"Oh, that," I said.
Of course a teacher heard me. I yelled it loud enough.
I had been enamored of the idea of suicide since I read a magazine article years earlier with faces of teens who had killed themselves. I wondered if I'd be in a magazine some day.
Mrs. S. asked if it was true. She wanted to know why I felt desperate enough to end my life. I provided the honest answer: I was failing freshman English, my parents were getting divorced after a 4 year separation, I felt like I had no friends and, though I don't recall now, I'm sure there was some boy trouble. She listened intently. I inferred that she didn't think these were valid reasons.
She asked if I had a plan. I did. I was going to go home after school, drink a bottle of alcohol from the liquor cabinet and then take a bottle of sleeping pills. Except I didn't have the pills so I was going to have to stop at the drug store on the way home. I wondered silently if I had enough money or if the lady at the drugstore would even let me buy pills without calling my mother.
"Don't you have band practice after school?" Her tone made it clear that she knew damn well I had band practice after school. Practice which, until that moment, I had completely forgotten about. I was going to have to either skip or kill myself afterward. Even on the brink of my own suicide, I was worried about not keeping my commitments.
"I might wait until tomorrow," I said, knowing I didn't have any extracurriculars to get in my way. I hoped she didn't notice I was seething with anger at both of us. I was angry at my own stupidity and inability to carry out a simple task. I was angry at her for noticing my weakness and using it against me.
Mrs. S. looked pleased with herself. She lectured me that my woes were not uncommon to girls my age. I shrugged a lot and said, "Yeah, I guess." She gave me a pamphlet with a suicide prevention hotline. She called my mother at work and told me that I was lucky she didn't have to call any authorities because they would put me in a hospital.
Word got around school and I noticed some sideways glances until better gossip grabbed the attention of my peers. Mrs. S. called me down two more times that year to see how I was doing. I told her the answer I knew she wanted to hear, that I was fine.
I'm always fine. I've been fine ever since.
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