At the end of Part One, I realized that I wasn’t going to make it. I purchased The Stuff with which to kill myself. Part Two, rather than a continuation of that story, was more of an interlude in which I explored some of the things from my past that led me here. For Part Three, I’ll get back to the main narrative.
After buying The Stuff right before New Year’s, I felt better. I’m vaguely aware that this is normal (ish) for people who decide to commit suicide; making the decision gives one a sense of closure and finality and peace. The fact that I had the materials to hand was immediately comforting and oddly empowering. “I can do it anytime I want. It’s up to me. No one else.”
I continued to spend a little time with Miss Y here and there, engaging in fruitless discussion about my issues with her. I was discouraged by her responses, but I was so grateful for all her kindness that I felt bad isolating myself from her so hey, why not keep hanging out for a while until I decided to end it all. No need to make her worry any more than she already was. Right? I tried to share my admittedly-broken perspective with her. It didn’t really go anywhere useful but it seemed important to her to keep me talking, so I talked. I secretly had The Stuff, and that was good to know.
I kept attending church services. My sermon notes, taken on my cellphone with lots of aggravating autocorrects and more than occasional cursing, show that I was increasingly distracted during this time. I tried to absorb the messages from God’s word, but I still found myself curling up at night comforting myself with the thought that I was going to die any day now and I’d get to meet Jesus and that this was a good thing. I had The Stuff.
Going Through the Motions
At some point, I started idly looking at job listings again. I no longer felt pressure to apply, since (a) all my belongings were gone now and there was no point, and (b) I would be killing myself soon enough so who cares? But I saw something on Craigslist, a couple of counties over, that looked like my kind of thing. Or at least, the kind of thing I used to enjoy doing for work. So I asked Miss Y to drive me down there. (My car insurance had LONG since been canceled, and my license was suspended. Getting pulled over while driving myself would have been…unfortunate.)
I want to emphasize how very much I did not care at this point. Your friend C had checked out of this joint. I was pretty much just trying to make Miss Y think I was making an effort. Her enthusiasm for helping me out was renewed by my request, and she happily ferried me some forty miles in order for me to apply in person.
The owner of the company hired me on the spot.
I told Miss Y on our drive back that it was almost like old times, the way I used to be able to impress an employer with my pleasant demeanor and mad skillz. She was so delighted, she promptly spent a metric buttload of her own money to get my insurance and license reinstated over my protests, as well as splurging on a pair of work boots and other small peripherals to make me presentable on a day-to-day basis. Miss Y was so happy, and I was so unexpectedly boosted by getting the job so effortlessly, I forgot about using The Stuff.
For a while.
My newfound paycheck-having status proved to be more uplifting for other people than myself, as it turned out. Though the job started out seeming, if not promising, at least tolerable, it wasn’t long before the inevitable cracks showed up. The details don’t really matter, but they’re the same details that appear with all my jobs: Me, combined with a fundamental inability to “just let it go” when crappy things start happening around me. C + other people = fail.
My church acquaintances heard that I was working and cheerfully asked me how it was going. After a couple of weeks of “It’s fine!” I started pulling back: “I don’t wanna talk about it.” It became something of a joke, I think; remember, I don’t follow the happiness narrative, and the Good Little Christians aren’t having that. If you finally got your lazy ass a job, you better be glad to have it! So when I would say, with increasing grimness, “I don’t wanna talk about it,” the congregation would chirp “Oh, good!” as if they hadn’t heard me.
I was a little more honest with Miss Y. At one point when she asked me for the frillionth time how it was really going, I told her truthfully, “I wanna blow my brains out.” She didn’t know I had The Stuff — no one knew — but she was saddened.
At the Dawn of COVID-19
Then, I got sick. I tried to power through it, because that’s what you do when you’re broke and homeless and your friend spent money she couldn’t afford to spend to help you get back on your feet, but I ended up missing a week of work. (I don’t know if it was just the flu; COVID testing wasn’t available in my area and I couldn’t’ve gotten treatment anyway.) When I returned to my workstation, the situation with my employer had deteriorated and went into a rapid tailspin; I was suddenly unemployed again after only two months of working there.
Miss Y was visibly disgusted with me. We remained friends, but she became distant.
And then, of course, the lockdowns began. Our church services were suspended and moved to Facebook livestreams. Local businesses went into hiring freezes.
My gym closed due to COVID. I no longer had a place to shower.
Nevertheless, She Persisted
I still had The Stuff. It was exactly where I’d put it. I started actively thinking about using it. Since I don’t wish to specify the exact nature of The Stuff, I won’t elaborate but the thoughts began to consume me. I took some haphazard notes on my cellphone during this time, recording my spiraling thought process; the words “I should have just killed myself. Why didn’t I do it?” appear.
I’m still not sure why I didn’t do it. The peace I’d felt when I initially bought The Stuff was gone now. I was back to feeling alternately miserable and panicked. My ongoing failure to adult, as proven by the loss of yet another job, had crushed me. In addition, the favor I had wheedled from the pastor several months prior was starting to become burdensome to the church. In typical fashion, they chose the “let’s hope she takes the hint” method rather than confronting me about it, but I was aware that it was going to become a problem.
My already-troubled sleep became more disturbed, waking several times throughout each night from nightmares I’d later forget, leaving me frantically begging God, “Help me, help me, help me” with the added entreaty to “PLEASE LET ME SLEEP.” I’d clench my eyes, trying to force my mind to quiet, instead being rewarded with visions of someone plunging a hunting knife into my chest. The sensation was vivid: The blade was large and heavy and dense, enough to push past sternum and into my heart. An alternate vision of someone taking a drill bit to my head was also in play, equally vivid: The bit was long and penetrating, entering at my left temple since I lay curled on my right side, just at the thinnest part of my skull.
This went on for a couple of months.
I still had The Stuff. I took it out and looked at it a few times but didn’t use it. Still not sure why.
Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! (Job 6:8-9 KJV)
Stay tuned for Part Four, which miiiiiiight bring my idiotic tale of idiocy up to date.