I couldn’t do it. Not one minute longer. It was too much for me to handle. All of it, overflowing my mind. “Take cleansing breaths,” is what my guidance counselor said. There is no way in the world you could cleanse all of the stuff that is going on right now. They were surrounding me, all of them. Almost everyone that signed that horrid letter. I could end it, I thought, I could end it all. Those are the words my guidance counselor wouldn’t want me to think. My parents too, but they didn’t really pay attention to that kind of stuff. They were always to busy with work and pampering Taylor. “He’s going to be the smartest football star in the whole University.” It was always Taylor. Always the older brother that is good at everything rather than the little sister who doesn’t have any friends except that one girl. It’s almost over, It’s almost over. I curled to the ground. I couldn’t take the horrid words, the names -- “wannabe Whitney”. I definitely couldn’t take their evil laughs either. Covering me heavily like my comforter. The storm inside of me was blowing harder than ever. Booming with despair, anger, and not one drop of hope. And then I did it, I screamed.
I was never the popular kid at Bushkill Oriental. Never, even in my wildest dreams. Although, I never wanted to be. I did want people to treat me fairly though. Like an actual human being, not like trash. I wasn’t like all of those rich girls with their iPhone X’s, UGG’s, and boyfriends. I was the normal kid. I was that one kid the back of your class that fantasizes over some Indie artist more than boys. I hated school food, had a friend, and really really hated writing. Not much of this lasted long for me though. It all started with Jen. Jen was the happiest and kindest person you could ever meet. She was the best friend ever. She was my best friend. Exactly the day she moved to Bushkill, Pennsylvania on the first day of fifth grade, we became best friends for life. She moved from Florida so of course, everyone was flooding her with questions. You don’t get 70-degree weather here in the dead center of winter. Even after everyone always sat with her at lunch and asked for her number, she just stuck with me though. I’m grateful for that but she didn’t have to do it. She could have been with the cool kids. After a few months of staying by my side, she got classified as the normal kid. But that didn’t stop us from doing everything together. Her dad was big on hunting so he would show us all of his equipment. Jen and I got really good at shooting. He would also show us outdoor skills like what berries are safe to eat and how to find a water source out in the woods. Jen’s family went on a vacation every year back to Florida. They always left on the same day and came back on the same day. That one week was the worst of the whole year. That is, until the day she moved away. Naturally, I thought she had just gone on her usual summer vacation until she didn’t come back. She left the summer before junior year, right about the time her, her mom, and her dad would leave for their vacation. Except, it was one day later. I wasn’t able to see her the day they usually left because I was out of town visiting my Nana. I, nor anyone else was informed where they were going that summer. They had just left without warning. They were just gone.
Jen and I were the best of friends. When she was still here, it was always Jen and Whitney, Whitney and Jen. But when she left, I had nobody. Only me myself and I. Without her, I decided to shut everyone out. My teachers, my parents, even Taylor. Without her here by my side, I had no friends, I still hated cafeteria food, and I started to write. Writing was really the only thing that kept me living but only for a little bit. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about anything. So, I confide in my journal. I spilled everything in there. It was like Jen was still there. Who else could I talk to? I definitely had not wanted to talk to my parents, nor my school counselor. Maybe there would have been the littlest chance I would have talked to Taylor but he was at college doing college stuff. Plus, he’s a boy. He couldn’t help me.
Factors are always important. What made you steal cookies from the jar? Why did you hit your sister? Those are just general examples. Really it’s: Why did you shut me out? Why don’t you know where your little friend went? Why did you commit suicide? There are usually lot’s of them too. Bullies, Jen, Jackie, notes, and the internet. All of this is crappy stuff that you probably don’t care about. It happens to all teenagers right? Wrong. It mattered to me or I wouldn’t have done what I did.
Everything from the past was running through my mind while I lay here on the damp grass around Thunder Pond. I’m going to do this and no one can stop me. Even if Jen came, which would never happen so what’s the point of thinking about her. She left me and there’s nothing I can do to change that. I sit up with force and almost run to the pond. I whip around at the edge of the lake so I’m now facing the woods surrounding the pond. Before I could’ve stopped myself, I saw a dash of black and hear a voice call out my name. A very familiar voice. Dejavu swings over me. Where have I heard that voice before? And then I remember: I’m falling and falling and I can’t stop myself. I hit the surface of the water and everything is black. “Goodbye world.”
I wake up with a jolt. My hair and clothes are dry and I’m laying on the grass next to Thunder Pond. Why am I here, at Thunder Pond? Is this some twisted version of Heaven where you just stay at the place you die? Or is this Heaven? Am I even dead? Something hits my face and I stop thinking about where I am. It’s raining cool, soft rain. It wasn’t been raining before, was it? There’s a noise coming from behind me. It’s voices and footsteps on the crunching leaves. I get up quickly and face the woods. Two people emerge from the tree line. It was a girl and a boy. I recognize one of them. It’s Skylar, it just had to be. Skylar posted all the mean stuff about me on the school website. All of the dumb lies about Jen. All of the rumors saying that it’s my fault that Jen left. Blaming me for murder. The storm inside me is roaring but this time, it was filled with only anger and the next thing you know I’m running as fast as I can straight towards Skylar. Once I reach her I scream nonsense, punch hard, and cry tears of hatred.
I gave up trying to hurt her. She acted like I wasn’t even there and she just kept on walking. Skylar and the guy eventually just sat down facing the pond. They are talking. Talking about their lives and what they want to do with them. Sometimes, I wished I could talk to someone about everything. Like with Jen. Like with Jackie. But I never did after she died at the shooting in her school. After some guy broke in with a gun and shot 17 people including her. But I never will and what good would it do to have someone now when no one could hear me. Tears are streaking down my face now. Man, I really need to get out of here. So, my feet start to move and I don’t even try to stop them. It had stopped raining as I entered the woods, but not tears.
I walk into the warmth of my house. I guess that’s where my feet wanted me to go. I walk straight to my room. Still crying, I fall to the floor by my garbage can. I’m mentally exhausted from all of my thoughts and emotions and I need a rest. I grab the only thing that is in the trash and pull it out. It is all crumpled up and limp. I unravel it and read the crisp clean handwriting. I start crying even harder. How could someone be so mean as to write this horrible letter and then have people sign it? Everyone that I hated had written their name. I just read the names over and over in my head. Then, the last time I read it out loud. I drop the piece of paper and yell. I yell out all of my feelings that I haven’t told anyone ever. Not even my journal. I scream the names of everyone who made me feel horrible. From posting lies to calling my shoes ugly. Suddenly, it starts raining. Inside the house, winds start to blow at rapid speeds as the roof is blown off. The wind is whispering with all of the lies and hatred. It was the storm inside me. Thunder is booming as lightning is lighting up the sky. One big boom of thunder hits and then everything goes silent and black. So silent, I couldn’t even hear my own whimpers.
In front of me, a bright light is in my eyes. Or is it above me? Everything is blurry. My eyes start to flutter. All I can hear is loud beeping noises over and over. And then I hear crying.
“Mom? Dad?” I try to say. It barely comes out though. A woman’s voice I didn’t recognize starts to speak.
“Shhhhh Whitney, don’t try and talk.” Where am I? The beeping noise continues.
“Your lungs are still sore from all of the water,” says the voice I heard at the pond before I got put in some messed up place. Am I still there? My vision becomes clear and I sit up. I stare right into her eyes. Her crisp hazel eyes. She looks different. She has on ratty clothes; summer clothes, not fall clothes. Her hair is a mess and it’s filled with leaves. She is also soaking wet, just like me.
“J-j-j-jen?” I manage to make out. I am freezing cold and shivering.
It’s like she read my mind because she says, “I’ll explain everything later,” and I know she will.
Like usual, Jen was going on her family vacation that summer. They were delayed a day because her mom was sick. The next day they were in a rush to get going and forgot to contact everyone to let them know they were leaving. Once they didn’t come back, most people had figured they ran away or moved. They had gotten into a car crash while trying to tell people that they were leaving. Jen was the only one that survived. She knew not to trust random strangers and she wasn’t super far from Bushkill, so she walked. She had just been living by Thunder Pond because that was the best place to get berries and squirrels. She didn’t want to find me because she needed time to get over her parents. She was eating her dinner and getting ready to go to bed when she saw me and brought me to the hospital. She had saved my life and I didn’t feel like ending it anymore. But, where was I? I was stuck in between heaven and hell. On the edge of life and death. Right in the middle. Lukewarm.
Suicide is never an answer. If you feel that is the only other option, it isn’t. Try to make a list of people you could talk to. Maybe it’s your parents, a relative, a good friend, or your guidance counselor. If you can’t think of anyone and feel like giving up, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Suicide is a very permanent answer. Taking your own life is very horrible and sad decision to make. Please, if you have had a thought about ending your life, take this advice because it could very well save your life.