I made my first suicide pact at the age of 13. Me and Nancy Allen Callahan together said we were gonna do it. We were both madly in love with David Cassidy and this was a few months before his infamous article detailing his love of drugs and promiscuity. We were in love with the squeaky clean Keith Partridge. Nancy's older sister Becky had seen him in concert and met him backstage. We listened at Nancy's vent as she detailed what she and Keith had done backstage and we wanted to die. He was ours to love and now he had broken our hearts.
Nancy and I agreed to end it all that night, stealing a paring knife from her mother's kitchen drawer and penning morbidly morose suicide notes, we knew that life without Keith was not worth living. I went first and drug the knife over my wrist, and it was the first time I had felt a feeling of satisfaction. Watching the ruby red blood spill down my wrist and onto the pleated hem of my skirt. Nancy saw the blood and panicked, screaming for her Mom. We managed to hide the notes and claim it was an accident, but I always thought Nancy's Mom knew. We didn't hang out much after that.
The second time I tried to kill myself was the night of my Senior Prom. By this point my father had gone nearly a decade and the scar on my wrist a faded memory to everyone but me. I was long over David Cassidy, but I was dating a young boy named Alan O'Neil. Alan was a nice boy, the kind that your parents love and the whole town adores. I hadn't been popular in school and preferred to be alone with my writing, so I was surprised that someone like Alan had even noticed me. I spent most of my time avoiding my mother and the parade of "suitors" she brought to the house. I didn't like the way most of them looked at me. Or even acted around me.
I can't say why I agreed to go out with Alan. Maybe it was because he was so popular and handsome. He was everything I had wanted when I was 13, but at 17 I didn't know what I wanted. All I knew was that the most popular kid in school liked me, and that was enough then. I don't remember much of Prom itself, punch and dancing mostly. Posing for pictures on the stairs with my mother and her boyfriend at the time, watching Alan made Prom King and the stab of jealousy that rouse when he danced with Amy Sue Whitman, the head cheerleader and Prom Queen. Alan and she had dated before, but he was with me tonight.
I do remember after Prom. He drove to a secluded spot in the woods and spread out a blanket on the grass and poured some clear liquid out of a flask he kept in his jacket pocket. It was my first drink and I remember how the alcohol burned my throat and roiled in my empty stomach. I didn't want any more, but I kept drinking, not wanting to upset Alan, afraid that he wouldn't like me, that he wouldn't kiss me. We laid on the blanket and drank, and I felt his hand run up my leg. Alan got more and more urgent and I tried to tell him to stop, but I couldn't. I remember the sound of my panties ripping and him entering inside me. The sounds of thrusting and moaning, him saying I love you as he came in me. Finally him collapsing beside me as I curled up. His quiet snores that followed my tears as I lay on the grass, my hand reaching into my purse. I remember feeling the aspirin bottle and taking the pills inside. Swallowing them until my gorge rose and I blacked out.
I awoke in the hospital with my stomach pumped. No one was really sure what had happened, though Alan had awoke and found me barely conscious, driving me to the hospital. I never spoke of what had happened in the woods to anyone, not of my actions or Alan's. He might have been my first, but my innocence had been lost long before that.
The third time was two months after Prom. I had just returned from my doctor's office. He had told me I was pregnant. I remember sitting in my room, holding my father's gun. He had left it here when he abandoned us and mom kept it for safety purposes. I remember how the cold the barrel was in my mouth, the taste of oil and metal on my tongue. I remember how it felt to have the feel of the trigger on my finger. Only my brother's arrival from school stopped me.
My mother nearly disowned me and most of the small town I lived in shunned me, though Alan did offer me money for an abortion. I went and stood in the doctor's doorway for three hours before going home. I couldn't kill myself when I had tried earlier and I couldn't kill a baby now.
The fourth time was after they took my baby away. I had agreed to put her up for adoption having few other options as a single mother in a small town, but they had let me hold her first. I remember her tiny hand wrapped around my finger and her smooth soft head nestled in mine. I could feel her heart beat against my chest, and I could feel the emptiness as they took her away from me. I watched the nurse walk down the hall with my baby in her arms. My baby Jessica.
I tried to kill myself the day after they sent me home. I was sitting in my mother's car and the engine was running. I watched as the garage filled with smoke and began choking my lungs. The windows were down and the radio was playing a sad Elton John song. I hadn't bothered to write a note since the first time, and I didn't this time either. It just slowly got darker as I closed my eyes to go to sleep. To sleep away the hurt.
My mother found me and an ambulance driver performed CPR on me. She had came home from work early to check on me and saw what I had done in the garage. Once again, I had been robbed of the fate I deserved. This time there were to many coincidences, to many instances of behavior. I spent a long time in therapy. A long time in a hospital, under care, under watch. I spent a longer time hating myself. I saw a battery of shrinks, each probing the reasons I tried to kill myself. What was the cause. Most agreed it stemmed from my father abandoning us. Some thought the pain of losing my baby. Other's thought some childhood trauma.
By the time they let me out I was almost 30. It had been 13 years since my first suicide attempt. 13 years since I had first felt the satisfaction of release. My mother had re-married and my brother was a successful businessman. I spent the first few weeks of my new life doing everything that was expected of me. I found a job and even looked at apartments with my step father. I played the part that was expected of me.
The last time I tried to kill myself was a few minutes ago. I ran the knife over my wrists and let them bleed into the bath tub. It was the way i had meant to do it the first time, and the way I finally knew was right. I laid in the tub and felt my life trickle away. I had two last thoughts, one was of Jessica, 13 years old today. My daughter, I'm so sorry. The last thought before I fell asleep, was to wonder if this is what it felt like for my father.
End of Line.