by Jordan Wellnitz

The blade slides smoothly over the delicate skin of my stomach, wrists, and arms. The pain caused is invigorating, making me feel alive. Disappointment quickly follows the momentary high, however, for my crimson life does not appear.

"You can't even do this properly," I 'tsk' at myself. I examine the substandard wounds with dismay. "Not a sharp enough blade," is my professional diagnosis. "It seems as though I can't even succeed at dying." I tell myself that I will sharpen the disappointing tool and try again the next night. Popping a pill to induce sleep, I turn to my side to enjoy this chemically-induced respite from consciousness, silently wishing not to wake in the morning.

Unfortunately, I am awoken by the terrible light that reminds me that I am alive. Knowing fully that it is foolish, I check my phone to see if I had crossed anyone's mind while I slept. The hope dies as quickly as it is born. I begin my routine of bathing and preparing my outer mask. Disdainfully, I glance at the previous night's failed attempt.

You may ask why I wholeheartedly wish to end my life. Simply because I wish to rid the world of the disappointment and failure that is my life. I wish to not only end my suffering, but the suffering of those who must continuously burden themselves with me. I no longer want to feel unwanted, unloved, unnecessary, and worthless. At least in death my scarred body may be useful in saving another's life.

I no longer wish to cause those that I love pain, for that is all I have managed to accomplish in the past nineteen years of my existence. I no longer want to feel like a failure. No more do I want to look in a mirror and know that my best was not good enough to save the love that I held so dear. No more do I want to waste precious resources to keep this body alive, when my spirit has already crumbled to dust.

But, having failed the night prior, I must continue the charade. Painting my face with a smile, so as to hide the cold, expressionlessness on the inside, I play my part. I perform my role well, never letting on to my true intentions. Yes, a superb actor, indeed. As the night begins to fall, I seclude myself with the pretense of sleep, so I may sharpen my worthless tool. Tonight, I manage to draw blood, to create yet another scar, but it is still not enough.

I think to myself, "I cannot put that mask on again. I cannot suffer this any longer." I reach for the bottle of sleeping pills located next to the bed. Taking a large handful, I swallow them down, three at a time, with some cold water. Quickly, before they take affect, I try calling the one who I love, hoping to tell him one last time, but he does not answer. I send him one simple message, "I love you. Goodbye," before laying my head down to rest, hopefully, for eternity.

A light blinds me, and I question whether the light is that of heaven, but I realize how foolish that is. I slowly slide my lids open, expecting to see the flames of hell licking at my damaged body, but instead see many worried faces. "What happened?" I ask groggily, feeling a wretched pain in my stomach and remembering suddenly. I'm informed that my stomach has been pumped. Those who surround me engulf me in warm, loving hugs, whispering things like "I'm so glad you're alright", "don't ever do that again", and "we were so worried".

At that moment, I realized something: at some moments in life, it is better to fail.

I only wish that had been the way my story ended, but it was not. My ending included thousands of sorrowful tears being shed by people dressed in black. I was forced to watch, for that is the punishment for what I "accomplished", as all of those people that I had claimed to love blamed themselves for what I had done. So badly I wanted to reach out and tell them that they were not at fault; that I was the blind one. How could I not see how much I had truly meant to them?

I write this from beyond the grave, neither in heaven nor hell, for that is also a part of my punishment. I must remain here, in the world of the living, as a specter with no communication with those who I had once held dear. I write this to you to beg you not to make the same mistakes as I did. Do not blind yourself of the love given to you, do not seek out death. Death will come, that is certain, but it shant come until you are old and gray.

Through my centuries as a specter, I have realized that most everybody, at some point in their life, has felt unloved, unnecessary, or worthless. So many innocent souls have been lost to these feelings when all they needed to do was open their eyes! I do not wish to see yours lost, too, because of this temporary pain you feel. I do not wish you the same fate as I have suffered.

So, please, open your eyes. Things may seem hopeless now, but you must remember: There can be no rainbow without rain.

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