr. Turner, just leave me alone,” Alex replies to Mr. Turner with an agitated voice.
“Alex, I’m getting this close to kicking you out of my class, I know you can do better than this, your brothers where great students, I just don’t understand,” Mr. Turner is being sincere, he is a great teacher. He doesn’t want to see Alex fail, but maybe comparing him to his brothers wasn’t the best thing to do.
“I’m going to the dean’s office now,” Alex says with an empty voice. Alex walks away from Mr. Turner, thinking in his head how he knows he’ll never be as good as his older brothers. He just doesn’t know why everyone expects him to do so well. On his way to the dean’s office he stops at the bathroom. He checks under the stalls to see if anyone is in. He opens the far back stall, enters and locks the stall door behind him. He sits down on the stall and opens his backpack. He opens his secret compartment he made by himself and pulls out a joint. He lights it up and puffs away. Maybe he smokes pot to forget about his problems or maybe just to make everything feel okay.
Janey looks down at her algebra test meticulously. There’s only five minutes left of class and she isn’t half way done yet. Janey has always been the teacher’s favorite student, a straight A student who never gets into any trouble, but something is keeping her focus away from the test. Janey struggles, and can’t seem to figure out why she can’t focus on the test. She can’t remember what the point-intercept formula is, or what the standard formula is for graphing equations. She tries to clear her head but has no luck. She looks at the clock and notices there is only two minutes left of class now. She looks at her answer sheet and fills in the rest of the twenty questions in as C.
“Alright, students, it’s time to hand in your tests, class is almost over,” Mrs. Carson announces to the class. Janey sighs and flips her test over and hands it to the girl seated in front of her. She is in the third row, three seats back, which Janey had always found funny, but she never understood why. Janey feels a nudge to her right arm.
“Hey, Jane, what happened?” Christopher asked her curiously. Chris was copying off her test, like he always did. Chris was the running back for the varsity football team; he was only a sophomore.
“I don’t know, I just went brain dead,” she apologized. Janey always lets Chris copy her tests and let him pass the class so he could play football. Chris wasn’t the smartest student in the class. Janey also has a little schoolgirl crush on Chris, they had talked about dating, but they both agreed they weren’t ready for a serious relationship. Janey didn’t agree. She just agreed to make Chris happy and Chris didn’t want to get tied down by Janey. Chris was a jock, and honestly, he was a dick. He only enjoyed spending time with girls at parties when they get too drunk to remember anything. He liked Janey, but not in a relationship way, he just wants relations. Janey was too blind to notice. The bell rang and all the students left the class room. Janey grabbed her books and headed for her locker on the second floor. She walked down the stairs to the second floor ignoring all the ignorant freshman. Her locker was next to her best friend’s locker, Jessica. Jessica was already waiting for Janey to get to her locker, Janey figured it was just to talk more drama.
“Janey, you won’t believe this,” Jessica said as she put her cell phone in her pocket. Janey turns her locker lock twenty-two to the right, five to the left and another eleven to the right to open her locker.
“What?” Janey said with fake excitement. She didn’t want Jessica to know she was in a bad mood.
“James is having a big party on Friday night, and he asked me to go!” Jessica said with quiet excitement, she didn’t want everyone to know about her plans with James.
“Really? Wow, that sounds fun,” Janey replies as she puts her algebra book in her locker and shuts it, “oh, shit.” Janey forgot to grab her Biology textbook, she sighs and turns her lock twenty-two to the right, five to the left and eleven to the right to open her locker again.
“Yeah, I’m going to get so fucked up on Friday, it’s going to be fun, I’ll talk to James and see if you can come with me,” Jessica says, ignoring Janey’s frustration with her lack of focus.
“Jessica, you know I love hanging out with all you guys but you know I don’t drink, I would feel like a total outcast at the party, have fun with out me though,” Janey says as she shuts her locker.
“Janey, when the hell are you going to cut loose and have some fun? O.M.G. you’re like still acting like a middle schooler,” Jessica comments. It doesn’t usually bother Janey when Jessica acts like this, but today is a different story.
“What’s the big deal if I don’t want to get fucked up like you?” Janey snaps.
“Nothings wrong with it, I just think you’re being lame and missing out, like you’re still a virgin, Janey, we’re in high school, this is when we’re supposed to be bad and have fun doing it. I just wonder when you’re going to join us in the twenty first century,” Jessica says as she pulls out her phone and starts to text.
“What, you don’t think I can be bad?” Janey asks Jessica. Janey worries too much about what people think of her. She can’t stand to be know as ‘lame.’
“Yeah, I think you’re too much of a little princess to cut loose,” Jessica replies. The bell rings and Janey is late for Biology now.
“Well, we’re already late for class, why don’t you ditch with me, goody two shoes,” Jessica suggests. Janey thinks, for only a second.
“Fine,” Janey says then turns to her locker and turns the lock twenty-two to the right, five to the left and eleven to the right. Janey puts her Biology book in her locker and grabs her backpack. Janey and Jessica leave through the back exit of the school.
Janey and Jessica sit in the park just down the street from the school. Jessica is smoking a Marlboro light as they sit on the swings, rocking back and forth. Janey sits quietly on the swing, regretting her quick decision.
“What’s wrong, Janey, this too bad for you?” Jessica taunts her.
“No, this is nothing really,” it is Janey’s first time skipping class, to her, it’s a big deal.
“Well, you want a cig?” Jessica asks as she hands Janey her pack of Marlboro lights. Janey looks down at them, and she thinks again, only for a second.
“Whatever,” Janey says and takes a cigarette out of the pack. Jessica lights it for her and Janey takes a drag. She coughs heavily; she’s never had a cigarette before either. Janey was not always this way, she use to be a nobody. She was invisible to any boy, until her freshman year. She grew bigger breasts and got rid of her braces and the boys started paying more attention to her. She hated being a nobody, so she made sure she stayed popular. Janey was afraid, she hated who she was, but loved not being what she use to be. She was caught in her own purgatory. She took another drag and this time it went down a little easier. It still made her want to cough, but she didn’t care, she wanted Jessica to like her. She wanted to be like her, loved by everyone, and envied by all the girls.
“Janey?” Jessica said with a strange voice.
“What?” Janey replied and looked up to see what Jessica was seeing. Janey dropped her cigarette in surprise and so did her jaw.
“Isn’t that your mom?”
Alex was sent home for the rest of the day, a two day suspension, it was his tenth time this week to be sent to the dean’s office. He sat on the couch and listened to his mother scream.
“What the hell are you doing? Are you fucking stupid?” His mother screamed; Alex knew not to say anything and it would be over quickly.
“I never had this problem with your brothers, what the hell happened to you?” She yells, “Boy, are you listening to me?”
“No, not really,” Alex replies quietly. His mother slaps him across the face, hard enough for his head to face the other direction. He takes it; he’s use to it now. The only thing he wants is her attention, but he found the only way to get it was to be a screw up, which only gave him negative attention.
“There’s something wrong with you I swear to God, go to your fuckin’ room, I don’t want to look at you anymore,” she yells. Alex stands up from the couch and heads for his room. He doesn’t say a word; he just walks to his room. He opens the door to his rock poster covered walls, closes the door behind him and sits on his bed. He lies down on his bed and his eyes start to water. He begins to cry. He knows he isn’t the smartest person in the world, but coming from his mother it seems to hurt him more. He weeps his sorrows away. He thinks deeply as he cries, knowing Alex, it is possibly about why his mother hates him so much. He might be wondering where his father is at a time like this. Alex begins to weep loudly, uncontrollably, because of what he was thinking about.
“Be quite in there!” Alex mother shouts from the living room. Alex holds back his tears and becomes very angry. He sits up and reaches under his bed and pulls out his box from under his bed. The top of the box has the word ‘free’ written on it. He opens it up and pulls out another box inside. The box holds nine-millimeter bullets; he takes one out and stands it up on his nightstand. He closes the box full of bullets and rests it back in his cardboard box. He slides the box back under his bed and reaches for something else. He pulls out his nine-millimeter handgun. He pulls out the clip and places the bullet standing on his nightstand neatly inside. Alex received his handgun last year; he bought it from a friend. He gave him an ounce of weed for the gun. Alex cocks the gun and he hears the bullet enter the chamber. He places the handgun to his head and begins to gently squeeze the trigger. Alex clenches his eyes tightly. He stops; something in his head prevents him from doing it. He slowly sets the gun back under his bed. He seems surprised about his reaction, but he also doesn’t know why. He opens his nightstand and pulls out his knife. He places the cold blade to his wrist and cuts. He feels a rush through his veins, his ultimate ecstasy. His warm blood from his arm covers the cold blade. He takes his knife and puts it back into his nightstand drawer. He watches as his blood drips onto the floor. It seems he feels his pain and sadness bleed away as his arm does.
Janey sits on the couch, in front of her parents.
“What were you thinking, Jane?” Her mother says. She isn’t yelling, she seems more concerned than angry.
“I don’t know, Mom, I didn’t think,” Janey replies ashamed.
“Do you know what that does to your body! Do you want to die young? You have a future, Janey, and I can’t stand here and watch you do this! What are you doing?” Janey’s father is taking a different approach than her mother. He is absolutely angry.
“Dad, it was just one cigarette, I’m sorry, but it’s not that big of a deal,” Janey says calmly.
“Not that big of a deal! Janey, don’t be ridiculous! Don’t pass this as not a big deal, next thing you know you will be drinking and having sex! You’re going to throw your whole future away!” Janey’s eyes begin to water, but she fights back her tears. She always tries so hard for everyone. When she tries to be accepted by one, another despises her for it. Janey has always found it difficult to make everyone happy, including herself. She tried fitting in with the popular crowd to make herself happy. It never seemed to help. Janey has grown tired of her father’s lectures, she didn’t want to go to law school, she always wanted to be a middle school history teacher but she never told her parents.
“I’m sorry, Dad, I wasn’t thinking,” Janey said as she held her head low.
“Don’t be sorry to me, you should be sorry for yourself,” her father left her room angry with his hands resting on his hips. He was displeased with Janey once again, but he wouldn’t let it bother him long. Her mother followed him out, shutting the door behind her. Janey lies on her bed and begins to cry. She just wanted to be happy, but she just didn’t know how. She always thought to herself why life was living if you couldn’t be happy. She grabbed her knife from under her mattress, neatly hidden between the mattress and the bed stand. It was a knife she had stolen from the kitchen silverware drawer. She unbuttoned her blue jeans and pulled them down to her knees. She placed the knife to her calf, under her hip, but not past where her short shorts would stop. The cold of the blade gave her leg chills. She slowly, but deeply pulled the knife across her leg. In an instant her blood began to slowly bleed down her leg, with a contempt look, she watched. Her tears had stopped. She was in immense pain, but yet she placed the knife above the last cut and repeated. She hated cutting herself, but it seemed it was the only thing to make her stop crying. It made her whole body feel numb. She seemed at ease, almost happier. She grabbed several tissues from her blue tissue box and wiped up the blood from her leg and pulled up her pants.
Alex takes another drink from his stolen bottle of vodka, contemplating. He stared off into the sight of the city.
“What a beautiful city,” he said aloud, even though no one was around. He took another drink and felt the burn of the vodka go down his throat. The bottle was finished so he threw it. He watched as it fell. After a second he could no longer see it. Alex was at ten stories high, but he felt higher than that from the weed. He climbed to the top of one of the city’s apartment complexes from an alleyway. Alex would sneak up here all the time just to look at the city and escape his life. He would look down at the streets, watch as everyone spent no time to smile or look around the city. He noticed a lot of people seemed unhappy with their lives, and felt sorry for them. Alex stood up, but with much difficulty after the fifth of vodka and the two joints he’d smoked.
Janey’s parent had just left for their party. She was told to have no one over, she was in trouble after what happened today. She really didn’t mind because she wanted to be alone tonight. She went down stairs, went into the living room and turned on the fifty-two inch flat screen television. She walked next to the television to look at her collection of Blu-Ray DVD’s. She grabbed a movie and placed it in the Blu-Ray player. She rested down in the leather couch positioned in front of the television. She stood back up and walked to the kitchen and grabbed a bag of popcorn from the cupboard. She placed the popcorn in the microwave and pressed the popcorn button. She then went to grab a cup from the cupboard, walked to the fridge and poured herself some orange juice. She sat down at the kitchen table and took a sip from her orange juice as the popcorn finished cooking. She stared into nothing for a minute but the beeping of microwave brought her back into focus. She grabbed her popcorn and went back to the living room to watch her movie.
Alex let out a sigh, and begins to cry.
Janey’s movie was over, but she really didn’t watch it. She didn’t watch it because she was distracted by something. She simply couldn’t concentrate. She flipped through the channels on the television, looking for something to entertain her. She eats away at her second bag of popcorn, but it doesn’t seem to fill her up. Her cell phone to her right side, she had received no text messages in about two hours. She sat in the quiet, possibly thinking the day over as she watched television. She stood up from her couch and walked to her kitchen for something to drink again. She sat at the kitchen bar, forgot why she went there, and stared into space for a moment or two. A dog parking outside catches her attention and snaps her back into reality. The neighbor’s dog always barked for no reason. Janey grew bored of the television so she turned it off and went upstairs to her room. Her room was a simple blue, a sky blue, it was her favorite color. She reached around her neck and unlatched her necklace and gently placed it in her jewelry box. She adjusted her hair away from her shoulders. She was getting ready for bed, it was already eleven.
Alex wiped his tears away. At this point he didn’t know why he was crying.
“Where are you? Where the fuck are you!” Alex screamed aloud.
“I hate you! Leave me to suffer! Fuck you!” Alex picked up his ‘free’ box and threw it as hard as he could into the open air in front of him. He watched as the un-sent letters to his father scattered and floated to the ground below. Alex pulled his nine-millimeter handgun out from between his belt and waist. He pushed it to his temple and screamed.
Janey walked to her bathroom and brushed her teeth and rinsed her mouth out with her minty mouthwash. She turned off the bathroom light and slowly walked back to her well-lit room, shut the door behind her and locked the knob. Janey walked to her closet and put on her favorite pink pajamas. Janey also grabbed her long scarf and walked to her door.
Alex could muster the courage to pull the trigger. He threw the handgun as far as he could, but careful not to fall off the edge of the ten-story apartment complex. Alex takes another step closer to the edge now. He is panting with anger and sadness. Alex looks ten stories down and then looks up to the stars.
Janey ties her scarf around her doorknob and kneels down in front of it. She neatly ties her scarf around her neck and takes one last breath.
Alex slowly leans forward.
Janey slowly leans forward.
Alex feels the rush of air blow through his hair as he plummets ten stories to the ground. He smiles. Alex feels free, and happy at the same time because of it. Alex’s happiness crashes face first into the concrete and his freedom is scattered across the road.
Janey stares at her pink carpet, full of pain. Her eyes struggle to stay open, but her mouth can’t help but smile, Janey feels free, and happy at the same time because of it. Janey’s vision begins to fade as quickly as her heart beat.
Alex died October 19, 2009. October 19 was Alex’s eighteenth birthday. Alex’s father didn’t attend his funeral and neither did his brothers. Alex never heard anyone tell him they were proud of him, never heard anyone tell him that they loved him. Alex died happy because his life was full of pain and sadness. Alex only wanted someone to care.
Janey died June second, 2010. Janey was only sixteen. Janey only wanted her parents to be proud of her. She only needed someone to let her know everything would be okay and she didn’t have to be perfect. Only Janey knows why she ended her own life, no one will ever know what a great middle school history teacher she would have been.
Alex and Janey never met, and they never knew each other. They did have one thing in common, no one knew why. Only if someone took the time to care, they might be here today.