In 12th grade, I was invited to my friend, “Lian’s” birthday party. It was scheduled for the weekend, started in the afternoon, and ran on into the evening.
His house sits in the midst of the woods. It reminds me of home.
I enjoy the fun and activities, exploring a new house. I remember my friend’s smiling face. He has the cutest smile. Dark bangs hanging into his mirthful brown eyes. Dimples. Beauty mark on his face. Voice not so much smooth as easy, caramel with coconut shavings.
He is my good friend, he makes me laugh and smile. We are in the same group of friends, sit at the same table at lunch, did drama club together.
…No, it’s not like that. He is cute, and I might have even considered going for him, except he was gay. Lucky boys. The cute, nice ones are always taken or gay.
I remember the day as being special. Escaping from the invisible yoke of daily monotony.
We played hide-and-seek when it got dark. I remember this part vividly. That’s when I garroted myself on the clothesline in the backyard.
I can hear footsteps. Someone’s coming. I’m already running away, but I speed up.
I remember running full tilt… then nothing.
I couldn’t see, I couldn’t feel [seconds trickle by].
The dark sky… I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or shut. Stillness. Silence.
Am I dead?
…shit, am I in hell?
I didn’t get absolution-
Then FUCKING PAIN arrives.
And the realization that-
No I’m not dead. Good.
My throat burns, my hand clamps on my neck. I feel the wet of the blood. My head hurts. In the ground where I lie, I notice someone standing above me.
“___, ____ are you okay?”
“Yeah,” I croak, folding up to a seated position. “Shit! What-”
“You sure you’re okay? You ran right into the clothesline!”
Oh, that’s what it was, I recall something hooking right beneath my chin, must have been the wire clothesline.
“Come on, let’s get you inside.”
My friend helps me inside, I find myself staring in the bathroom mirror at the perfectly horizontal red line bisecting my throat. I pat water and tissue paper against the weeping wound.
At least I wasn’t on a motorcycle, I muse, remembering the story Mom told of the clothesline across the driveway where a man beheaded himself by driving past on his motorcycle. I start thinking about how that would have felt, the panic, the tears- would anyone have even cried?
My morbid thoughts are interrupted. “Zac”, my other friend, stumbles through the open door of the bathroom. “You hit the clothesline to?” he asks, splashing water on his hands. I notice a similar gash on his throat, positioned lower than mine, as he is taller.
“Yeah,” I show him mine.
“Dang! That looks worse than mine!”
We stand side by side in the mirror and compare. “Mine’s more of a bruise…” he trails off. I shrug, giving my abused vocal chords a rest.
We doctor our wounds in the mirror.
“Should I regret or ask myself /’Are you dead yet?'” ~ Are you Dead Yet by Children of Bodom