You know what they say about small towns. There are no secrets. All it took was one fucking janitor, who happened to be the mother of a girl from my school. A janitor who obviously doesn’t abide by any code of ethics, who happened to work the wing of the hospital I was staying in after my overdose.
“Say honey, do you know a boy named Daniel A—? He was brought in last night for a drug overdose. Attempted suicide.”
And that’s all it took. There was going to be no keeping this thing low-key. That statement caught on like wildfire.
I spent four nights in that antiseptic, too well lit, sterile prison, and had nada one visitor, aside from family. No Kayla. No Mark. No one at all. The way I figured it, my little stunt turned me into some kind of leper. Best to keep our distance from that.
Between all the fluids, and pills, and solo/family sessions, I started to wish I had pulled it off. I can tell you one thing for sure. “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer, when it comes to the big why?
I was to prepare myself for suicide watch on the level of guarding Fort Knox. Goodbye freedom, at least until I figure out what they want to hear, and to tell them convincingly. My favorite part was the suggestion that we were all to move forward as if nothing happened. Yeah, my moms gonna deal really good with that.
Of all the upside down, crazy roller coaster that followed that Saturday night. The one thing that hurt the most, was that I had no friends. I get it. I would feel pretty awkward visiting a friend in the hospital that tried to take his life. What would I say? What would I do? I would probably hide out like Mark and Kayla did. My fear was that my friendships would not recover, and just fade into nothingness. That’s not a good prospect for someone who holds his friends in such high regard.
Then, on my final afternoon before my release, as we were packing up my belongings, a nurse came in. She handed me a couple of envelopes and a teddy bear.
“Looks like I just caught you. This is your last load of fan mail sugar. Take care now.”
I stuffed them in the bag, and headed out the door. When I got home, I hesitantly walked upstairs to my bedroom, and sat at the foot of my bed. Everything was different now. Was I allowed to simply walk into my room without asking permission? Could I sleep with my door closed? Could I shower alone? I know it sounded ridiculous, but I honestly didn’t know how far my freedom was going to reach.
I could see the worry, and fear, and disappoint in my mothers eyes. My sister seemed scared of me. My father seemed even more put off by me, than ever before. Like I was just being so fucking dramatic. Don’t worry dad. I didn’t reveal your little secret.
Suddenly, I was overcome with a flood of unexpected emotions. My mind took me right back to the events that took place in this room, just a few days earlier. All the hopelessness was back. All the sadness and pain. I sat there and quietly cried. Oh god. What have I done? And what do I do now?
I tried to busy myself, to keep from slipping even deeper into the darkness. I unpacked my bags and sorted my laundry. I set my books and headphones on the desk. I set my get well cards on the bookshelf. I grabbed the newest cards and rolled them in my hands. Every one of these I received during my stay at the hospital, made me feel ashamed and embarrassed. Another relative or family friend, with knowledge of what I’d done. I didn’t know if I wanted to rip these last three open. I’m pretty sure my mom would have insisted, so I went ahead and tore into them. The first two were from people I didn’t even know. Probably friends of my mom. The last one, a big card, like an 8×10 was very unexpected. It was from my hockey team. The front was a logo from our team. Inside was a team photo and signatures from all the players and coaches. My heart nearly leapt out of my chest as I scanned the names. And then I saw it. Near the bottom, on the left side.
I miss you
I reread it about a dozen times. There was my small sliver of hope. Maybe Mark still cared. Maybe Mark still wanted to be my friend.