by Jess Mize
My first attempt at suicide was pathetic. I took twelve blue footballs, and guzzled an expensive pint of Johnnie Walker Red Label with four Vicodin ten’s. I was eighteen years old and the only result was that I slept for a good twelve hours. A wonderful, peaceful and dreamless sleep, but not the eternal slumber I was looking for.
I had been expelled from high school the previous year. I felt as if I had missed out on what could have been the most exciting year of my life, the last youthful hooray before I became an adult.
The only friends I had were no friends at all. They were drugheads and flaky derelicts. They only used me. My despair was enormous. As I am sure it is that way for everyone who decides to turn to suicide. My only consolation, the only brightness in my life was the underage girl at the dry cleaners I worked with. She was the grand-daughter of the owner. She was my first love.
She sang that Cake song Living Comfort Eagle very enchanting; dancing and smiling and she was calling me dude. The consolation of my solitude. And then a charming tune, rhymes of Harry Potter, Harry Potter, ‘You shall not harm Harry Potter.’ Mesmeric Mollie. Eyes of verdure. The color of early Autumn leaves. Melodic Mollie. Hope flowers in a trashcan. My longings and regrets. We strolled through the cemetery, she and I, observing leaden Virgins that appeared to move and talk. Here, beneath stones, the dead felt reassured. Beauty being a personal illusion. Her smile, the splendor of every detail in her presence. All would have been perfect if we could have just held hands. Am I your true lover? She replied: I am here, aren’t I. What does it matter? We are each free and individual human beings.
I had dreams and visions of our first date. I wrote a poem in prose about it.
–How are you? Smiling and kissing her cheek, softly, very close. A winter night, immense fog lingers from the overcast day. As I pull away, the nest of her hair glistens and seems natural on a night without moonlight. The air was scented sweet like distant burning fruit as we walked towards the car on our first date. I took lilacs in a vase to her front door. And knocked. And waited. And smiled as I have said; she wore a chilled white sweater with a black skirt and white stockings. Flowing hair and a cynical flicker to her emerald-colored eyes. She seemed much more striking than a Botticelli. In the car we listened to NWA and I smoked a cigarette feeling the blind excitement of her presence. I said: You’re beautiful. She said: Please let’s not be silly, I know.
My second attempt at suicide happened two years later. I had just quit my job at the dry cleaners. I had no ambitions, no motives, only a red and black despair that clouded over my every thought and action, a red and black despair like the closing of Joyland at night. I had wanted to go see the second Pirates of the Caribbean film that weekend but I had totaled my drop-top Mazda Miata only a week before that. I tried to take a sharp turn at seventy miles an hour and did a full 360 degree spin into the kudzu and trees, smashed right into an oak at the driver’s side door. I didn’t have a scratch on me. The hood was crushed in and I kicked the wheel in anger and dismay.
This attempt was more self-assured. I had a plan that I thought would work. I had a gallon of Gallo wine. White Zinfandel. And I used it to wash down sixty-three sleeping pills. My liver should have shut down. That was my plan was and I was counting on it. The result was again, unfortunate. I slept for 36 hours. I woke up and stumbled woozily around like I had been given a nice dose of Gingerbread smoke. I failed.
I spent the next six months completely isolated. I never left the house. One time a friend brought beer and speed and pot over. That was a good day. We sat smoking in the mid-morning autumn sunlight. It was beautiful the way the shadows of the leaves in the breeze seemed like dancers. A shimmering ballet of dark figures amid a bright, glistening background. Most days I watched countless black and white films. Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra pictures.
It was storming on an August afternoon. Jazz lightly playing: A Frank Sinatra moving picture on the television screen. The thunder was soporific and the leaves were swaying dark green iridescent with the soothing rain resounding as if a waterfall in the North Carolina mountain ranges. It grew exceedingly dark as the grey-blue metallic sky transformed into a steel-grey monster. I had grown fond of this dreary weather, especially as it felt like the mystic stories of Edgar Allen Poe. A something altogether haunting and mysterious is a late summer stormy afternoon; like the clandestine eyes of Ligeia. I had been avoiding solitude through fairy tales and like the sky that day I wept profusely when the bitter sun would shine. Gilded sculptures and horrible romantic novels of the 19th century echoed from the shallow depths of my past imagination. Pale lightning ignited amid the zephyrs like an angel intertwined, corresponding with the heavens and with earth.
The third time I tried to kill myself was another half-hearted attempt. It is hard to commit suicide if one’s whole heart is not devoted to the cause. Certainly, I had feeling and inspiration, but my will deserted me. One must have the entire Stanislavski trifecta.
It was two years later. I was twenty-two years old at the time and my girlfriend had just become pregnant over a month before. I was horrified. I never wanted to bring a child into this cruel world. My own childhood had been a real American horror story, and I could only imagine the sins of my own father coming to fruition in my own life. Parents are the real monsters of anyone’s childhood. Don’t get it twisted.
Mollie was turning eighteen soon. Of course I remembered her birthday. Was I not subconsciously counting the seconds, watching the hours ever since our eyes had last met? I reached out to her on twitter and we made plans to meet at the Taco Bell in Hillcrest, at midnight.
Nature has the weirdest tricks in store. Mollie was my wintertime fairy. We were apart. The landscape waned; it became barren. It was cold everywhere save our two beating hearts. Polar ice blown liquescent waves melodically dazzled our two pairs of eyes. I had spent the day waiting on her. I practised hopefully the phrases I would use. She would be sweet and nice and above all we would be in love just to hold each other. Cheek to cheek immersed in the rhythm of her hair, beneath the ice-grey clouds and the impotent pale-pearl moon, there would never be another moment in the history of the earth.
We went on several dates. One Sunday evening I went to a house party at her grandfather’s place with my Russian friend Viktor. He was a good looking young man with shiny, short black hair he kept just spiked enough to be cool. One time I went off to smoke pot in the car with Viktor and some other kids, but the rest of the party Mollie and I spent close together, our arms brushing against each other. After everyone else left, we made big bowls of honey nut cheerios and flirted. We made out for hours. The sun was coming up.
That night I told her my girlfriend was pregnant. We were sitting on chairs by the pool at her grandfather’s house. Underneath the stars. The underwater lights were on and the chlorine blue water glistened, rippled and sent off an electric vibe in the cool, early summer night. She told me we couldn’t see each other anymore. I didn’t beg or plead. I understood and expected her reaction.
But I was devastated. She was my first love. I went home and slit my left wrist. Horizontal slices though and while I bled profusely, it was not anything that would have killed me.
My fourth attempt at suicide happened nearly five years later. My fianceé had broken off our engagement and I had recently been fired from my job as an English teacher at the local high school. I had been going to work stoned every day. Life was tragic to me. I was a failed writer, I was failing at being a father. So I would get blasted and listen to sad Indie music. Bright Eyes, The Smiths, Lana Del Rey. My sadness was not just for the summertime, it was for all the seasons. I knew it was over, and I knew there was nothing else I could do. My polished mask looked like shit, morning to evening.
One day I went to the Mexican Restaurant for lunch and had two jumbo margaritas with a fat blunt of nug. I went back to teach fifth period and gave a performance for the history books. I was fired that afternoon.
A few days later I got trashed real good. Slit both of my wrists. Vertical this time and very nicely. The bleeding was extraordinary. I made a video of it on the laptop webcam to send to my ex-fiancee as an email attachment, saying, “This is your fault. This is what you’ve done to me.” Ah, I would have died that night if my brother had not come home to find me bleeding naked in the tub. He called the ambulance. I hated him for that. I was so close. I spent the next eight days in the psych ward, where the doctor said I had depression. Fuck, of course I was depressed doctor. I’m also bi-polar. Thanks for not diagnosing me properly, asshole.
Now days, suicidal ideations are my constant companion. I contemplate death every single morning I wake up. I cut a little and feel better. I have turned into a monster. I am afraid of life. I want to be selfish. I want to commit suicide. I want out. With each day that passes it gets harder to stay alive.
Animals are not meant to get old, neither am I. Everything is so far away. Tick Tock. I am not loved. I am not a beautiful soul. I am not a good person. I am not anyone’s savior. There is no redemption for me. I can’t go on living this way. I just want to die. I want to relax and give up.
Everything up to now is just a story. You always kill the thing you love the most. Maybe self-destruction is the answer. You have to be right on the edge of death to be saved. Tick Tock. I long for death. A moment is all you can expect from perfection.
Tick Tock. Fix me, fix me. Fix me. I live like a disaster. I live in ruins. If your addiction isn’t always new and improved, you are a failure. Only pain reminds me that I am alive. Hurt me. Curse me. Use me. Life is not beautiful anymore. I recklessly look for death. I search blindly for it. The emotional cancer I have is all consuming.
Death is promised; I can die at any moment. The tragedy of my life is that I don’t. Only if I am punished can I be saved. Beauty has been destroyed. Nothing is static. Emotions are bullshit. Your life ends one minute at a time…Tick Tock.
Throw me away. Set me free. I submit to self-destruction. I assault the world by assaulting myself. Destroying myself will allow me to discover the greater power of my spirit. This life is destroying my spirit. Suicidal Ideations. Everyone that you love will reject you or die. I live in an alternate reality. I cannot live in the real world.
I’m addicted to my sadness. Everyone I have ever loved has left me. Crying is right at hand in the smothering of the dark.
The idea of death lurks behind every thought. It will not stop. It will not go away. I am haunted by the urge to commit suicide no matter how much I run from it. I am trapped in the darkness. Do not save me. It is so bad. It’s becoming so fucking bad. I pretend to be okay. But I am not. Tick Tock. Bleeding to death would be so peaceful and easy. In the darkness you will be saved. I think about slitting my wrists a thousand times a day. All I want to do is dig out my razors and end this madness.
I hear it. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.
The only time I feel at peace is when I hold a razor to my wrist and know that I can END THE PAIN. That I control if I live or die and when it will happen. This is my comfort. This is my life. When will I decide to end it? Tick tick tock. I will never be able to escape from myself. I am trapped by the beautiful idea of death. It is so alluring.
My life will not be remembered. There will be no happy memories. There will be no loving thoughts. Only relief that I am finally gone. The sun is setting on my life time and I am ready for the darkness. The air is transparent but heavy on my shoulders. Sex, alcohol, and suicide are always on my mind. I hate going to sleep. I can’t sleep without having dreams that make me afraid. The dreams fuck with me so bad. I hate waking up.
Use me. Abuse me. Dominate me. Hurt me. Trash me. Possess me. Wreck me. Choke me. Own me. Drugs, pain, sex and booze. It makes me feel alive. Even when I am happy I still want to kill myself. I put on a mask of normalcy. I hide in the light so you can see me fail.
The first step to eternal life is you have to die. I am starting to feel at home in the solitude of darkness. I bask in the ruin of myself. The roses are dying all around me. The prettiest people do the ugliest things.
everytime I close my eyes
a part of me commits
relief comes when
the pain runs red
out of my veins
Every day I dance the same dance, and every day I sing the same song. We all go down. Everything sinks. Hell pulls us closer. There is no escape from gravity. I can’t prevent the slow sinking of my soul.
I am climbing a mountain. It is not a very steep or especially rocky mountain, but the climb to the pinnacle is tiresome all the same. There is a wide and shallow river that runs along the path of the mountain. The water is clear and crisp. I can see little schools of fish darting this way and that. I love the sound of the water rushing over the rocks. Mountain laurel is growing on either side of the river and the sweet smell is what lures me in. This will be my campsite, for I will not reach the top of the mountain tonight anyway.
I take off my satchel and start to unpack. I haven’t brought many things. It is a one-way journey after all. Lucky for me, there is a very low branch I can throw my tarp over. I stake in the four corners of the tarp and it looks like a perfect makeshift tent. Perfect. Next I find a rather flat river rock and dig a small fire pit not too close to the tent. I will need to cook dinner but I do not wish to sleep in smoke and ashes.
The large bottle of vodka I brought will need to stay cold. I tie it to an oddly shaped rock and submerge it in the cold water of the river. I do the same thing with the meat, though I am careful to wrap it up tight so the crawfish don’t get it. Damn sneaky little thieves that they are. Then I take out the rest of my belongings: my journal, pen, knife, can opener, thin blanket, and the small amount of food I had packed for my hike. A pack of stogies and a lighter are in my pocket. After I put down my little blanket, I place the empty pack at the back of my tent as a pillow. I doubt I will sleep much this night.
It is not very late, somewhere around mid-afternoon. I definitely could have hit the top of the mountain today, but damn, this is a beautiful place to stop. Nearby, I spot an old rotten log. After I checked it for bugs, I rolled it towards my fire pit. Speaking of fire pit, I better start looking for shit to burn. I place some dry leaves at the bottom. I make a tee-pee of twigs and small branches, then leave the rest of the bigger wood next to the pit for when the fire gets going. It is beautiful outside, so there is no sense in lighting it until I am ready to eat.
I am very lucky to have this haven in the woods. It is the perfect place to rehash the wrongs that I have done and find my salvation. My spirit would like a good airing out before I reach the end of my journey. I am tempted to carve in my sitting log, “dead end,” but I do not think anyone would enjoy the humor like I do. To hell with it. I will probably do it anyway. Like I said, this is only a one-way trip.
Jess Mize is a blonde-haired surfer girl from South Carolina. Her most recent feature for us was “Inspired by Death in the Afternoon.”
One thought on “Suffering, Suicide, and Immortality”
I enjoyed the first four parts of this story a lot.