Never alone, I often wondered. More like forever alone. Sitting at the kitchen table in direct sunlight the orange alpenglow flooded through blinds. The PVC tablecloth is still messy from our rush earlier in the morning to get out the door to school. Carson never seems to learn how to keep the sugar on his cereal; if anything, that boy manages to get more of the topping on the tabletop. Nothing like a sunny Monday afternoon to kill yourself I reflected. I contemplated about my life and how utterly dull and tedious the past months have become. An outcast a reject to everyone. I'd rather not hear more of their excuses of why or how I shouldn't have a place in the world. What I should do in order to keep them quiet. I've already bear witness to the cruel offerings long enough. The worst part is I have nobody to tell.
Tell dad some might say… he’d say, “buck up and take it.”
Only I'm not sure if what I got myself into is normal bullying. However, how is it I can describe it like that. Normal bullying.
Mom is to occupied with her role in the hospital. She's a doctor now. Whenever she arrives home my brother and I get a zombieless mother. One who is just too tired to socialize, talk… do much of anything. You see her coming in, then typically mom will disappear to her office, rarely coming out of the room. Not even for dinner. On the odd occasion, if she does cook us dinner, rather than ordering takeout, those are the times I cherish. Dad runs his own garage a couple of blocks from here. Cars have always been that man's life; something is for sure, it's not going to be mine. Perhaps Carson will pick up the trade long after I am gone. I love that goofball more than anything. It's just I can't pretend anymore that everything is normal when it ain't.
Something changed for me, I don't know what and I have no clue as to how long ago it was. Only after all the bullying, and shit in my life, it feels like I am numb. At one point in my life, I was able to cry listing to sad music because it would have helped me oddly. Who can believe that listing to sad and depressing music which will drag you down further some will say: can help. I guess I'll never understand how the process worked; except all I know is that when I went in one side, miserable and depressed, I came back out the other side, feeling better, feeling relieved I cried.
Only these days I am lucky if I am able to feel a sense of anything. I don't know what it is; all I can say is that I can feel nothing literally… well that there is a lie. I can still experience the letdown I am causing. I know deep down they'll all be better off without a burden holding them back. Comprehending that what I am about to do is going to change everything, and that appears to be gratifying. I'll never have to live another moment thinking who I'll piss off today, or who is going to be waiting for me around the next corner to harass, belittle me, and push me around. I'll never have to see them again. I'll never have to notice that blond headed kid either. Again, I won't see Carson coming to believing I am the awesome big brother he thinks I am. Things will never be okay. I've tried to fix myself, to cure me of the oppressiveness. Still, it holds on, and I am slowly running out of patience and sanity… Actually, I have run out of patience.
Peering down at the tabletop, and giving a sniffle. Four items rest in front of me. Each with symbolic meaning to what I am about to do. A pen, which I just used to write my final goodbye; my wishes and that I am sorry. The truth of the matter is I am not sorry; as I said, everything seems like a swoosh. Everything is gone in a flash, and if I did notice it, it didn't have the same value it could have had when I knew what it used to have. Next, to the pen, a sheet of paper lay with a couple of paragraphs written by myself. I figure you can call this your suicide letter as they always say in the movies. The note outlines the reason for me doing this, and I think this is more or less the reason why I am arranging this. The following passage reads,
“Dear mom & dad, and Carson. I want to say I am really sorry for what I've done. I didn't mean for it to happen. I tried to fix it, but the whole situation, it got worse. It spiraled out of control. They said if I went to anybody they'd leak what I did to everyone in school if I didn't comply with what they wanted me to do. Mom, they took a video of me jerking off in the school toilet. I am sorry, I don't know what to do other than this. I want to make it end. I didn't do what they wanted me to do today, and I have been anxious all day waiting for them to put the video of me in the bathroom doing what I was doing out for the world to see. I didn't even know they recorded me until they reached out to me and told me. At first, they didn't ask for anything. All I knew was that they were a group of boys. A couple of days went by, and I heard nothing from them; then all of sudden one guy came to me and told me he wanted me to steal stuff.
The boy said it was the decision of the group and that if I didn't do what I was told they'd put out the video. I wasn't sure if to believe him at first; I mean I blew him off, and that made him angry. I turned around and walked away, but he came up behind me and showed me the screen of his phone. That's when I believed him that he had a video of me. I asked him what did he want but, he just said for me to steal. I asked what it was that he wanted me to take, that's when he gave me a small list worth of items to shoplift.
After school that day, I went to Walmart with the boy. The guy waited outside, and I went inside to do what I was told to do. I stood looking at PS4 games for a long time. He wanted me to steal a video game. I got this sickly feeling in my stomach, and I ran straight for the toilet and got sick. Why did this happen to me? Mom, did I deserve to have this happen to me? I wish I could take it back, but I'll know the world will see. After I rinsed out my mouth, I went back to the shelf, looked both ways and lifted the plastic case that surrounded the game. I gave it a wiggle, and the case rattled inside. I knew I had to get it out of the container somehow. So, I purposely dropped it hoping it would crack. The sound made was so loud that I almost fainted with the notion of getting caught again. When I saw I'd gotten away with dropping it, I stomped on the case as hard as I could and turned with my back to the camera. Plucked up the box, messed around with the loose case and took the disc of the game out, before putting the case back on the shelf. I couldn't do any more than that, so I panicked and left the store. I don't know how I wasn't caught. I thought I would have, I don't see how I could have explained why I was doing this to the security guard.
When I got back outside, the boy seemed pleased I did something he required. Only he said since I didn't acquire the other content, he said that my official warning was gone for good now. That if I fucked up I was going to be exposed. So, I said okay. Then the funny thing is I went home that evening. I half expected to have a cop knock at our door. Do you remember that day back in November when I was shaky, and you kept asking me what was the matter was while you cooked dinner? Well, that was the reason; that was the afternoon I stole the video game for that guy.
For the entire night, I kept my eyes on the front door, and every time the house phone rang or the doorbell ding-donged, I convinced myself a little every time that the police would be here to arrest me. Oddly nobody came to retrieve me, not the police, not the guy who was hassling me. Instead, an entire week went by before I heard anything back from the blackmailers and this time around they wanted me to send more images or videos. If they didn't receive anything by midnight, they said they would send the video to whatever friends I had and also to everyone in the entire school. The last thing I wanted was Carson opening his school email and seeing footage of me. I spent hours thinking it over in my head if I should do it; I know I shouldn't have. I was giving them more material, but I gave them more. I didn’t know what to do. I shouldn’t have made it worse. I should have come to you for help.
What followed was a visit to school one morning when I sat down at my desk in homeroom, a week later. In the smallest words possible I became their errand boy and did whatever shit they wanted me to do. Perhaps I was always tired because they gave me their homework to do every day of the week. All three of them. I'm sorry I didn't leave the house when you wanted to walk the dog or go for a walk as a family. I couldn't. I was always tired or either under a mountain of homework. Or in the slightest chance what if people knew. Things kind of died down for Christmas, but they occasionally sent me taunts telling me to keep in line. I think around the end of January was the time they wanted me to check in with them daily. I have no idea why they were so keen on knowing what I was doing but I was told to and if I didn't then you know… so I did as they said. The more time went on, the more mundane the tasks got. Then one day out of the blue the same kid who accompanied me to the Walmart; the blond one asked to kiss me. I thought it was gross I didn't want him anywhere near me. I'm not gay… I didn't want to but… I kissed him. I thought that would satisfy his amusement. Then mom… he asked… he said that I should let him fuck me. So, I drew the line…for the first time and said no. That was today.
I know this guy is going to send it to everybody. I am so ashamed and embarrassed. I am sorry for being a screwup. I didn't mean for all this to happen. I really am sorry. I don't want to be here when everything thing comes out. The guy did it. As write this I can say he posted the video. Don't blame yourself, it not yours. It's mine. I did this, and I can't fix it. I tried, I really did mom. Don't be mad at me, please don't. I've loved every moment I spent with your guys. Thanks for giving me an awesome little brother. I'm sorry, but I love you.
Turning my attention from my letter, I glanced at a single bullet set upright on the surface. I wiped my eyes because they are so impaired from the continuous flow of slickered tears. Following along my eyes roamed over dads Rossi R461 revolver. Swiping up the single bullet that will end it all, I cranked open the pistol and loaded the cartridge into the slot. I figure this is the best time to do it. Nobody will be home for quite some time. Carson has practice. It's a Monday for mom at the hospital and dad will be opened a little later to play catchup from a new backlog of customers.
Pushing away from the table, I returned the chair to its original position, opened the back door and headed out down the yard. The moment Buster noticed me he began to bark in his chain-link enclosure. Paying no attention to our beloved pet, I walked down towards the lovely old oak tree at the end of the yard. Fresh spring leaves were beginning to bloom.
Slowing as I reached the tree, I held the gun by the grip. Pulling one of the iron chairs from the outdoor seating arrangement. I faced it away from the house and toward the fence. Plopping down I didn't have a clue as to what I was to do. I figure I put the gun in my mouth and squeeze the trigger.
Though will that work… it always works in the movies. Will my head blow off at the back? I sat a while, thinking of nothing in general. Just things. Peeking at the yard fence ahead, I wiped my face clean and braced myself. Get it over I figured. Raising the firearm to my head, I placed the cold nozzle of the gun to my temple. My heart rate immediately took off a million miles a minute, and my tears amplified dramatically. Automatically I tasted the salted tears which had come down my face and now dripped from my chin. Then everything stopped mattering. A moment of courage spewed into me, and I began to rattle and sob as I heard the click of the trigger. I closed my eyes, but I didn't hear anything. Nothing happened. Instead, I opened my eyes, and everything was still the same, the gun hadn't gone off. I looked at it skeptically. Then I remembered I didn't put the bullet in the top cylinder. Peeking in between the openings of the chamber I could see the bullet was now resting on the bullseye. It was all or nothing now. If I meant to kill myself this was the now; after I do this, there is no turning back. Sadly, I change of heart hadn't happened.
Again, lifting the gun to my head for the second time, I closed my eyes drew in a deep breath.
A bang came, followed with, “No Logan,” a voice screamed.
I opened my eyes, peered around in the chair to find my brother Carson slowly approaching me. The bang had been the backdoor. For a single second, I believed that was the answer to all my problems. One final bang, instead, it was my brother. The last person on earth I ever wanted to see me do this.
“Don’t, please don’t” he balled.
A sudden state of shock took hold of me. I felt my heart sink a little and, in a way, I felt guilty. Lowering the gun as not to frighten him, I let my shoulders drop. Well, there goes my plan. How could I leave him like this? Why is he home early? Does he know?
“Why are you home,” I asked bitterly.
"I saw… em… I… I came home because… I saw the note too," he murmured. Fresh tears were streaming down his soft features.
“Did you see it,” I enquired.
Neither of us looked at each, but I heard him say, “yes.”
The two of us didn’t say anything, just clandestinely looking at each other. Then eventually Carson glanced to his left.
"Can... can you throw the gun over there."
In the last couple of seconds, I noticed my twelve-year-old brother gained some ground. Something I hadn't foreseen. Doing as I was told I tossed the gun over towards the bushes and it made a dull thud as it hit the grass.
"I'm fucked…" I murmured.
Pressing my hands against my eyes, I forced out the light and pushed my palms into my eye sockets. Wetness trickled and leaked everywhere. Down my neck, my cheeks, hands; everywhere.
Then that's when I felt it: his small arms encircling me. Holding me tight in an embrace. He didn't say much; Carson never did with me. I suppose the two of us always saw eye to eye on certain things. I guess this was no other. I lifted the veil covering my eyes and let my hands rest on his shoulders and head dip towards the top of his head. I felt oddly better hugging my little brother. The ruffle of messy hair atop his head was comforting.
Giving a sniffle, followed with a rattle, I heard him murmur into the confines my chest," can we go inside and wait for mom and dad to get home."
Unsure how to answer that question, in particular, I reckon my look said all I needed to state at the moment. Navigating back inside I held my little brother by the shoulder, and he, by my waist. I completely forgot about the revolver. That was until I got back to the kitchen and two of us sat down at the table.
Carson opened the refrigerator and took out two cans of Coke Cola. My brother slid a can across to me, and he traced around to the far side of the table and plonked down opposite to me. The two of us opened our Coke Cola simultaneously and lingered before taking a sip. Neither of us talked, just sipped on the Cola. When the drink ran out, we remained quiet. Staring directly across at each other. Somehow his presence was welcoming. I got the impression that he didn't want to leave me and I was grateful of that. I couldn't quite understand why he didn't think I was sick or something. Then I realized as I sat there for over an hour for my parents to come home, that dying at fifteen, is too young to die at all. Carson and I, has stopped crying, our eyes raw from the grief. As I wondered what mom and dad are going to say, I can't help but contemplate… could there really be life after this… Could this be a speedbump? Speedbumps can be navigated. Perhaps this is a speedbump. Just maybe there will be a tomorrow after all.
Then an amplified key turned in the barrel of the front door, it opened.
Then mom called out, "boys... you home?"
I glanced from the kitchen door to Carson and nodded my head; welling up. I choose to fight... and to not give up. After all, speed bumps can be navigated.