Death Is Real

by Jett Cary

Jett Cary

Death Is Real

You could hear the squeaks and the squeals coming from the dozens of sneakers passing from one end of the basketball court to the other. The crowd of at least 300 people and some news reporters were roaring with excitement. This was it, the championship game.

"This is for all the marbles boys!" Coach Bickley yelled.

"You got it, coach!" I said across the court with a smile on my face.

The other boys passed encouraging compliments back and forth with each other like it was a game in itself. Things like "You got this, you got this" and "You can do it, shoot for the win" were said with pure excitement and glee.

It had then suddenly seemed like time had frozen as I looked around at the hundreds of people cheering me on. I was standing at the center of the court, knees bent, and a confident, tight grip on the sweaty ball. I had time to finally process the fact that I had a seemingly perfect life. As I continued to stare around the gym I saw once again all of the people who loved and cared about me so much. I also saw my parents along with the coach on my right. They were in mid-air because they had jumped with the ball that I had just released from my intense grip in hopes that the ball that I had released would swish through the basket for the win. I finally looked at the clock and it read four more seconds. This meant that I had four more seconds to make a miracle occur. The basketball suddenly swished through the hoop and I was awakened from my trans-like state as the final buzzer chimed with a victorious sound. I dropped to my knees as my team claimed a victory and began to swarm around me like bees.

I quickly ran off to the sideline and high-fived some of the new teammates. I finished up and then went to the trash-filled bleachers to find a seat while everyone was leaving. I didn't blame them either, It was 12:30 at night and I too needed sleep. As I peered into the dark corner of the court I saw him. He was wearing all black except for his silver chain-link necklace. His dark hood covered his eyes and nose and he was facing the ground. I haven't really ever seen him before except for sometimes at lunch, but he always sat alone. Sometimes when I watch him, he doesn't eat anything. How could I not feel bad for him? When looking at his face, It looks like he could cry at any moment. I crept over to him through the crowds of people where he was leaning against the wall all alone. I guess that this was normal for him but I could sense that he was hurting inside.

The next day at school I was just wrapping up my final notes for my last class on Monday morning when I saw him again. I looked at him, I didn't know his name, nor did anyone. I think It was Jessie or James or something. I guess I felt bad because I guess I should have known his name. We have been going to school for some time now. He was different, always wearing his black hoodie. I kept watching him, and I could see him gently scratching his arm. As he began to scratch, the sleeve on his right arm began to lift. Reddish lines of waves were scared along the perimeter of his bloody veins. I immediately stopped, looked away, and shook my head. Did I just see what I thought was on his arms? Did he have cuts? I couldn't believe it, but I guess part of me did believe it. What was I going to do? Could I ignore it? All I knew that it was time for me to make a decision. There was clearly blood marks where he had been cutting. I knew that this kid needed some help but I had to ask myself the only question that mattered.

I started to approach him like he was a venomous animal. Carefully and slowly. He was slumped over and near the best classroom in the school. I put on a nice smile, but I didn't know If he would find it pleasing. I opened my mouth and approached him. I couldn't help but think that this was going to be a terrible conversation but it needed to be dealt with. The school was mostly flooded because I had spent five minutes contemplating whether I should talk or stock this unnoticed boy. In front of me was the concrete support beam leading up to Mr. Gonzalez's room. He was everyone's favorite teacher except for the fact that he gave me the most homework of all my other lame teachers. His classroom was in the center of the school and his clean, welcoming, well-dressed classroom invited all guests. So I don't blame Him for standing in front of it. The scenery was beautiful. There were red, pink and yellow flowers dug deep into the ground. There were also some posters outside his classroom for the ongoing elections for ASB president, as well as some posters with encouraging statements. It was at this moment that this boy was anxious to leave so I had to make my move, and fast.

My decision was made and there was no turning back. Plus, there had already been two attempted suicides at this school in the last year. That didn't mean that this was less important, but I knew that this looming hopelessness would not affect this innocent child. Not if I could help it. Usually, I wouldn't be the one to help, but since this kid seemed like he didn't have anyone to reach out to, I would be an idiot not to do or at least say something. Maybe I should invite him out to lunch. No, I should just make him comfortable with me first. Thoughts swarmed my head as I was about ten yards away from him. The good and bad thoughts were still eating up my head. I rehearsed what I could say to him in the least awkward way. Plus, if I say even one thing wrong, he might get angry and It would be because of me. I can't even relate to his situation so how will I solve it? I checked to see how far I was away from him and I couldn't help but think that I was not qualified to handle this intense situation. I was still about 10 yards away from him and he turned to me and made an intense eye-to-eye contact with me. As I stared at him I felt all of his unforgiving pain and suffering. I turned away in a flash instant in an attempt to look like I wasn't about to make the biggest mistake of my life.

I looked at him and thought to myself, this is it... but wait, if I mess this up he could hurt himself because of me. I'm not trained for this at all. Wouldn't it just be easy to walk away and go on with my day? I mean the sun was out, and I would go home where my dog would sit on my lap while I play Skate 3 on my Xbox. I would have a mostly empty bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios that were soggy as hell because I couldn't give up on this insane jump. Then I would feed my dog and put him in the backyard where I would watch him chase his tail for half an hour. I would then play my drum set until my hands were blue and my pulse had doubled in numbers. It would be awesome to go home with no responsibilities or tasks that I needed to accomplish. I could just chill and watch Netflix after I had drained my energy completely from my rockin' drum set. Then I would sleep for ten hours and I would wake up the next morning with zero regrets.

My conscious went wild, I still couldn't decide if I should help this child or not. On the other hand, this child could potentially hurt himself and here I am, his only lifeline. He could suffer at the hands of my mistake if I don't do something. I still didn't know if this decision was up to me to decide but, once again I was all he had. I just wasn't sure if this was right. My mind was flooded with thoughts but this time I couldn't help but think, I am this young child's lifeline so I should help him through this hard time because we all have hard times and it's not right for one person to struggle when he's not the only one who is struggling. I'm the one who needs to stand up and do something because I am the only one who sees this dying kid. The decision is so critically important and should require much time but that's the only thing that I don't have.

Suddenly the final school bell rang that signaled everyone to leave the school which left me questioning why I was even left in the school starting blatantly. I was awakened by the bell and I sat there wondering what I should do. It was extremely tough, I could either attempt to save this boys life or not, but going for this risk might mean that another school suicide will be because of me. One option though, seemed better than the other, so I imagine myself walking up to the boy and tapping him on the shoulder. As I saw his face shadowed by his hoodie I held in my breath as to not disturb him. I continue to look at him when just then he turned away from me in a flash. His face was not completely hidden and I felt ashamed because I had made the wrong choice. I tried to recover from my mistake by saying hey but that just ruined it. His tears still ran down his wet red cheeks and fresh blood was dripping in jagged lines across his upper wrist. He covered his arm and told me to leave him alone as I felt guilty at what he had just done. I just wasn't sure if I could do it.

I took numerous steps back in regret from what I had just seemingly predicted. Quickly, I looked around me again and saw that I was alone with this kid. I don't know why I had stayed this long but I guess I cared a little about this. It's really kind of insane what life and death really means, I mean we all live and die so why do people care so much what happens in that short time span? I bet this kid doesn't really have friends but is a friend? someone who will be there for you when you most need it and will take a bullet for you? Or is a friend someone who you see at school sometimes and will give a high-five to just to look cool in front of them? Is there even a meaning of life because I know a lot of people ask me about it but I don't really think there is an answer? Just like most things in life. It's just a confusing bundle of hate, joy, suffering, fun, pain, happiness and confusion so I don't blame people for not being able to get it together. Especially this boy.

Just then, I turned my back and walked away. For once I got to choose what will happen in my crazy life. I wanted to be at home where I could watch t.v. I then walked away as my eyes were Pierced by the setting sun. Life is a beautiful thing. I understood that if I left, this kid might die, but something in me allowed me to keep pacing forwards and not look back. I didn't think about a single thing on my walk home. I usually contemplate life, or think about solutions to my everyday stresses and struggles but today was just too much to give thought to. Or it's just that I don't have any thoughts and I don't want to think that I made a bad choice. I opened to my house to see my mom In worry because we've had no contact the whole day. She was practically dialing 911. I assured her that I was alive and then went to bed.

I woke up the next morning and I felt pretty great. Not gonna lie, I thought my bones would ache from the heaping stress that I endured the previous day. To my surprise, I was physically fine. I'm still not sure about my mental state though. I definitely made the right choice, I'm sure he's fine. I quickly hopped down the stairs and besides the normal thumping of the hollow stairs, I heard something else. I then rushed down the rest of the way down the stairs and swerved into the kitchen to investigate the problem. My Mom was crying. her face was buried in her hands and her tears were dripping down from them. my Mom was facing the T.V. With the channel 6, local news on. I glanced from my mom to the T.V. and when I glared at the tv, I froze. My body immediately went cold and my hand became numb. I almost cried too. I couldn't believe the horror that I was seeing. No...no...no! I couldn't form words. I found myself slurring random parts of sentences. I guess I was in some kind of disbelief because I had to stop and take a deep breath in to compose myself. I just looked down and thought, why should I even say words? No words can ever explain death.

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