She pulled a bin bag over her head, making sure the tube was inside. She taped the bag tight around her neck and groped for the canister. As she turned the knob, helium inflated the bag. Her last thoughts before she lost consciousness were: I hope this works.
“Oh my God…”
“Her marriage was on the rocks. Her kids weren’t talking to her anymore. She didn’t have a job.”
My sister uses short phrases, she is still under the shock of learning that the sister or our common friend has committed suicide. Now I am under that shock too. An image of my friend appears before me. Sitting at her kitchen table, she has collapsed forwards. I can hear sobbing. Her husband is sitting next to her, his hand is on her arm but he says nothing. He stares into the dark empty space ahead.
“I should have…”, my friend starts, but her husband lightly squeezes her arm. “No, you can’t. This is, this. This is just terrible.” He closes his eyes, I can see tears seeping from his squeezed eyelids.
I don’t know what happened exactly. I never knew my friend’s sister. But when people die a violent or a sad death like this, I don’t think that what happened in the end is very important. I can’t help but go back further.
Back to the last time she lay in bed, her back turned from her husband. Going through the argument they had, in her mind. The unfairness of his reproaches. The need to get away but the fear of not being able to do so.
I go back to when the arguments were bearable but when the kids were being incredibly selfish. “Oh, bugger off then!”, said her son, the last time they spoke.
But I must go further when things weren’t so bad. Perhaps to that time when her daughter did a Hip Hop demo for her dance club. We were all there, my husband and son beside me. I was so proud when everybody applauded.
I remember when I dropped my children off at primary school. They looked so cozy in their winter coats with woolen hat and mittens. Andy came running back to give me a second kiss. Some of the other girls were nice at the school gate, we’d smoke a fag and talk gossip.
My wedding really was the best day of my life. My father took me aside that morning and said he loved me and that my life was starting in the earnest now. He gave me a pendant that had belonged to his mother. My husband was gorgeous!
I remember some of the beach parties we went to with the girls from school. There were boys too but I was too shy to talk to them and I think we got drunk. Strangely enough, the thing I remember best are the stars that evening. The rush of the rolling surf and the lovely cool breeze.
As a little girl I always loved nature. I could play for hours in the garden. Catching ladybirds and put them in a box. That was their house. The ladybirds were married to the beetles and the little ones were their kids. At night they all went to sleep but my brother said they were dead.
I don’t remember much before that except the lovely smell of my mother. Sitting on her lap, she would hug me and she smelled lovely.
I hope this works, were her last thoughts.
And now I cry.