I have been ‘sad’ for as long as I can remember. I’m sure there was a time when I wasn’t though. People tell me about how I used to be a happy child, smiling at stary dogs, picking flowers for strangers, dancing in the rain in my yellow rain boots, and so on. I don’t remember that version of myself. I feel like we’re talking about a distant third person whenever I hear stories about the younger me, as if she only exists in these stories.
I often try to imitate who people tell me I used to be. I try to smile at animals I encounter on the street, but my smile never seems natural, I think the animals can tell as much because they simple look at me as if asking me if there’s anything else I want to say to them before continuing on their path. Picking flowers seem pointless, and rain just makes me fall asleep.
People often say there’s a lot to live for, that the world is one big, beautiful symphony and that sometimes you might get lost in the notes of one instrument, but you just must step back for a moment to see the grander idea of the composition. I tried, I really tried to live by those words. But then I found myself asking, ‘what if I just don’t like music?’. I simply didn’t see the point in continuing this life. It wasn’t any one thing that made me take this decision, it wasn’t like I was bullied in school or that my parents were not there for me, no abuse, no trauma, nothing that I could chalk up to be the reason that made me want to kill myself. It was small, seemingly inconsequential things, like the time the teacher made us do an exercise where we had to talk about our favourite memory, I realised I didn’t have one, all other students talked about beautiful moments in their lives, their eyes sparkling as they relived the highlights of their lives, I don’t even remember what I talked about, some random amalgamation of other stories, feeling completely numb. Or the time when my mom cooked my favourite dinner, giddy with excitement to see my reaction because she though it would make me as happy as it used to and all I could muster up was a fake smile and a weak ‘thank you’. She tried her best to remain cheery but the way her face fell, as if she was the one who failed me, broke my heart and I knew there was nothing I could say or do to remedy that.
As I stood in the school washroom, the sleeping pills practically falling out of my hand, because there were so many of them. I think I felt a sense of finality, a sense of defeat because I though this is what I was supposed to be doing since I couldn’t do anything else. Just as I reached for my water bottle to down the pills, a girl I had never met walked in, I had seen her around but didn’t even know her name. I froze, didn’t even try to hide the pills in my hand, she stood there for maybe ten seconds before it clicked for her what I was about to do. I thought she was going to freak out, call the teachers and tell them everything, but she just calmly walked up to me and said “I don’t know why you’re about to do what your about to do, but trust me when I say ‘this too shall pass’. I would know” and she lifted up her shirt just a fraction above her waist, it was enough to display the jagged pattern of scars littering her waist and disappearing under her clothing. She smiled a sad smile and asked me if I wanted to talk, or just sit. We sat there for over two hours, I’m sure she had classes, but she never made any attempt to hurry me or give any indication that she wanted to leave, she just sat there as I first said nothing, then slowly the words started pouring out and I was crying. She listened to me and interjected occasionally to tell me about similar experiences she’s had.
I still don’t know her name, but now we smile at each other whenever we pass by in the hallway. I think, given some time, my smile even be something resembling genuine.