Healing the Wounds of Suicide

by Serina Subterfuge

"You're sitting in your literature class when a clearly disturbed young man enters the room and closes the door behind him. He's visibly trembling, mumbling, but he's coherent enough to promise you that his intent is not to hurt any of you...only himself. He pulls a revolver from his coat pocket and places the barrel against his temple and begs for no one to move suddenly. His eyes are drawn to yours, pleading, teary, and he can't break his stare at you. You are his last line of defense against suicide."

-A Friend

She holds his gaze as he holds hers. She wants to look away, but she knows that if she does, he will without a doubt shoot himself. She begins to talk through her eyes. Her facial expression is blank-unreadable-but her eyes say all. He takes in everything he sees in her eyes. He understands. He knows that she want to help him...to STOP him, not for HER sake, but for HIS. She feels a million eyes on her. Everyone is as shaken up as the guy, and they begin to look at her with fear in their eyes as the room is filled in their silence. By now there is an eerie connection between the two and the rest observe it in interest as the suspense builds up.

She wants to ask him questions, but she hesitates because a single error in her words could result to violence.

Tact. Patience. Caution. Understanding.

"May I stand?" She asks him very politely. She had never used such a tone of politeness to anyone-not even her Literature teacher. It's so polite and innocent that the guy realizes that no one has ever treated him with such respect. He can't refuse now.

"Why would you want to stand?" He says as he returns her politeness.

"So that more or less our eyes are at the same level." There it goes again. It's as if she doesn't know that he could blast her brains in less than a second. He wouldn't, of course. He couldn't. She is one of the few who has ever showed him kindness-one of the few who ever treated him like a NORMAL human being. He is touched, but then he remembers what he came there to do. His grip on the gun tightens. It will take more than that.

"May I?" she asks again.

He is clearly startled, but he lets her stand. There's no harm in it anyway. And he too is curious.

"What's your name? Mine's Artemis." For a second there, it's as if she's back to the first grade. But it was truly an honest question.

He hesitates. He doesn't know if this girl is as crazy as he is, or if she's something else. It's as if she doesn't see the gun in his hands. It's as if she knows why he is doing this. It's as if she can see through him. There used to be this song, he recalled, that went something like, "Went to school and I was very nervous, no one knew me...no one knew me. Tell me teacher, tell me what's my lesson. Look right through me. Look right through me." Well, he was in a school, and in comparison to her, he was the student. And she was looking right through him.

"I don't think you have to know my name. Why would you want to know?" His voice is still jittery, and most of what he said was mumbled, but she heard it, and she could understand.

"Because I care. But if you think that knowing your name is the same as knowing a person as a whole, then I'm fine with that. If you're uncomfortable, then that's okay."

"That's a really pretty gun, you know. But did you know that the prettiest things are usually the deadliest? Where'd you get it?"

A mistake.

He panicked on his part. He started shaking the gun at her, at his head, at everyone in the room. He started talking about all these things that didn't seem to make sense. They weren't in sentences. "Life. Ruined. No hope. Stupid world. Harsh. Cruel." Those were all she could pick out. But she maintained her posture and her demeanor. Her face was still blank. She felt pity for him. Life had been harsh and cruel to him that he began to think it was a stupid world that had no hope. He didn't have hope and so he thought that his life was ruined. He thought the best way to end everything would be suicide.

"You do know that it gets worse, right? If you kill yourself with a gun, it's true that you will feel pain for only a little while, but suicide is a sin. There is a hell, and that's worse and painful than the world you know today. There is still hope, you know."

His feelings for her changed. Now she's just annoying him, in a strange way. It's not the annoying that you'd want to kill her. It's more of the annoying that would just make you shout out loud because you know what she said is right. He wanted to shoot her, but he didn't want to kill her.

"May I come closer?"

There it was again! Another question! Another question that he wanted to say no to, but just couldn't. He wasn't sure if there was any meaning behind her words. He wasn't sure if she knew there was a figurative meaning to it. Was she asking him if she could get closer to him physically? Or closer to him in an intimate way? A way wherein she'd like to know about him and his life and feelings?

What was this?! She was coming CLOSER. And he didn't even respond to her question yet! He could not believe it. He wasn't prepared for this. He just wanted an audience. Not a participant. She was hesitant, and cautious, but she was slowly advancing towards him. He knew she was scared, but he also knew that he was more scared than she was. She stops, and for a second there, he doesn't want her to.

She wonders if what she is doing is the right thing to do. If she says the wrong thing, everything could go wrong, and she could get shot. It would have been better if she was dealing with someone more stable. Someone as unstable as him is equivalent to unpredictability. She already made a mistake, and she had seen what that had cost him to do.

"You want an audience don't you? You want someone to remember you when you die. If you had committed suicide in the comforts of your own home, no one would even know you were gone. But that's only what you think. There are people out there, you know. People who actually care. And I know that it may not seem that way, but it's possible that they just really don't know that they aren't showing how much they care. Do you understand?"

"You are the one who doesn't understand." He stops trembling and stuttering.

"Then make me understand."

"You don't know how hard it is. You don't know how hard life is. You're in a private school that is excluded from the world. I am doing you a deed of showing you the real world."

"We're talking about you. Do not turn the tables and say that this is all a deed for someone else." She was close to him now. It was as if they were friends having a discussion, or more of a heated debate. "Why are you doing this? What happened to you?"

"It doesn't matter, and you know what? You don't matter either."

He had hurt her with those words. He saw her flinch before she returned to her blank expression. But it was a bit cold. It was like he had unleashed something in her that he didn't know could even exist.

"Give me the gun," she said. "I may not matter, but at least your life, as well as the lives of everyone else in this room, matters...to me, at least. I will not let you kill yourself."

He points the gun at her, and in a close distance such as theirs, the gun was only inches away from her forehead. Strangely, she didn't move. She didn't even look at the gun. She just continued to look into his eyes.

He then realized that he couldn't do it. He couldn't.

"That gun is heavy, isn't it? Let me help you carry your load, please." She slowly extended her arm and brought it to the gun only inches away from her forehead. She was touching it now. Three. Two. One.

He let go of the gun, and it was all hers. He fell to the ground, exhausted. She quickly knelt and pushed the gun to the farthest end of the room. The farther, the better. Then she lifted him and helped him towards the door. She went out the room WITH him. And before she closed the door, she motioned to her teacher and her classmates to remain inside the room.

She knew where she was going to bring him-to the green tables...for a long, warm chat. She'd like that, and she hoped he would too.