I remember that amber sky evening; Every little detail, every action, every word said; etched into my brain so I would never forget…
That dreadful day had been uncommonly windy. The autumn colors of brilliant scarlet, burnt orange, and glowing yellow danced furiously, fallen leaves crinkling under the feet of retreating silhouettes as they scattered to their dwellings of protected walls and warmth. I recall the day, walking through the iron barred gates, stepping onto the newly paved driveway up to my best friend’s house. Correction, I meant to say the waste-of-space mansion that dwelled on top of a hill dab smack in the middle of this small town: Crimson Mist.
Peering over to the garage which was half way open, the newest model of the Chevy Camaro wasn’t present. Her parents weren’t home. I never liked her parents. Well, her step-parents. Four years ago, the first time I came to her house, she explained to me she was adopted by the ‘demons’(as she defined them) for the purpose of upholding their image throughout the community. Our community was strong in a way. Everybody knew everything and everyone. Close-knit could describe this small town and the respect my friend’s guardians received was above all since they happened to be the big tycoons of the area. I’m sorry, I meant to say the east coast tycoons.
They ran the port’s trades with foreign countries, creating job opportunities for starving, low-income families, and with one of the leading oil industries on the east coast, ECO a.k.a. East Coast Oil, they joined businesses to create The Port: ECO&TRI.
My closest friend Autumn Trickler had no intention of taking over. She was forced to learn business etiquette, which she profusely refused. Her parents, part-time alcoholics, tried their hardest to make her comply to her fate. I knew what they did to her: visible purple-bluish bruises covered her arms. All she said to the worried adults and peers was that since she was a skateboarder, it would be common to get hurt every once and awhile. Says the six year old veteran. If they managed to see the bruised and bloody back she covered with her oversized t-shirts, they would think otherwise.
Turning the brass handle, I quickly enter the premises and made my way to the winding staircase that only leads to one room: the sunroom. Autumn spent a lot of time in there. Dubbing it her sanctuary, it’s the only place where her parents can’t taint her for they never had enough energy to make their way up the infinite staircase and exert anger on their child when she ran away from reality.
I sighed. Mumbling to myself about how I hate the stairs my feet lead me into endless circles up. Out of all the mechanisms the family could have invested in they never thought of building an elevator or something? Would have saved me trouble.
As I stepped off the last step, the mahogany door creaked a little opening slightly to the wind the blew through the room. Autumn had the window open again. But it was so windy outside, how could she just leave it unlatched?
“Trickler? You in there?” I stepped up to the door and pushed it open slow. The creaking noise suddenly made a shiver go up my spine. Something felt off when I stepped into that white room. Eerie emotions filed my already trembling body: I sensed the danger. I hesitantly entered the room. My heart beat skyrocketed while looking at the small hammock next the bay window. At the moment it swung back and forth continuously with the courtesy of the unreal wind pressure enveloping the already solemn atmosphere. Adjusting my poor vision, I glance to my left to the out of place black laptop. The internet browser was pulled up to a video site. Getting a closer look my eyes widened at the title: the choking game. Jumbled up thoughts paraded my already filled mind. The game was, and still is, a game teenagers played . Basically, the teens tried to stop their breathing without trying to commit suicide. Most have perished because of they believed they could play with death. How wrong they are…
“Trickler!” I bolted to the other side of the room. I looked everywhere! The connecting bathroom, under the desk, the closet. She was nowhere. I started to panic even more than before. No…no! She couldn’t have..!
“Pause.” The girl clamped her mouth shut on demand to stop and look up at the woman who told her to stop in her I-have-been-smoking-my-whole-life raspy voice. Her face painted with heavy makeup wrinkled and her bleached eyebrows furrowed as if she was thinking of the reason why she had stopped the girl from explaining further.
“It seems to me,” the woman sipped on her freshly brewed coffee before continuing, “you immediately knew that your friend was going to commit suicide. Her being a teenager, she might have just been curious on the new ‘internet trend’ for teens nowadays. How did you assume such a conclusion?” Her icy pale eyes scanned the sudden tense movement of her patient’s shoulders.
The girl didn’t realize she was holding her breath until she began to speak once more,“As I mentioned,” The tension seemed to rise within the room. How could she describe the feelings she felt when she sensed her friend in danger? Her insides wrenching inside and out was probably the best way to.“my friend was abused. She couldn’t manage with the burden placed upon her and she believed that taking her own life would be the easy way out…” Since she currently didn’t have an answer to the question, the only thing she could do now in this situation was one thing. “I found her in her parents bathroom. Autumn hung from the showerhead.”
I fell onto my knees staring at the brunette girl who tears appeared to be threatening to spill over. A thick rope wrapped itself multiple times around the scrawny neck. Autumn’s pale amber eyes dilated at the sudden lost of oxygen. Our eyes locked for what seemed to feel like an eternity. I couldn’t help her. I coped with her feelings but this course of action showed that I never was there for her, never there to help her through the abuse. I could have done something! My parents were lawyers. I could have asked for help! But I didn’t. Now, with the small pure smile on Autumn’s lips, she mumbled softly to me.
“Kamela,” my named rolled off her tongue in a choking voice, cracking with every syllable. All I could do was stare at the mangled body struggling to keep alive.
“Pain…is temporary” I knew where this was going. I found the quote years before when I first met her.
“But quitting lasts forever…” I finished off the words for her. Her pale white complexion remained, the eyes staring at me. They were gray, dull, and lifeless. I lost her. Her mouth hung open like her body. I didn’t help her, all I did was cry. Cried to my heart’s desire. I repeated my apologies over and over again. Crimson Mist became hectic that night. Her parents returned home distraught and broken. I remained silent sitting in the corner of the bathroom. They told the police it was an attempted double suicide. I couldn’t recall myself grabbing the razor from the bath caddy and running it across my skin. I felt guilt. What could a fifteen year old do? I had no influence, not even my own parents would believe in me.
“…la. Kamela” The broken girl stared at the therapist’s hand touching her’s to stop the trembling.
“Although you attempted to commit a sin, what shocked me was how easily you decided to live in the place of your friend. You admitted to this hospital for treatment on your own will so you could live with your suicidal intentions and continue living with the mere thought of taking your life any minute. Do you realize how reckless it is?” the woman sighed, opening the manilla folder and scanning the records of Kamela. The fragile girl shyly nodded.
“Yes. People give up too easily these days, more people now die of suicide than in car accidents. All I want to do is live for both me and Autumn, she would have wanted me to. With her leaving me… I-I have learned from experience that dying is giving up and not living the only life that is given to you. But, I have to lives to live that’s why I am going to make every minute count from now on!” She relieved a smile on her face, relaxing her whole stature. The woman let out a relief sigh. She closed the file smiling at the cheered up girl. No, the new woman in front of her.
For years, that has been the response she had been waiting for. Ever since Kamela came to the rehabilitation center a couple of years ago, the girl wouldn’t open up. Didn’t talk to other patients, not even to her doctors. The girl never budged even if she went through three other therapists. Bits and pieces of her past she revealed to me, finally after six months, she opened up and retold her story to the woman. Although she knew most parts of the story. The therapist asked questions and after all the right questions, Kamela opened up and told how she felt about the whole story. That is the greatest accomplishment achieved by the elderly woman; she helped a patient realize the importance of life. For two years she went to school with permission from her parents, security keeping check in case she wanted to kick the boot there. After two years, the girl manage to graduate with a high GPA. Today was the day after her graduation. She knew she had the confidence to live on.
“You made your resolve.” they both stood to face one another. “What college are you planning to go to?”
“Harvard Law School accepted me. Becoming a lawyer will suffice. I will help as many abused patients as I can!” With confidence, Kamela shook hands with the old lady. Handing her the discharge papers the renewed woman stepped out of the office with a smile. She knew she could do it and nothing from this point forward is going to stop her now. The Clear Falls Rehab center doors opened as the girl stepped outside to the awaiting car in front of her. With her bags already packed in the trunk, her parents waiting for her, and the faces of pure astonishment staring, Kamela knows for sure with the support she has now, she could live. Live in peace and Autumn’s story will help her through.
“Suicide is an event that is a part of human nature. However much may have been said and done about it in the past, every person must confront it for himself anew, and every age must come to its own terms with it.”—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)