"No. Absolutely not," stated my mother, moving around the kitchen.
"I promised him that I'd come back to visit. Please, mom! You said that we should look out for others," I begged, trying to guilt her into letting me visit Tanner.
She looked at me and assessed my expression. I was trying hard to look sad and begging. I needed to keep my promise. There was no way that I was just going to leave Tanner by himself. He needed someone more than ever to watch over him.
"Alright. I'll drive you over there in a little bit," she sighed, finally caving in. "Go get ready."
"Yes! Thank you!" I chirped, hugging her.
I went to my room and grabbed my bag. There were some questions I had written down and some other things for Tanner and I to do. I was determined to be his friend and make his life better. Last night I had told my parents that I wanted to hang out with him some more and make sure that he was okay. After saving him, there was no telling what he would do if I just left him.
"Shiloh, are you ready?" yelled my mom, picking up her keys.
"Yeah!" I yelled, running to the front door. "Let's hurry up! I want to see how he's doing."
She rolled her eyes and opened the front door for me. As she locked the front door, I waited impatiently. I was antsy. Soon we were in the car and driving. My heart pounded furiously in my chest. I wanted nothing more for him to be alive right now, but I had heard stories where people bit their tongues to kill themselves. What if he had bit his tongue? Or what if he slit his wrists again while eating? My imagination was overworking itself so much that I had reached Tanner strangling himself when we arrived at the hospital. I cleared my head of the worried thoughts and proceeded into the hospital.
I watched as the floor numbers passed by as I waited for my stop. There was an odd smell to the elevator. It was like medication had been spilled and left there for a while. The smell was almost scary. I didn't like it. It made my head hurt a little. Then the elevator stopped at my floor and I got off. Nothing had changed. People were still being rushed around and there were still crying families in the waiting area. I went to the front desk and asked the same nurse if I could go in the room.
"He's talking with his parents right now, but you can wait outside the door until it's alright to go in," she stated, smiling her kind smile.
I nodded and went to his room. As I approached the door, I could hear arguing. Tanner's voice was clearly furious and there was a woman's voice, probably his mother's, pleading. Then a booming voice came over all of them. I just stood there and waited. It wasn't a long wait, because the door burst open and his parents were rushing out.
"You need to get help, Tanner! It's a good thing that you've been ordered to get it!" shouted his dad, slamming the door behind them. "Stupid ass, ungrateful...oh! Sorry, I didn't see you there. Are you here to see Tanner?"
"Um, yes. I told him that I would come back today and check up on him. I wanted to keep my promise," I answered, feeling awkward.
"Are you the girl who saved him?" questioned his mother, wiping away tears.
"Thank you so much! I'm so glad that you saved him! I love my baby so much! I'm sorry, I'm crying again. I have to go...work, you know?" she sobbed, walking around me. "It was nice meeting you."
I watched her leave and then I looked back at his dad.
"I'm glad that you saved my son, but it might have been for nothing," he stated, scratching his head. "It was nice to meet you."
He left too.
I waited until he disappeared around the corner and then I entered the room.
"I said leave the fuck - " yelled Tanner, but he stopped realizing it was me. "Oh, I thought you were my parents. Sorry."
"It's okay," I stated, shutting the door behind me.
"Why the hell are you here?" he asked, watching me sit down.
"I said that I would come back to check on you, so here I am. How are you?"
He looked back at me and stared. I took my backpack off and pulled out a piece of paper with my questions on it.
"I feel like shit. What's that?" he asked, trying to see the paper.
"I wrote down some questions I wanted to ask you. Is it okay if I ask them?"
"Oh." I put the paper back in my backpack and pulled out a book. "I'm just going to read then."
"You're just going to sit there...and read?"
I looked up and nodded. Then I continued to read my book. I let him stew in silence, until finally he cracked.
"Okay, I'll answer your questions." He sighed angrily.
"Okay." I put my book away and got out the paper. "Why did you want to commit suicide?"
He hesitated. "Because my life is a shit-hole."
At first I thought that he was going to yell at me, but then I saw his face become contorted in pain. He looked away and then looked back at me.
"My parents are getting a divorce because my dad was cheating on my mom. He had a whole other life with this other lady. He has another kid! When they got the divorce finally, he didn't even try to fight for me. He just let my mom take me. I don't mind my mom. I love her, but my dad...he just...he just chose that other kid over me! Then my girlfriend that I've been dating since middle school, dumped me for some...some college guy that plays football. Just because I'm not a quarterback, I'm not as good! My grades started slipping and I'm at the minimum on the grade point average I need to play sports. So there! Now you know why my life is a shit-hole!" he stated, angry.
I felt bad for him. "I'm so sorry, Tanner. I...I would say I know how you felt, but I don't. So I'm not going to lie to you to make you feel better. I'm sorry that all that has happened to you. So, what made you pick Bernard?"
"My ex goes to Bernard. Her name is Laura Patterson."
"So...you decided to kill yourself for revenge?"
"I guess so. Anymore questions?"
"Will you let me help you?"
He looked down at the floor. I waited patiently while he thought. If he didn't want me to help him, then I wouldn't. I'd just visit him and see how he was doing then leave. That would be it. I wouldn't talk to him about how things were going or any of that. There would be no forcing him to do anything.
"Sure. I'll let you help me. If you can," he replied, finally.
I smiled and put the paper away. He had agreed and challenged me at the same time. Challenges were good for me. I try not to give up.
"So, you play football?" I asked, trying to start a conversation.
"Yeah. I'm a wide receiver. I just catch, dodge and run. That's pretty much it. I also play soccer which is coming up soon. The last football game of the season was yesterday. I missed it, but I don't really care. What about you?"
"I play soccer and run track. That's about it. I would like to play football, but that's technically a no-no for girls."
He just laughed at me and said it was bullshit. His laugh made me smile. It was cute and contagious. I listened as he gave me some long speech about letting people stop me from playing the sport I wanted to play. Then we began talking about other things. He mentioned that Laura played soccer too and that he tried to go to as many of her games as possible.
"You were the sweeper, right? I remember you now. You were really good. Hella fast," he stated, smiling slightly.
"Ha ha, yeah. I play other positions too, but it depends on who we're playing against," I replied, trying to remember if I'd ever seen him. "I don't remember seeing you. Maybe that's because Laura and I aren't good friends. She's pretty mean to me."
"I don't really know. She just shoves me around at school and calls me a bitch and stuff like that. It's okay. I don't really care."
He kind of nodded and then frowned. She probably didn't seem that way to him. Of course she would be nice to around him, but I couldn't know for sure. She was a bitch at school. Everyone who was near her got treated like shit, including her friends. Maybe she was even mean to him.
"She can be pretty bitchy. Constantly nagging and pretty demanding. She kept pressuring me to have sex with her, but I didn't want to. Maybe that's another reason she went for that other guy," he muttered, thinking to himself now.
"Well, you were right by not having sex with her. Sex is something that should be saved for marriage-"
"Shut the hell up. I don't believe in that shit. I was just too embarrassed to even attempt it. That's why I didn't have sex with her. I was scared."
"Oh. Okay..." My voice came out in a whisper.
"Look, I'm sorry...I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. It's just that maybe if I had slept with her, she would have stayed with me..."
"If she dumped you because you wouldn't...then maybe she would have dumped you later anyway. Not that you're bad at sex or anything! But...because she's constantly sleeping with guys..."
His expression deepened with sadness and pain.
"I'm sorry! I'm not helping, am I? Wow...I'm such a bitch...I'm sorry..."
"No...it's okay. Really. Don't feel bad. I know you're only trying to cheer me up, although you're not doing a very good job. The fact is you're trying."
I smiled, glad that I could help him in some way. He was right though. I did suck at trying to cheer him up. Then a man entered the room with two police officers. Tanner and I stared at him with curiousity. Who was this guy?