My hands shook as I reread the paper I was holding for the fourth time. Tears fell from my eyes. My hand gripped the slightly yellow paper, causing it to crinkle and make a crackling noise. It was the only sound in the room. Even the deep, careful breaths of the five other people with me were guarded. The dog that was usually barking annoyingly kept quiet. It was as if everyone knew that even the slightest sound would make the room shatter into a black nothingness.

My eyes jumped back to the top of the paper. I slowly read each word on it. All the words were printed in Aleena's careful handwriting. I pressed every word deeper and deeper in my brain so that I would never forget each of those precious words. I recited the words as my eyes floated over them; I already had them memorized. The words had been permanently glued into my mind the second time I had read them.

I was looking at the curve of Aleena's letters. I memorized the straight edge of each. I could tell by the delicacy of it all that this was the final draft to several rough drafts. Each word was written so perfectly. There wasn't a smudge anywhere on the sheet. The only place there was even a smear was on the last A of Aleena; there was always a smear on that A. It was just an Aleena thing.

I closed my eyes and listened to the silence around me. It now had a new story to tell. The silences thickened the air, making it pressure down on each of us in the room so much harder. It crept around my ears, whispering words to me. I focused on the nonexistent words for a moment before giving up. The silence was playing us all, and it was beating us coldly and harshly. There was no shame in the silent threats it was making. The grim smile it wore was haunting me behind my closed eyelids. It stood over us, showing pride in the power of terror that had consumed us. I tried to escape it by breathing harder and louder, but my defeat was sad. I couldn't win a war I didn't know how to fight.

I sucked in a deep breath and let the oxygen fill my lungs. The air was old. Nothing about it seemed fresh. It felt so worn out, like it had been used over and over. The air that was now filling me had passed through many other bodies. It seemed tired and exhausted. It wasn't even trying to keep up its fresh and polished image. The air, felt no point in trying.

My mouth felt dry. I touched my tongue to the roof of my mouth. It was dry and scaly. I slowly moved it, feeling each of the ridges above my teeth. It felt like the fin of a fish. I put my tongue back in place.

I opened my eyes and looked around the room. Aleena's younger sister, Gracie, was sitting on the floor by the door. She had her knees pulled up and her arms wrapped around them. Her chin was resting on her knees and her eyes showed confusion and terror. She knew something bad had happened, but her small brain couldn't comprehend what she was seeing. Miss. Sullivan was leaning into her current boyfriend and letting herself cry. He was patting her back soothingly, but a look of disgust was on his face. Anne, Aleena's older sister, was leaning against one of the walls, her face in her hand, silent tears coming from within her. The last person in the room was Aleena's boyfriend, Cooper. He had just gotten here, and was looking around trying to find out what had happened. Aleena's bed had pillows tossed around, looking as it might after a night of careless sleep. Other than that, the room was clean. On a photo board by her mirror, there were tons of pictures of Aleena and me, Aleena at family events, a picture of Aleena and Cooper, one of Cooper by himself looking off into the distance, and tons of Aleena by herself, all smiling and looking happy. Her TV sat on a bookshelf. The book shelf contained many journals, books and magazines. Her purse was on a chair by her bed. Her school binder lay on her desk. She had a blue ink pen on her desk, which she had used to write the note. Her neon green walls suddenly seemed faded, like they were too weak. Her soft carpet seemed rougher. The window curtains were open, letting in sunshine. The brightness seemed all too fake; it didn't seem real enough to really be there. It was trying to put happy faces on us, and no one here was happy. I reread the note one last time before letting the paper fall softly to the floor. Cooper walked over to where it had dropped and picked it up. His footsteps created a soft thud on the carpet.

I watched Cooper's face change as he read Aleena's note. It twisted in pain. Sadness blackened his eyes. His face weighed down in sorrow. His expression changed from being worried to depression in a matter of seconds. Tears fell to the floor beneath him and dripped down his face, sliding off his chin.

The dachshund barked one time, reminding us all that she was still there. Gracie called her over. Her feet made a pitter-patter on the floor and she finally settled under Gracie's legs. Gracie petted her and her tail was wagging softly.

Cooper crumpled the paper up and threw it against the wall. His angry expression turned to defeat as he realized there was nothing he could do. He sat down on the floor. He was crumbling inside, and it was obvious. This was killing him. Tears kept streaming out of his eyes. He was crushed.

I walked over to where the paper had fallen to the floor. I picked it up and carefully un-crumpled it. It now had wrinkles all over it, but it didn't matter. I could still read every word on it perfectly. Tears dropped from my eyes onto the paper, making it soggy in some places.

Aleena's suicide note said:

This is my goodbye to the world.

I came into this world not knowing what I would find, and honestly, I didn't like what I found. And by the looks of it, it didn't like what it found in me either. I'm trapped in a life I never asked for. I didn't ask to be born, to live; but now I'm asking to die. I've gone through my whole life with nothing but a fake smile on my face.

Day after day, I watched everyone around me laugh and smile, while all I could do was cry out desperately on the inside. All I have ever done is try. Try to be a good friend, try to be a good girlfriend, try to be a good daughter, try to be a good….person. I have tried to make tied ends, but it has never worked. And all I got back was pain, fear, and disappointment.

So no more tears, no more heartbreak or fake smiles. No more lies and failures. So I'll leave now. Leave you with no more worries and no more disappointment. I just want to escape from this miserable place we call "home." All I have ever wanted was to leave this hell, this hell we apparently call reality.

I don't want those who did love me to think I'm selfish. Pain is running through my heart right now, and I'll admit I'm afraid, but I'm going to do it anyway. So goodbye. My best wishes… which is none.

I'm sorry,

Aleena.


A/N: First of all, thank you so much for reading! This is a short story I wrote when I was in seventh grade, so I was about 13. I write all the time, but I have only ever written two things I am proud of. This is one of them. And thank you so much to my wonderful Beta love971 who edited this for me! Review if you have the time, please. (:

And this short story has a sequel type thing. If you want to know more about how their lives are three years after Aleena's suicide, read After Effects Long Term on my author page. Thank you so much!