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$50 and a Suicide Note
"Aren't you going out with your friend tomorrow?" My parents ask. I hesitate slightly before swallowing the urge to cry.
"Yes. We're going to go to the movies and shopping afterwards." I reply. Every ounce of strength I had saved was poured into gritting my teeth behind my ugly, white smile.
"That's good that you have friends." My parents smile at me proudly. It was the same sort of joy and profoundness when my sister won the chess tournament or when my brother graduated from UC Irvine. It's strange how I get that same smile, just for making a friend. Had they really lowered their expectation that much for me, especially when I come from a family of perfection? My lips begin wavering, but I force it into a smile before I calmly walk up the stairs. I hear my parents' conversation through the thin wall and it makes my throat burn even more.
"She hasn't had a friend in ages!" I hear my mom say.
"I know, I'm proud of her." My father chuckles. I bite my lip and dash into my room before shutting the door behind me. The lock clicks in place and I throw myself onto my bed, then rub my watery eyes. What they said was true. I hadn't had a real friend in such a long time, I could hardly remember a time where I had fun with other people. I wouldn't call it antisocial, but I was never too fond of talking with people. I roll over on my bed to pick up my phone.
No new messages.
I sigh and rest my arms to my side for a few moments before picking my phone up again to send a message to one of the three contacts I have on my old phone. Mom, Dad, and her.
I let my arm rest at my side for a moment longer with my phone in hand. I let out a sigh when I lift my phone to check my messages again twenty minutes later.
No new messages.
I see that it is almost ten, but I just shrug off the fact that I haven't changed into my pajamas yet and slip under the covers. I check my empty inbox one last time before closing my eyes and drifting to another restless night of slumber.
It was no surprise that when I woke up I had no new messages. So I just frown and walk into the bathroom while I ruffle my unruly black hair. I pull open the drawer to get my toothpaste and end up staring at Dad's razor for a bit too long, just picturing the cool steel blade slipping from the razor into the palm of my hand. That would give me power over myself, deciding when to be punished and what to be punished for. I shake my head and snap out of my insane daydream and take the toothpaste to spread onto the brush. Everything is so routine, so mundane. Too ordinary. Why can't I just be perfect like everyone else? A deep sigh pushes these thoughts to the back of my head, but I know now that since I've put them in my head, I'll never be able to take it out. As I continue brushing my teeth, I hear my phone vibrate against my wooden nightstand and walk over to check it with my toothbrush still jutting from my mouth.
Sorry, can't make it 2day :( really busy
I let a weak, false smile control my lips as I reply.
It's fine :)
And as I expected, an hour later, I still had no response. My shoulders shifted with the habitual shrug and my lungs followed with a deep sigh. I grab the fifty dollars I had left on my nightstand, the fifty dollars that took me nearly a year to earn, and slip it into my pocket. I clomp down the stairs in preparation to leave.
My parents still dropped me off at the appointed hour and location, and I waved them goodbye before sitting at a bench for several minutes, already knowing that sitting there longer would not make [her] show up. I just sigh and stand before walking some distance to reach the theater. Just when I begin to line up, I see an elderly lady with her grandson next to her standing in front of me. He's telling her all about the new movie with Batman that he's excited to watch with her, all while grinning from ear to ear. His grandmother happily listens to her grandson speak as our line moves forward. Before I know it, it's the elderly lady's turn to pay. She reaches into her purse and places her hand on her cheek and she sighs sadly.
"What's wrong Grandma?" The boy asks, his cute smile slowly fading.
"I forgot that I left my wallet with your mother so she could arrange your grandfather's funeral." She placed the clasp on her purse and bowed slightly in apology. Her grandson's smile crumbles as she looks through her purse one last time.
"Could you cancel the-" I step in and place the fifty dollar bill in front of the cashier. He looks at me in surprise, but quickly takes the bill.
"I wanted to watch Batman too." I say simply, offering them a gentle smile. The elderly lady smiles politely in return and places a hand over her chest as the cashier places the change in my hand. $23.08. I nod at him in thanks before the three of us walk in.
"Thank you miss!" The boy's grin returns and I feel a genuine smile plaster my face as we walk into our showroom.
The elderly lady thanks me about a dozen more times on our way out while her grandson talks to us about the movie. A chilly breeze gives me the shivers when we walk outside where we part ways after exchanging a warm smile and a dozen more 'thank you's from the elderly lady. The wind bites at me again and I see a man sitting on the red curb. He notices me looking, and I try to nervously avert my gaze, but he flashes me a broken smile through his scruffy beard before turning to the lethargic parking lot.
My feet take me to the Starbucks right next door before I can even comprehend the situation I had put myself into. The bell jingles behind me as the door closes. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafts in the air, and I let my shoulders loosen slightly at the relaxing fragrance of coffee.
"Two hot chocolates please." The peppy cashier nods and takes my name before I hand him the money. I watch as two women read magazines in the corner, then turn to receive my change. $17.67 left. The next few minutes tick by in the busy shop, filled with chatter and blending. Occasional laughter punctures the usual noises, but my attention is soon grabbed upon hearing my name being called out. I walk over to pick up the two drinks and drop some change into the tips jar before leaving. The soft jingle is the last I hear of the busy coffee shop and I walk over to the man sitting on the curb. I tap his shoulder and see him look at me in confusion when I hand him the hot chocolate.
"That's for me?" He says, pointing to the cup, then himself. I nod and he reluctantly takes the cup and his face lights up with joy as I sit next to him.
"It's pretty chilly out today." I say as I gather my coat around me to keep my own warmth closer.
"Yeah." He agrees and takes a sip of the hop chocolate. A wheezing chuckle comes from his scraggly beard and the sides of his eyes pinch as he smiles and shakes his head. Suddenly, he takes his ratty sleeve and dabs his green eyes.
"Thank you. Thank you so much." I smile and pat his shoulder as we sit and talk while we drink our hot chocolate. He tells me about his wife, who passed away in a car accident about a year ago and how he lost his job just a month ago. He told me that today he had really thought about suicide and even had his pocket knife to cash in and some extra money to purchase a small pistol. He showed me his gun license from when he used to hunt and I learned that baked beans with canned beef was his favorite meal when he went camping or backpacking.
After a while of carrying out the conversation, I stand to leave and notice the man shoving the empty cup in his backpack stuffed full of necessities.
"Would you like me to throw that away for you?" I offer, holding my hand out for him to place it on there. Instead, he shakes his head and finally fits it in, miraculously.
"I want to keep it. I want to your remember your kindness young lady." His emerald eyes sparkle with happiness and I find myself smiling in return.
I decide to wander around the mall with my remaining $17.01, I guess I forgot to drop that penny in the jar at Starbucks. I remember that my parents' anniversary is coming up in two days and I still had not purchased anything yet. Just around the corner Godiva waits for me to set foot in the store and I purchase a small box, coming out to be $10 flat after paying a little extra to wrap it nicely for my parents, leaving me with $6.01. The lady neatly ties it with ribbon after I tell her its for my parents' anniversary and seems overjoyed to tie it for me, wishing my parents a happy anniversary. She smiles at me and wishes me a wonderful day and I nod and wish the same for her as I exit the store. The box of chocolates rest at my side in a nice bag I had received from the kind lady, free of charge. I browse around the mall for a little longer before checking my wristwatch, indicating I had a little over an hour on my own before my parents came to pick me up.
Not long after, I had decided to walk to the nearby library. Bright green fliers were posted around the library, notifying everyone of the book sale going on today. Upon entering, I look through the books and choose one the sounds interesting. I begin reading the back cover when a familiar voice echoes in the room. I set the book down and turn my head to see-
"Hi." I say dubiously, obviously shocked to see her here.
"Hi." She responds. Her eyes dart around, and I'm certain she's looking for an excuse. "I just needed to return some stuff. Today."
"Oh." I say to her. I risk asking a question, despite the pain that wells up in my chest. "I thought you were busy today?"
She looks at her shoes before my eyes.
"I had some errands to run and my dad is returning some stuff." I hear a voice call out her name behind her and another girl stands by her.
"I see." My voice trails off and softens.
Her friend looks around before whispering, "Is that the girl that keeps bothering you? The one you said was annoying? She's a lot uglier now that I can see her."
My eyelids only flicker in a blink in response to her increased volume, obviously raised to let me hear. [She] slaps her friend as a nervous smile was contained, as well as trying to suppress her giggles. A sudden pang hit my chest, but all I did was stiffen my shoulders and look at them again as they stifled their giggles.
"You know that [she] was just being nice to you because she felt sorry for you." The girl said. Her heart was black as coal, and her dim witted responses were all too cliche.
"Sorry for what?" I said flatly. "That I'm antisocial and ugly?"
The girl took a step back, most likely in shock of what I had just said, pulling [her] along to take the step back as well.
"You got that right nerd." She retorted lamely.
"Are you accusing me of being smarter than you?" My voice remained in monotone, despite the searing pain welling in both my chest and throat. I could feel my heart broken blood being delivered through my body. She looked at me in shock, then her face shifted into anger.
"Now listen here you dumb b****, I-" [She] pulled her away, apologizing profusely with hollow words. I paid no heed to them afterwards, but rather their words. A tap on my shoulder startled me and looked over to see [her] father.
"[She] asked if you could lend her $5." I looked at him for a moment. He was so clueless of what his daughter had just done. I reached into my pocket and took out a crinkled five dollar bill. I handed it to him begrudgingly and walked off without another word. $1.01.
The air on the roof was probably the freshest I've ever inhaled. A silky black raven zipped over my head as it soared through the sky, letting out caws as it disappeared into the distance. I looked down from the five story building I was standing on to the hard asphalt of the parking lot. I looked over my shoulder one last time. Good, the notes were still there and they hadn't blown away. The drop really didn't seem so bad, it would be so much quicker to release my pent up emotions this way. I looked up at the cloudy sky and a single droplet hit my nose before more came falling. I managed to secure the notes I had written with the clear rain poncho I had with me and weighing it down with my shoes and jacket. Soon, the rain pelted down. The rain was cold and numb, but it let it soak into my skin anyways. It hissed as it quickly turned to a downpour and the cloud's fangs bit at me with its teeth of numbing water.
There were just some things that I could not get out of my mind. Why [she] would even want to become friends with me, just to see me suffer. I had known that our 'friendship' would not have been very deep or long, but in the beginning, she seemed genuinely interested in me, even though I had been simply ignored by many others. I had let the bullying go on for almost two years, but all I did was say nothing. I have so much to say, but everything gets caught in my throat, probably because its too hoarse from crying almost every night. Not every day is so bad, sometimes I just feel drained, like I have nothing to live for, and sometimes I just feel miserable.
Everyone said they liked me and everyone tolerated me. They all wanted to be my partner when it came to partner project, but I don't know if it was out of pity or not. They just never knew about what happened after school. [Her] friends would beat me and I would rush home to try and cover the bruises, but my parent's were never home until six. I look at the lingering yellow bruise on my tan arm, then I see precise brown lines running horizontally on the underside of my arm.
Everything just hurts so much. I want it all to end. I don't know whether its the rain or my tears streaming down my face, but I wipe them away only to be coated in the biting cold water again. When I look down again, it suddenly seems like a short way down. One more step closer to the edge. I take one last look at the notes and down I fall. I see the ground becoming closer and my miserable life flashes before my eyes before a white light is soon consumed in darkness.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I know your anniversary is coming up, so I got you some chocolate. Dad is the ultimate chocolate fanatic. I'm sorry I couldn't be what you wanted me to be. But remember the promise we had? If I didn't fix my bed, I owed you a dollar. So, here's the dollar.
I don't know why I'm writing this to you, but I guess I just wanted to let you know that I am grateful for the time we spent together. Penny for your thoughts?
The day of my funeral was a beautiful day, and even in death I could not help but think I had ruined their day with a occupied casket and changing their attire to black for today. I look around to see some familiar faces. Mom and Dad of course, but I also see a man with a scraggly beard holding a Starbucks cup, and an elderly woman with her grandson. But I think I was the most surprised to see her. I looked at the item she clutched so dearly to her chest: another penny as well as a scrap of paper.
I saw it when she went up to me and placed the paper on my casket.
I'm sorry I couldn't be a better friend.
Then, I look around the room again and see the tears that fell. Something tells me I might have left behind a little more than $50 and a suicide note.
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