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Grade
8

My hands shook ferociously as I lifted the knife. The metal almost sparkled in the dim moonlight. Could I really do this? Is it worth it? It was too late, I had done it. The last thing I remember is my body falling onto the floor.

But the story doesn’t start there. It starts a few weeks before on the first day back from winter break.

I cautiously approached the huge school. Why was I worried? I’d gone here for a year and a half. For some reason, today the school seemed extra menacing. I considered what waited for me. Would everyone laugh at me and talk behind my back? Why did it matter anyway? I could do it, but I just needed to ignore the voices in my head.

“Bella!” a girl yelled from across the parking lot. The tall blonde girl sprinted and almost tackled me, enveloping me in a hug. I stood, my feet frozen to the ground. My cheeks burned as I felt myself becoming flushed.

“How was your Christmas break? Mine was great! I had a lot of fun with my family in San Francisco.”

“It was okay, I guess,” I quietly responded, “Could you not be so… so loud?”

“Fine,” the girl said with mock irritation, “I’ll try.” That time she was sincere. She understood, she’s the only one that understands.

“Thanks, Clementine. It means a lot.” It did mean a lot. Clementine is my only only friend and I’m not in a position to lose her. Everything in my life had changed, but Clementine was constant. She was always there and, I hoped, she would always be there.

“We’ve got to go to class or Mrs. Johnson will kill us!” Clementine raced into the building. I trailed just a few steps behind as I always did. As I walked, my eyes wandered to the colorful posters on the wall. One caught my eye.

“Suicide helpline,” I quietly whispered to myself.

“What?” Clementine called out, just a little too loud. Everyone in hallway 3A turned to look at us. There it was again, that burning feeling in my cheeks signifying the bright red that followed. The on-looker’s eyes burned holes in my already thin self confidence. I wanted to cry out for help, but who was going to help? I tried to run, but I was frozen to the ground. Clementine grabbed my arm and ran around the corner into the bathroom, holding me tightly.

“What happened? You know they were just laughing at me,” Clementine assured.

“Umm… uh. I…” I stuttered. It was as if someone was strangling me, making my words clog me with fear. Fear… why was I so scared? I know they meant no harm, but my mental illness caused me to think they were a pack of starving hyenas and I was the carcass. I remember when I was first diagnosed with depression and social anxiety disorder about three years ago. My life has been going downhill since then. I have no control over my emotions or when the panic attacks come or go.

“It’ll be okay, just breathe,” Clementine said calmly. She had gotten used to my panic attacks. After all, she was one of just five people that know of my mental state. My mom, dad, doctor, and therapist were the other four.

“Thanks for helping. It’s been getting worse.” I trailed off quietly at the end. It had been getting worse. Those bracelets on my left wrist weren’t a fashion statement, they were a necessity. They covered up the bloody cuts that rested there. I hadn’t told anyone about them yet, not even Clementine. Clementine knew almost everything else about me: my favorite of everything, my plans, and she was the first to know about my depression.

“I’m going to assign groups for a project,” Mrs. Johnson grumbled. No… no… no! The panic spread throughout my body. Group work was my kryptonite. The awkward conversations, the one kid who insisted on being bossy, and worst of all, the questions. To a normal person being asked questions about your opinion on something is at worst annoying or awkward. To me, the questions felt like an interrogation into my personal thoughts. I was already awkward, but group work was torturous and involved a great deal of concentration in order to not explode with fear.

“Each group will present their project on Friday,” Mrs. Johnson stated as the class erupted into a chorus of sighs and mumbled curse words.

I could feel the blood rushing to my head, as I repeated the horrific word over and over. Present! I can’t present! I’m going to die if I have to stand in front of the class, I thought. I turned to look at Clementine hoping she would have a plan to get out of this. Instead, she just gave me a sympathetic look and turned towards the teacher to hear the rest of the instructions. Great, I thought, not even Clementine can help me.

Terrified of who I would be stuck with, I nervously listened to Mrs. Johnson hoping I would get good partners.

“Group three is Dillan, Valerie, Eli, and Bella.” Oh. My. God. Why does this kind of thing always happen to me? Really world, why do you hate me that much?! The teacher just had to put me in a group with the annoying, unproductive kid, Dillan, the gorgeous, popular girl, Valerie, and the guy I’ve had a huge crush on since eighth grade. Mortified of what would happen, I looked at Clementine for support. She mouthed the word “sorry” and walked over to her group.

I gave up on trying to find excuses not to do the project and walked over my group. I immediately knew I would have to do all the work. For the rest of the hour Dillan goofed off, Valerie flirted with someone from a different group, and Eli did homework for another class. I managed to do a lot of work anyway.

Clementine and I walked to my house after-school for our “check up on what we did over break” talk.

“I’m soooo sorry that you have to work with them in social studies. I know how awkward it feels to work with your crush.”

“I’ll be fine, I’m the only one doing work anyway.”

“Okay, but give me updates.”

“Ok.”

The next morning I begrudgingly got out of bed and got ready for school. My depression clouded my mind with fear and worry. Sometimes you have good days where you feel like nothing can stop you and some days you feel like you’re about to be pushed off a cliff into the abyss of depression below. Today was the latter. I don’t know why, but my depression seemed to worsen with every step I took. My depression weighed me down to the point where lifting up my foot was a nearly impossible task. Every time I take a breath a sharp pain runs through my body. I feel dead inside. It’s hard to explain how much it hurts to feel yourself deteriorating, but I have to keep living and carry on as if I was perfectly fine. I grabbed my backpack and opened the door. A cold burst of wind hit me, chilling me to the bone. I continued all the way to school wearing the biggest, and the most fake, smile ever. No one would know I’m in pain.

I walked into Mrs. Johnson’s class and got to work, beaming. Eli walked over just as I finished his part of the presentation.

“Is it done?” he asked.

“Ya, I just finished,” I said, handing him the papers.

“Why are you even talking to her, she’s so ugly” Valerie asked as she approached us.

“You know she’s done all the work, right? Without her you’d be getting a F.”

“You know she’s really annoying and gross and deserves to die in a hole.” As she mocked me, she acted as though I wasn’t even there. Die in a hole, perfect, as if I wasn’t already totally embarrassed in front of my crush, and now I feel even more suicidal. Her words stabbed deep and reassured my anxiety that everyone hates me. I wanted to die right then and there, to end it all. No more mean girls, no more embarrassment, and no more pain and suffering. But more importantly I needed to not let them see me cry. I plastered on the biggest smile I could and laughed at the “joke.” Luckily the bell rang shortly thereafter and I scurried out of the room so fast that I didn’t even see their reactions. The rest of the day went by in a blur without a single tear.

As soon as I got home I rushed to my room and threw my backpack on the ground. Tears poured out of my eyes and flowed on my cheeks in rivers, falling onto the floor in big droplets. My lungs burned as I gasped for air. It feels like there’s no air left and you are being suffocated. My body started to freeze as a chill ran down my spine. The tears suddenly stopped and a feeling of calm rushed over me. I wiped the streaks of tears off my face just as my mom walked in.

“Your dad and I are going to dinner, wanna come?”

“No, thanks.” She walked out of my room, unaware of the consequences this would have.

I made my way down the stairs as I heard the garage door close. The cold tiles of the kitchen floor froze my feet. I slowly reached for the knife, gently holding the ice cold blade. I walked to the stairs and continued up. I was done, with Valerie, with Eli, with my depression. I no longer cared about the repercussions. My life would finally be over. I could finally feel the sweet release from myself. After today there would be no Bella, just a lifeless body.

I arrived at my room and calmly closed the door behind me.

My whole life played like a movie in front of me. My friends, my family. What would happen to them? Clementine! I could picture her crying at my funeral. But it didn’t matter anymore. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be done.

My hands shook ferociously as I lifted the knife. The metal almost sparkled in the dim moonlight. Could I really do this? Is it worth it? It was too late, I sliced deep into my wrist. The blood rushed out and mixed with my tears on the floor.

“Goodbye,” I whispered. The last thing I remember is my body falling onto the floor. I was gone.

State
MI
Zip Code
48103