|A Grey Sweater
Author: the ignorance of it all PM
oneshot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Words: 1,640 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 3 - Published: 05-23-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2676230
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Grey Sweater
Inspired by boredom and a story I saw on the news about a cemetary.
Criticism greatly appreciated. (:
"In the name of the Father, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today, I'd like you all to say a special prayer for the family of one of our students, who passed away last night…" When she speaks the boy's name, I fall into my seat, the legs of the chair screeching against the linoleum as it skids backward a few inches.
Where has the air gone?
I stare blankly at the chalkboard. Not one person in this room is listening to the woman on the intercom now. They're all staring at me. They don't say a word, but I know what they're thinking. That poor girl… lost her boyfriend… wonder what happened to him… she'll probably kill herself now… little slut got what she deserved…
That last one would be what's running through his girlfriend's mind. I'm not his girlfriend, nor his mistress, although the gossipers would tell you differently. I've never kissed a boy; I've been much more interested in my own gender since the sixth grade, but only one person in the world knows that, and he took that secret to his grave.
I've lived beside him for my whole life. Maybe we were a bit too close to look like we were just friends: I fit the gay stereotype of being physically affectionate with my friends—lots of hugs, an occasional peck on the cheek, sometimes holding someone's hand while I talk to them, etc.
But that's not the point. I've just lost my best friend, and I had to learn about it over the morning announcements. Thankfully, my trusty subconscious kicks in, appearing to me in the form of a young boy. He slips an arm around my waist and pulls me gently to my feet, leading me out of the classroom while holding his other hand over my face so that other students would not meet my eyes.
Out in the empty hallway, he reminds me to breathe. I want to run out of the school and all the way home. I want to hide under my bed and never come out.
My subconscious leads me out a back door of the school. Hot, humid air hits me as the door swings open. Clouds obliterate the sun entirely, but it's still too bright outside.
I just want the world to go away.
I move to sit in the clipped grass, but I'm still held fast by this imaginary arm, so I remain on my feet, which carry me to the road. I want to lie on the pavement in the middle of a lane and get run over. "May I?" I ask the boy standing at my side. He shakes his head solemnly.
And so I walk, letting my subconscious guide me. I pass people and trees and cars and buildings and offices and schools and parks and restaurants and stores and coffee shops, looking at everything but not seeing a thing.
I notice that my feet have stopped, and I wonder how long I'd been walking. I'm now standing in front of his house, the house in which my best friend has always lived, the house beside mine. But I don't see my house; I have eyes only for his.
I stare at the front steps, which I've only used a handful of times, when his parents were out. They didn't like me. Well, they didn't like my parents—who were alcoholic drug addicts—and they somehow expected me to be exactly like them, even when I was five years old. So when the two of us played, it was always down the road, or at another friend's house. When that person moved, I was nine, and I soon discovered that I could climb the trellis along the back of the house to his bedroom window, which he never locked. I'd spent too many sleepless nights with him to count. He always locked his door when I came over, and we would make sure to speak very quietly; his parents still thought that he hadn't spoken a word to me in eleven years. Oh, how I would miss those nights now.
My subconscious now grips my shoulders tightly, willing me not to walk across the lawn. I shrug off his hands and within a minute, I'm straddling the windowsill. I lift one leg over the sill and then the other, lean down to slip through the frame. I close the glass behind me.
The closet door has been flung open, the drawers of the desk and dresser gape at me. Clothes and various objects cover the bed, the floor, the desk… every available surface. He'd been looking for something. My subconscious sits cross-legged on the bed, quiet as I step across it to lock the door, and then I survey the room again. There's only one clearing: below the window. I almost smile.
I go back to the window and stare down at the carpet. I wiggle my toes, and then join them on the floor, leaning back against the wall. My hand falls onto a grey sweater. A tear slips from the corner of my eye. This is the sweater that I used to wear when I came over, that he let me borrow when he went out of town. I lift it to my face, breathe it in.
A bottle of pills falls into my lap.
It's been stripped of its label and robbed of half its contents. I'd been expecting this; pills, booze, a gun… but until now, I'd been clinging to the hope that he had been in a car accident, that he had fallen out of his window on his way to see me in the middle of the night and broken his neck, that he had been caught in a crossfire…
My face contorts into an ugly, mournful shape. I choke on my sob as I collapse onto the floor. The next one escapes fully, shuddering through my body. I cry, alone in this room that he used to occupy. My best friend.
My ex best friend?
I'm not sure what his title is now…
I mutter the word unhappily to the figure on the bed. My voice breaks.
How could he do this to me? How could he… how could he…. how could he… My thoughts turn into a sob. I'm clutching the bottle as I collapse to the floor.
I'd thought I would be enough. I never thought he would actually kill himself. I talked about it, too. I mean, come on, my life was hell. But for me, they were only words. Sure, I came pretty close a few times; failed attempts. But every time I picked up a weapon, I knew that I wasn't about to die; I'd never said goodbye to anyone. I only ever intended to scare people, tell them to smarten up, or they'd lose me.
They never listened.
Maybe that's what happened here; an attempt gotten out of control. After all, he hadn't talked to me about it in weeks; there was no note, no goodbye, nothing to show that he had planned on actually dying. It was an accident.
"Check the bottle," says my imaginary friend from the bed.
I sit up and look into container clasped in my trembling fingers.
A paper lines the plastic.
"No," I whisper, the word drenched in despair.
I set the bottle down in front of me and stare at it for a long moment. Then I slip my arms through the grey sweater in my lap and pull the fabric over my head.
Then I drag the note out of the bottle.
I wanted to tell you goodbye the right way. I didn't want to leave you like this, in a pathetic little note. But I knew that you would try to talk me out of it; you always do. I just can't take this anymore. I can't live with myself any longer. I—
Tears blur my eyes, preventing me from reading the rest. I'm not sure if I want to. I tuck the note into the pocket of my jeans.
All the times before, the thought of him had stopped me from following through; I would see an image of him as he found out about what I'd done, or curled up and unable to move, or… I'd imagined what it would do to him. It was a way out for me, but what about the people I was leaving behind? I couldn't kill them in order to save myself.
Unfortunately, my friend hadn't thought of that.
Now that he's gone, my reason to stay alive, to grin and bear it… I look into the bottle.
My subconscious is in front of me, his hand around mine around the bottle.
"Don't," he tells me.
I sigh and bring the container to my mouth. My teeth part slightly and a single tablet falls onto my bottom lip.
"You feel guilty; you wish you would have taken him seriously and gotten him the help he needed. But killing yourself isn't going to bring someone else back. It's just going to hurt a whole new set of people."
I drop my head, close my eyes, and put the bottle on the floor.
And then I crawl into the bed, under the mound of his possessions, and I fall asleep, wrapped tightly in the embrace of his grey sweater.