I felt the emotion drain from every part of my body. My arms grew heavy as the weight of who, or rather, what lay before me in the state.
At first, upon seeing what was left of her the horror consumed me. But now, mere moments later, I could not bring myself to feel anything. It was just too hard, it required too much effort to feel.
I turned, putting this horrible sight behind me as I walked out of the room into the daylight. My friends were waiting there, looking forward to the day ahead, all the plans, so full of life.
They were joking around, laughing about what was planned and what had already happened, but one by one those friends grew silent at the sight of me. What I had seen inside was evident on every pore of my face, but I could not find the feeling to convey it.
“Can someone please call an ambulance? Not too urgent, just transport job.”
“What is wrong?” Sam asked, concern etched into every syllable of his words. “Is there any way we can help?”
Slowly, I shook my head, all I could manage to do. “Just call the ambulance.”
“Why? I won’t call until you tell us why.” George said, frustrated at my stunned muteness.
“Sarah is dead. She killed herself in the night with a knife.” Unbelieving, Luke rushed forward to confirm if there were any truth to those words. But I blocked his path before he could see that gruesome view.
In anger he turned away. But I could tell he understood why.
Why. That was the word. She seemed so happy to us, all of her friends, family even. We were more than friends, but we had never seen any sign of what could possibly be wrong. Nothing in the way she moved, or spoke, or laughed allowed us to see that there may be some deeper sadness.
But now I knew, all of that was merely a sham, a mask so she would not hurt us all. But she would not have hurt us if she had merely tried to speak up. She could not have, we all knew her well, and we all could help.
Apparently though we were all wrong; we did not know her at all. After all, if we did we would have seen some sign, an inkling of the storm that was raging on inside. But we did not, so perhaps we weren’t her friends after all.
A surge of anger overcame me suddenly but I pushed it aside quickly. NO, I would not think like that of my friend. If I did, then I was as bad as she probably thought of me. That was why she didn’t tell me.
Because she did not trust me with this huge burden that she was being forced to carry. Because she was afraid that I would laugh, or blame her for getting herself into a situation like that.
But I would not have. I knew that nothing that could overcome her like that could possibly be the fault of Sarah.
A cup of coffee was pushed into my hands. I did not like coffee, the taste was beyond vile. I took a sip anyway and again sunk into thought.
She had killed herself. Using a knife she had cut a fissure into her skin until she had reached the vessel that contained her very life force, then she cut again. This had been deliberate, she had at least thought there was reason enough to go. That there was nothing holding her back.
If only she had said something. We could have become an anchor that held her to this life.
I looked up to Sam, who was sitting across from me in that could clinical hospital waiting room. His eyes were red from crying, and even now a tear dropped from those eyes.
He had always been the most emotional of us. The first to laugh and cry. But looking into those eyes I could see that he was struggling with the same thought as I.
What could have been so bad that she could no longer face it in the world of the living? Why would she think that death was her one and only route of escape left to her? Why didn’t we notice?
We didn’t deserve her if we could not be a shield from whatever pain she was facing. This invisible foe could have had an army to defeat it. Instead she had been outmatched and outstripped. And now she had fallen.
Our greatest comrade had been pierced by an invisible bolt. Struck by a poison. That she could not help but have to fight. We did not notice.
The chaplain I was speaking too just said that there was no way that I could possibly have known. That people who suffer from this affliction cannot help but hide it from those that they are closest too for fear of hurting them.
Affliction? That was not what Sarah had. This was no simple illness that could be swatted away like some mosquito. No way is this an affliction, this word does not do justice to the struggle she must have faced.
No this was a sadness. A sadness so great that it rose up like tsunami and swallowed her whole. Dragging her into an unknown that I could not follow.
Or could I? NO. I will not fall under the same demon that she had. I owe it to her to make sure that her death was not in vain. I can do this, because Sarah could not I will have to do this.
Why should I? Sarah had already been taken. What point was there in fighting any further, there was no longer any cause or point to the struggle?
This fight is over. My comrade had lost.
As I watch her body, encased in the finest woods and silks we could afford, being lowered into the ground I feel my heart go with her. But I do not miss it, nor do I try to go after it. The day I saw her lying in that bed with the knife clutched in her lifeless palm my heart had died. I could no longer feel.
There was no point in going after a lifeless part of myself that I could never hope to revive. I may as well let what used to be the best part of myself go with the friend who brought it out of me.
That would be best. So I will let it go.
Friends and family gather around the table of food. The men however stand off to the side, near the bar where somewhere in the bottom of a glass can be found amnesia from their pain.
At the other end is the mother and her husband. One crying the other stoically brave so the other can lean. It is hard to tell which is which from this distance.
I stand in between. At the halfway point between forgetting and feeling. I make no move toward either end. I stand instead at apathy.
I watch pain and forgiveness go on around me. But now I cannot feel either. I have become a stone. A decoration on the wall who can feel nothing even when approached.
Death is what brought me here today. I wish to leave it behind as soon as I leave. But I know that that black demon will haunt me no matter where I go.
I let it, taunting it on with my inability to feel emotion.
The dark lets me see the stone most clearly. I no longer see her name or the day at which I found her lying in her room.
Now it is a marker for what used to be. Happiness, joy, laughter. And now my heart comes back and begins to crack that façade that I had grown one tear at a time.