On April 27th, 2013, I saved my best friend’s life.

I am an open book.

But this story is something buried deep inside.

Something only said in hushed tones.

I can only count my listeners on one hand.

 

You wanna know about my sex life? No problem.

But not this. This is a story you take a deep breath before telling.

Pulling it out of me is like yanking out my intestines through my belly button.

My stories are told so much that they become routines.

Memorized monologues.

But this story? I can’t even remember the last time I told it.

 

I’ve been writing since second grade.

A collection of red and black composition notebooks sit in my closet.

Dark poetry about love in jeopardy and damsels in distress decorate the pages.

Middle school tore me apart.

Poems were written, titled “I Need to End it” and “Stabbed in the Back.”

I was so unhappy

Trying to understand it all.

My hands said what my voice couldn’t.

And my brain began to chew it, take in the vitamins, and digest it easier.

 

I’ve been described as intensely carefree.

I am someone who writes like they’re naked.

I hold nothing back.

I want to stop you in your tracks

Make you nod or snap or whatever you do when you resonate.

But then there are moments where I want you to lighten up.

To not think so seriously.

 

Like in Titanic,

When Rose attempts to hit the same mark twice with an axe

Before freeing Jack from his handcuffs.

But she misses by a foot.

Almost everyone is going to die.

But you still have to laugh.

 

And when I write

It’s always an epic poem.

When I talk

I could lose my voice if you didn’t stop me.

 

For me, telling a story is painting.

You have to have the background done before the foreground

Or it will look like shit.

This can be rather painful for the listener.

I hem and haw, saying things like:

“Okay, well first, I have to tell you about her…”

“Did I ever tell you the ‘bowling alley bar story’?”

“You mean I didn’t tell you about that hook up?!?”

 

So before April 27th, 2013,

I have to take you to December 10th, 2011

When I first met Her. We fell so quickly.

Facebook said we were “in a relationship” within a week.

In March, the honeymoon ended.

“I’m not fucked up or crazy. I don’t need therapy,” I told Her.

I was so ignorant. It all almost ended. Almost.

 

I learned. I learned I did need therapy.

That needing it wasn’t a negative thing.

It was just a thing.

I learned that depression was a noun, not an adjective.

I had it. She had it.

We endured together. Yet struggled.

Hand in hand.

 

That summer. I started self-harming, although not cutting.

“Shit got real,” I guess you could say.

We lived together and fought.

Me spazzing out. She getting fed up.

Me crying. She getting distant and cold.

One night. It boiled. Then overflowed.

 

“Where are you going?” I demanded

She was upset. No words.

Just quick determined steps out of the bedroom.

I faltered. Do I give Her space? Is something wrong?

Then I got my answer.

I saw Her get the knife from the kitchen.

And heard the bathroom door close.

 

I pleaded to Her. Cried. Sobbed. So loud. So fierce.

COME BACK COME BACK COME BACK

WHAT ARE YOU DOING

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING

I’M SORRY. I’M SO SORRY.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

So many “pleases” that it lost its meaning

 

 

“Why couldn’t you just stop fucking yelling?”

She came out and declared.

“This is what I was doing.

You’re driving me fucking insane.”

She showed me the long cut on Her arm.

I was so scared.

Everything went numb.

 

When the painting’s background is done,

You begin the foreground.

But the details sometimes become too much.

The picture gets too busy.

And you can’t tell what the hell it is.

 

So. April 27th, 2013.

The day after my 20th birthday.

Almost finals week at Smith.

She was so sad. I felt it in my bedroom.

Then. All at once. So unexpected.

The pot boiled over once again.

 

“Where are you going?” I demanded

She was upset. No words.

Just furiously getting Her coat on. Her backpack filled.

I faltered. Do I give Her space? Is something wrong?

Then I got my answer.

“I’m done. I’m gonna crash the car.”

 

I pleaded to Her. Cried. Sobbed. So loud. So fierce.

COME BACK COME BACK COME BACK

WHAT ARE YOU DOING

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING

I’M SORRY. I’M SO SORRY.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

So many “pleases” that it lost its meaning

 

This time, no words. She just left.

I was so scared.

Everything went numb.

My head spun.

whatdoido whatdoido whatdoido

It clicked. I put my shoes on and bolted.

Headed to where She was parked.

 

I couldn’t even think.

Should I call someone? Who? The police?

I texted Her. “Please don’t do this”

“No, I want to die. I’m sorry. I have to.”

Tears stung at my eyes. I walked faster.

“Where are you?”

“My car. Don’t call the cops.”

 

But I had to. I couldn’t breathe but I called.

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“My friend is in the Smith College parking garage.

She’s going to kill Herself.”

“You need to call campus police then,

Smith is not in our jurisdiction.”

 

This bitch was going to kill my friend.

Those fucking lazy donut-eating douchebags.

Whose toughest jobs were letting in students

Who locked themselves out of their rooms.

They couldn’t handle this.

 

Now I was screaming on the phone, yet still walking

Like Her life depended on it.

Because it did.

“Listen, She’s going to die if you don’t send someone right now.

Do you fucking understand?

Do you want to live your whole life knowing you killed someone?

DO YOU?”

 

Silence.

“I’m sorry ma’am. I’m transferring your call.”

The ringing noise sounded. I wanted to scream.

I told Campus Police what was up,

And miraculously, they got there before me.

 

A cop car was waiting outside the parking garage.

I ran, got in.

“Where’s Her car?” he said.

“Second floor.”

I glanced at my phone.

She had texted me.

“Oh no. POLICE.”

 

I started crying. Snot was dripping down my face.

“Calm down,” he said.

My insides were on fire.

“I can’t. She’s my girlfriend. I love Her.”

He shut up.

Then I saw the car.

“That’s Her. Right there. The tan car.”

 

He parked. Another cop was talking to Her.

I was a mess. I called my other friend, Maria.

Sobbed on the phone to her.

“Okay, I’ll be there in five minutes,” she said.

 

They kept talking to Her.

I saw Her give him the keys.

Heard Her crying.

I could’ve jumped out of my skin.

 

Maria pulled up.

Ran to me. Hugged me.

The cop said, “Is that Her therapist?”

I thought I couldn’t, but I laughed.

She looked lovely. All professional.

In a nice red sundress. Hair all pulled back.

 

The irony overwhelmed me.

Maria is going to be a pro therapist some day.

I think most of her studies for her psych major

Come from counseling my life’s problems.

 

Then, the cop helped her out of Her car and into the cop car I was still in.

“She agreed to go to Cooley Dickinson,” he reassured me.

She was crying too. Harder than me.

I held Her hand. She rested on my shoulder.

Her tears and snot were running down my arm.

I didn’t even care.

I was just glad She was OK.

 

The overwhelming feeling of sadness overshadows my ability to be proud of myself.

And I still can’t shake the feeling of the blame being mine, even though I know it’s not true.

And I will never stop thinking of all the times I was so close to ending my life too.

Swimming under a dock and just wanting to stay there.

Driving recklessly, hoping I would just die.

Crossing the street without looking.

Because I could have been Her on April 27th, 2013

And that’s what hurts the most.

 

That I saved Her.

But I can’t even fucking save myself.