If felt as if I held the weight of my existence in my hands. Looking back now, I guess I could say that I did. I had two options, either put the glock back where I found it, or put it up to my head and pull the trigger.
The longer I held the gun in my hands the heavier it seemed to become.
“What are you doing?” asks a voice dripping with worry from behind me.
I immediately knew it was my best friend Alex.
“Go away. I’ve got things to do.” I said.
“Like what? Turning that gun on yourself and blowing your brains out?” He asked with a bit of anger behind his words.
I heard the floorboards creak; he was walking towards me now. I stood up off the bed. I showed no emotion in my face as I looked at him.
“So, what if I do. It’s not like you or anyone would even care.”
Shock and hurt crossed his face, “Do you honestly believe I wouldn’t care about losing my best friend… especially like this?” His voice broke on that last word.
I looked down at the ground. I had nothing in response.
“You don’t… You don’t need to do this.” He whispered.
I looked back up at him.“Yes, I do. It’s the only solution.”
Alex was now face to face with me. I could see the tears forming behind his eyes. They were shiny and scared.
“No, you don’t. This isn’t a solution to your problems, Simon. This isn’t a temporary fix. This is permanent. You pull that trigger and you’re gone forever. You’ll be put into the ground and never see the light of day again. Do you honestly think that is better than whatever it is you’re going through?”
The hand that held the gun started to get sweaty. My voice started to tremble.
“You don’t know what I go through. You don’t know what it feels like.”
“Then tell me. We’ve been best friends since we were five. We always tell each other everything, so why stop now?” He said.
Tears flooded down my face as I stared up at him.
“I-I don’t know. It was just a domino effect. I screwed up at one thing and then it just kept getting worse. Everyone always expected me to be perfect, and knowing that I wasn’t, I just couldn’t tell you! I couldn’t tell anyone. “
“No one is perfect and people make mistakes all the time. It’s part of life, but so is living and learning from those mistakes. Finding the good things in your life and making those outweigh the bad. If you do this, there’s no going back.” Alex said.
“There is nothing to make the best of Alex! I’m miserable everyday. I hurt everywhere. I already feel as though I’m dead inside, which is why I’ve come to this.” I said pointing the gun to my chest. “I fight everyday to try and live a normal life, but I’m tired of fighting. I can’t do it anymore.”
“Maybe you can’t do it anymore, but we can.” He said as he put his hands on my shoulders. “I can help you through this. Things can get better, you just have to give them a chance.”
“Why do you care so much about my life?” I whispered.
“You’re my best friend, my brother. I love you. I couldn’t live with myself if I knew that I let you do this.” He whispered.
“How did you know?” I asked him.
“Once upon a time, I felt like you did. That everything in my life was going wrong, and I was worthless. I gave myself a week. I had it all planned out. If I didn’t find my strength or something to live for, then I would have ended it as soon as the week was up.” He said.
“But you didn’t. What made you change your mind?” I asked.
“You. You had just lost your Mom and I knew you needed your best friend more than you needed to attend two funerals in the same week.” He said. “So, that’s why I’m here today because I just saw that look in your eyes and I knew you needed me to be here for you again.”
I took in everything he said. There was no way I could do this. If I was the reason he chose to live, then I couldn’t take that away from him.
“So, what’s it going to be?” Alex said.
I couldn’t speak. No words would come out. I just handed him the gun and broke down into sobs.
I looked up at the crowd of high school students staring down at me as I retold my story to them. There was not a dry eye in the gym. There was no sound to be made, but the occasional sob, as I continued to speak.
“That was the day that I hit my rock bottom. The day that I saw nothing but darkness because I was so far down to see any light. I know that some of you here today are experiencing your own rock bottom. I know that some of you might even have a plan in place, but I’m here to tell you it will get better. It may not seem like it, but it will. The first step to seeing the light and getting out of the darkness is to promise yourself to continue on living. To not take those pills or pull that trigger. Promise yourself to go and talk to someone, whether it be a friend, family member, teacher, a suicide hotline, anyone. You can even talk to me because I have been where you are. I’ve been to rock bottom and back; believe me when I say that you can too. “