If Only They Could Understand

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ever felt alone? Depressed? Hopeless? Max felt the same way. Will he regret the feeling, or will he take advantage of it? Read on to find out.

Content: Mild language, mild sexuality, disturbing themes, use of alcohol

Submitted: December 31, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 31, 2010



If only they could understand, thought Max. Then things would be so much better.

Max had always thought that the world was a better place with diversity throughout, but lately he had been rethinking those notions. If everyone were alike, then everyone would experience the same feelings and the same problems, and everyone would know exactly how to fix said problems. Max had been doing a lot of thinking like this lately. Too much thinking, in fact. His over thinking had caused him to become a hermit of sorts at the young age of sixteen. He didn’t welcome the help of his friends who only wanted to make him better. He didn’t let his parents into his life because he did not trust them. Even his best friend, whom had been a sister to him for as long as he can remember, was shunned and left out of the cold despair of Max’s life. Slowly, Max turned to the only friend he could find, the only one who he could truly trust, the one that was always there for him: his knife. The only comfort that Max could get was from his knife. The cold steel slicing through his skin was the only salvation he could find. There was warm blood running down his arm, but Max did not see it as blood. Max saw it as all the built-up emotions and feelings and thoughts and decisions and wrongs and rights and everything else that had no other way of escaping, not blood, that was running down his arm. Sadly, the escaping of his emotions caused the few remaining people in Max’s life to yell, to get angry with Max, to wonder why Max had done such a thing, how could you, this isn’t healthy, you will regret it. Max could care less. Every time he cut, the feelings would drain and he would get a normal night’s sleep. That was the only way. Why can’t others understand that?

Soon after, Max had no friends. Everyone had abandoned him because they were fed up with him pushing them away when he knew he needed help. Max wanted help, he really did, but he knew that no matter how hard he pounded, how long and loud he screamed, and how mush he wanted people to understand, it just wouldn’t happen. The self-injury worsened. The cuts got deeper, longer, wider, bloodier. They had to though, because the more he did not talk about his feelings, the more he had to let out with his knife. The cuts spread like wildfire across his arm. His arms were soon covered in unhealed cuts. He was losing all control over his life.

Then it occurred to him.

There is a way to get all his feelings to escape him, and have them never return.


But, how would he do it? His mind was spinning. There were so many different ways in which to end a life. Max cycled through them time and time again, slowly narrowing down the one he would prefer. It had to be quick, painless, effective. Hanging wouldn’t do fore there are too many things that could go wrong. He wanted it to be quick. Drowning and burning were ruled out for the same reason. An explosion would be great, a grenade would be quick and painless. Max remembered reading about how the Japanese soldiers of Iwo Jima would pull the pin and put a grenade in their mouth and wait. They would rather die than be captured by the Americans. This is much how Max felt. He would much rather just die than continue on to whatever pain and agony and suffering lay ahead of him. This plan was perfect, but a 16-year-old boy would have trouble finding a grenade. So, he chose the next best thing: A gun. He had a friend of a friend who was accidentally killed by a shotgun blast to the head from close range. He heard the reports of the scene. They were messy. Blood and brains were everywhere. But the only thing Max thought was that the guy who was shot must not have felt a thing. It was probably over quickly. Thus, Max’s decision was to use a shotgun. He had access to one for his family was military. His father always had guns in the house, ever since he was born. He knew where they were. He knew how to operate them. He knew the code to the gun safe. It was all a perfect plan.

The next time his parents and younger brother left the house, he went to the liquor cabinet and started sifting through the bottles. 40 proof. 45 proof. 80 proof. 70 proof. Another 45 proof. Then Max found it, the 120 proof. He looked at the label, reading it over and over again, debating whether or not he really wanted to follow through with it.

He did.

He opened the cap and took a long pull on the smallish bottle. The instant he swallowed he regretted it. The alcohol burned his throat, a searing, intense burn that only alcohol could give. It took Max a couple minutes to recover from this. Once again he debated whether or not he should continue. And once again, he decided against stopping. He took another long pull on the smallish bottle of caramel colored liquid and slammed it down on the counter. Half the bottle was gone, and he was proud. By this time, Max was stumbling around the halls of his house. He made it to his father’s study and found his way to the gun safe. The dial was surprisingly difficult to turn when he was drunk. Perhaps Max should have thought that part through. Once he had finally fumbled with the lock long enough for it to open, Max was on his way to loading the biggest shotgun he could find in it. His father owned several different guns, four of which were shot guns. The guns were never stored loaded for “safety reasons,” as his father always put it. But right now, Max really wished that these weapons were stored loaded because he was having a hell of a time trying to get the shells in the double barrel. Finally he got it. He walked, or stumbled rather, up to his room and sat up on his bed, leaning against his headboard. So many things had happened in this room. His first kiss. Many fantasies about the amazing life he had ahead of him. His first heart-to-heart with his former girlfriend. Countless numbers of talks that he had given to his friends to make them feel better when they were feeling down. His vision started to blur from the salty tears that filled his eyes and streamed down his cheek. What was he doing? He was ending his life. He looked around the silent room. Nothing moved, nothing made a sound. Even the birds and the neighborhood dogs were silent. Slowly he lifted the gun to his mouth. He was crying harder than he had ever cried before. Why was he crying?

He placed the gun back on his lap.

By pulling the trigger he was ending all his suffering, and the suffering of his friends who constantly worried about his wellbeing. If he got rid of himself, his former friends would never have to worry about him again. Yes he told himself, yes. I am ending their suffering and mine. It is worth it. Once again the gun was raised to his mouth.
He choked back tears.
A deep breathe in.
Deep breathe out.
Deep breathe in.
Deep breathe out.
Slowly Max squeezed on the trigger, waiting for the loud bang that would promptly end his miserable life.
Where was the bang? Max frantically pulled the trigger again. And again. And again. Nothing happened. Was there something jamming the gun? He checked. No. Was the safety on? He checked. No. What could it be? Max was frustrated beyond belief. He just wanted it over, and now even the gun wouldn’t cooperate with him. He ran down the stairs as coordinated as a drunken teen could back to the gun safe. He slammed the safe door open and peered inside, trying, hoping to find an answer. There it was. The ammunition. He had used the wrong type. He quickly unloaded and reloaded the gun and made his way back upstairs. At this point, Max did not know what to do. He wanted it over with, just ended. He sat back up on his bed, leaning against the headboard, putting the gun to his mouth. He waited for a minute. Then another. Then another. He couldn’t do it. After all that, he couldn’t do it. He was about to lower the gun when her heard a noise break the silence. It was the sound of Max’s bedroom door being slammed open and his father shouting, asking him why the gun safe was open. His parents must have gotten home without him hearing them pull up. And it made sense that his father knew that the gun safe was open because whenever his family got home they checked the answering machine, which happened to be in the same room as the gun safe.
The noise was so unexpected that max jumped, pulling the trigger of the double barrel in the process.
And it was over that quickly. Max’s life was ended. His troubles were over, he was set free.

Nothing mattered now.

Weeks later, on the day of the funeral for young Max, his family received a letter. This letter was from the therapist that Max’s parents had forced him to go to. It was a diagnosis. The letter informed the family that Max had severe Bipolar, and that enclosed was a prescription for a mediation that would control Max’s bizarre mood swings and uncontrollable behavior. It was the icing on the cake for the mother, father, and brother of young Max.

His heart racing, Max sat bolt upright in his bed. He was sweating. His heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest. He looked at the clock. 3:17 a.m. He looked around his room, getting his bearings. After a few minutes he got up and walked around the house. Slowly, he went from room to room looking at every thing that he passed, inspecting it to make sure it was real and not his imagination. Satisfied with his walk around the house, he climbed back into bed. He did not know what to think about what had just happened. He spent the rest of the morning staring at his ceiling, thinking, wondering, imagining.

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