Twenty-Six Funerals

Sshhh. Hush, don’t look now. It’s almost over. No, don’t worry. It’s OK, it’s OK. Almost. Almost. Almost….

David put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.


It was probably a long time coming. Or so they would all say, when it had come, and he had gone.

Her eyes were shining with tears but behind that they were empty. She was succeeding in escaping, somewhere. She’s probably the mother. It’s usually easy to pick them out. They’re the ones I feel sorry for. That look of bewilderment that’s teetering over the cliff of horror.

They watched her, they all watched her and tried to look like they weren’t. And they wouldn’t meet her eye, if they could help it. They probably thought it best. Or they were afraid. It’s understandable. It looked kinda like if she drew you into the wells of pain set in her face that you’d fall in and drown.

At the funeral most sat, and watched. Some spoke, some cried. No one really says much, though, when it’s a suicide. They don’t know what to say. Or they do, but it wouldn’t be nice and they’ve enough decency to keep it to themselves. Or they’re confused, or indifferent, or too not-indifferent. It’s always that way, I suppose, but it’s worse with children and suicides. Really something else when it’s both.

I was watching her. She didn’t know me. None of them did. I didn’t know them. I didn’t exactly know David either, except in the way we all know each other intimately. Those of us who have gotten close enough to try, or succeed. A brotherhood, of sorts. No meetings or membership lists though, unless you count the obituaries.

This is how I hold it off. The urge to reach for the gun or the razor or the pills. Not really the pills. They aren’t likely to work. And I don’t care what anyone tells you, it’s not a cry for attention. The ones who get attention I suppose are lucky. Or not. Depending on which side of the bottle you’re on.

This is what I do. The funerals. This one’s number twenty-six. No one ever questions me. We’re good at that, we of the brotherhood, at keeping people away. It’s part of the problem, I suppose. But really it’s a symptom. Like the pain and the anger.

It helps me stay angry, honestly. The funerals. Feeling angry is feeling something.

I hear them say those asinine things, about how David killed himself. It shouldn’t, but it still amazes me that they believe David had anything to do with dying of a massive depression anymore than anyone with cancer succumbs to their disease.

Maybe he took his meds, maybe he didn’t, maybe he never had any to take. It doesn’t make a difference. They’re all symptoms. The taking or the not taking or the never having to take.

Some of us go into remission. I never have. Maybe I will someday. It doesn’t really matter. And anyway, I can’t make myself believe it’s possible. Or real. They tell me I wasn’t always like this but I can’t remember and I don’t think I believe them.

So David was fifteen. Not very old. Or really, really damn old in time spent living with that overwhelming feeling of nothing at all. Every day is a hundred years. David was probably centuries older than anyone in that room. Especially the ones who shake their heads when his mother isn’t looking.

I suppose I did know David, and David knew me. There are a lot of us. We suffer, or endure, or die, or don’t and we’re all the same and completely different.

The last funeral was Tiffany. She was pretty, even in the coffin. She’d done the wrists so her face wasn’t messed up at all. I really hate it when they do open coffin for the ones like David, who did the gun. They fix up the face and try to pretend like you can’t tell but I think everyone can see the way the mouth doesn’t look right. I know I can. But then, I’ve seen a lot of them.

I think I’ll do the wrists when my time comes. The gun’s more efficient, or even a rope, or a tall building. But I’m scared of heights and there’s something mesmerizing in the thought of feeling it drain away, your life, the way you’ve wanted it to for so long. I think about that feeling sometimes, and I wonder if the reality’s the way I imagine it. The slow fall into delicious nothing. Not the awful kind that fills your chest and your head every day but the one you’ve been wanting, dreaming of for so long.

I’m squeamish, though, about sharp things and actually cutting my skin on purpose. Maybe that’s why I’m still here, at the funerals. Because I’m scared of too many of the best ways, the effective ways, and I’m not idiot enough to try the stuff that doesn’t always work. It’s only when I’m really numb that I can think of razors and imagine it feels like heaven, the bite and release.

I heard them say that Tiffany was a cheerleader. And they said how could she be so pretty and popular and want to do something like that. Sometimes it’s so hard not to laugh. That they think any of that matters.

I always go to the coffin. Open or closed, I always go up there and introduce myself. There’s a brotherhood, after all. It’s common courtesy, or a code of conduct or something. And sometimes I see another one of us there. Watching. But I won’t say anything. Not until they’re the ones lying there, or I am. That’s not the way it works. Because it wouldn’t matter. We’re all alone. It’s part of the deal. Could be worse, I suppose. Or not. I can’t make myself care.