When my friend committed suicide, I would have never expected to learn this terrible secret about his family.
Ten days ago, my friend Benjamin committed suicide. I hate to be blunt about it, I hate to admit that I didn’t cry over the fact, but here’s the deal… we’ve been closer than close since sixth grade, and we promised if something like this ever happened, that’s not how it would be. That was our friendship. We were used to the whole “death won’t be an emotional thing, rather, we can look back upon all the awesome things we did.” And if anything, the reason why he left the world left me in more of an emotional turmoil leaning toward the horrific side of things, not the depressing side.
When Benjamin and I wanted to keep something confidential but didn’t have time to talk it out in person or send it in a text that would take about six messages to get the point across, he would tag me in a ‘note’ on Facebook which I’m sure most of you are familiar with. If not, it’s a place on your personal profile where you can write notes, tag people in them, or keep them to yourself. We would put our settings to private and write to each other about something a teacher did, something that somebody said to us in class, etc. Except we did this even after high school, just to catch up on extensive events.
Ten days ago, I logged onto Facebook, hoping to see a private message from him answering me about wanting to see each other soon, but instead I noticed I was tagged in a private note written by him. It was titled in bold letters “I’ve been dealing with this for awhile.” My heart jumped a bit at the title, thinking that maybe he had done something really bad, maybe gotten a girl pregnant who was bad news, I don’t know. My mind raced as I read, and my heart only sunk further as I read on.
“I’m really sorry I didn’t call you. I’m really sorry that this is the way that I chose to go, but I can’t live with it anymore. When the thing that terrifies you the most comes back to you full force, it’s not easy to come to terms with.
Remember when I told you about my dad and how he always seemed to know what I was doing? Remember that one time that I told you he was standing in the hallway on the phone, back turned to me many, many feet away, and I crept out of my room even though I was grounded and wasn’t supposed to leave that day? And he threw the phone down and came after me, even though I made no sounds making my escape, I told you it was as if he had seen me try to leave, though there was no possible way? And that one time… he was sleeping on the couch and snoring REALLY loudly, but I swore to CHRIST I heard him whispering at the same time, like an echo, something that would have been impossible. It was the source of my nightmares for a long time.
Well, It’s been about years since I last saw my family, you know that. Well they went to the grocery store for something I was alone in the house, well besides the dog. And I walked out into the hallway coming out of my bedroom, and you know how my parent’s room is right across from mine. Somebody had left the door open and right inside the doorway was this really weird-looking journal with a shiny black cover that I had never seen before. It was closed with a clasp which I opened, and I know it was wrong, but this thing looked awesome and you know I like my little bit of adventure.
Inside was messy scrawl, and my father’s handwriting. It looked like two people writing back and forth, but I knew it wasn’t my mother. It was psychotic. My dad would keep a journal entry about something he did that way…you know what, instead of being erratic here, I’ll just show you an example. The first paragraph is something my dad wrote in his handwriting a few days prior, and the second paragraph is the other handwriting:
‘Woke up this morning to the same dream. It’s been happening for awhile now, so I thought I would write it down just as a way to keep track of how many times it happens. Wife and I are walking on the beach and all of a sudden I start hurting her. I take my fists to her and I have her on the ground, vicious intent in my mind, for some reason I feel like I’m filled with hatred and yet I feel like I could cry when I meet eyes with her and —
You stupid fucking whore this is why these things happen to you! You can’t shut your fucking mouth what if somebody finds this shit? fuck you fuck you fuck you’
I was flabbergasted. I put the journal back on the desk, hands shaking, and I burst out into the hallway and down the stairs, where I put some television on to try to calm my nerves until they were back. I couldn’t meet eyes with my father the rest of the evening, no matter how normal things felt. What was my father dealing with? Why did something about him always make me feel so uneasy…my own father?
Well, when I came back home from my getaway with my parents, I was taking a shower. I felt uncomfortable doing it in my old house and so I hopped in there and tried to scrub away all the fears I had that weekend, but my hand hit something on the back of my head. I dropped the fucking soap and screamed like a little kid in pain, I’m sure I woke up some people in the apartment building.
I know it sounds crazy, but you have to believe me when I say that I felt a blinking eye on the back of my head. It felt like it struggled to open, like it was breaking open for the first time, and then it winced as my finger pushed against it.
I felt an enormous pain at the back of my head. When I went to rub my fingers back there again, it was still there, so I panicked and pushed my fingers further downward on my scalp, and there was a mouth there. And a fucking nose, in what felt like the exact same shape as mine. And as I was about to retract my hand, the mouth opened and let out the most terrifying scream, like a baby being born. I tried to cover it up but it fought with me and tried to bite my palm, it was trying to fucking kill me!
I can’t do it anymore. Last night I heard it sobbing as I tried to suffocate it with my pillow by laying on my back. I can’t go outside, I can’t do anything. I refuse to live the life that I suspect my father was living this entire time. I don’t know how he kept this from me for so long. But I have to leave this world, and I’m sorry.”
I tried to get ahold of Benjamin’s parents but it was pointless. Nobody would pick up the damn phone and I feared he was already long gone. I got a phone call that night, a returned call from his father, who was now sobbing and telling me that they had discovered his body in his apartment. A shot to the head that obliterated him and left him ‘unidentifiable’. I told them I had wanted to check up on him and hopefully see him soon, but that he wouldn’t answer my calls.
What his father said next before he hung up the phone and left me to my grief was what sent more chills up my spine, left so many unanswered questions running laps through my brain. It lives with me now, ten days later, makes it hard to sleep at night. I’m not sure anything will ever take away the pain, or help me sleep again.
“I saw the Facebook note.”
And it wasn’t even in his father’s voice.