Monday, December 12, 2011

Heavy Stuff...

Today, I've been going back and forth between feeling completely optimistic about the future and feeling as though I'm going to throw up from anxiety. Right now, I'm leaning towards the latter of those two feelings. The level of nervousness I'm currently experiencing is probably totally unnecessary and logically I know this, but the future is a very unknown place and my move-out date will be here in a month. Somebody get me a barf bucket, please.

I'm also still heavily processing something scary that happened a couple of nights ago. I told myself I wasn't going to write about it because I don't want to dwell on it, but my mind keeps pressing the replay button on the mental video tapes. It's a lot heavier than the sort of stuff I normally blog about, but I think it's probably important to get it out of my head. So here it is...

I went to bed early on Saturday night and woke up to my phone ringing at two in the morning. By the time I was awake enough to look at my phone, I had a voicemail from The Fonz. I figured he was probably drunk dialing me or something, but when I listened to the message I was shocked by the urgency in his voice.

One of our friends was going to kill himself.

I heard voices in the hallway, so I threw on some sweatpants and poked my head out of my door to see what was up.

It was one of the two guys we lovingly refer to as "The Gnomes." We all knew he was having a rough time, but we just assumed he would get through it. But late that night, he posted a Facebook status that was obviously a suicide note and disappeared. He texted his roommate (The Other Gnome) to announce that he was not going to come back.

The Fonz had called because he needed to borrow my car. The Other Gnome had a wild hunch of where this guy might be and they were on a mission to go find him. They ended up borrowing someone else's car because I didn't answer the phone. But while they were out driving around, The Fonz called me again to tell me to look downstairs.

"Now we think he gave us a false lead and he's actually somewhere in the building," The Fonz said frantically into the phone. "Can you go check the weird bathroom in the basement and see if he's in there?"

I called The Poet and told him to check downstairs. I was not about to go creeping around the basement of this spooky building in search of my friend who might very possibly be dead. So The Poet went on a mission to check every hidden corner of the building and I had nothing to do but pace back and forth in my room.

I held my phone in my hand and waited for news. I checked my friend's Facebook page, read his suicide note, and swore silently to myself. It seemed hopeless. He had made up his mind and now he was dead somewhere. My friend was dead.

The minutes seemed to last forever as I waited for the phone to ring. I had to do something, so I made a sandwich. I wasn't even hungry, but I needed to do something with my hands. So I sliced up some cheese and prepared my brain for the inevitable bad news. My friend was dead. I ran a mental slideshow of memories through my brain...

The night in the kitchen when I met Gnome for the first time...

The time we sat cross-legged in the hallway together and ate pizza during and art opening...

The ironic Mary and Jesus shirt he wore all of the time just to be weird...

The night he drunkenly stole the fire hose sign from outside my door and yelled "We're all going to a hand basket, bitch..."

The way he always won at pool by hiding his opponent's balls in the pocket of his sweatshirt and tossing them in the holes when no one was looking...

The times he made me laugh so hard I nearly cried...

The constant piano playing...

The suit he wore specifically for my birthday party...

The time we had a jam session in the courtyard and it was a disaster because he can't really play guitar and I can't really play accordion...

The spiked iced tea he made for everyone, which turned out to just be straight vodka that was flavored to taste like iced tea...

The night he told me that I had the power of rock and roll...

I mechanically placed some deli meat on my sandwich and looked at my phone again. Nothing. I was frustrated that there wasn't anything I could do to help. And I was horrified at the fact that one of the most talented, funny, and brilliant people I know was miserable enough to kill himself.

I then realized that I never told him how talented, funny, and brilliant he was. This was equally horrifying.

There was a knock on the door. It was The Poet checking to see if I had heard anything new. He had found nothing in the basement. I reported that I didn't know anything and offered him half of my sandwich. So we sat on my floor and nervously ate sandwiches, waiting for news.

Suddenly, there were loud voices in the hallway. People running and yelling "HE'S HERE!" The Poet went out to catch the action but I stayed in my room. I didn't want to find my friend's dead body. I just don't know how to deal with that.

Fortunately, he was alive.

He was in the bathtub room, lying in a sleeping bag inside the bathtub. He had a backpack with him. Someone grabbed it and found three knives inside. They called the police.

The good news is that he made it to the hospital. And he's still alive. I am so thankful that he chose NOT to do it.

But I still found the whole thing unsettling. And the next night, when I found myself at a bowling alley with my gay best friend from high school and a bunch of people I didn't know, I discovered that being normal took a conscious effort. Like, "I'm just going to smile and not act like I was up all night thinking my friend/neighbor was dead."

No one likes to talk about death, especially suicide. But I'm here to say that people probably should talk about it...

Really I wish I could just write one song that would make people stop wanting to kill themselves.


  1. Wow, I'm sorry Lauren. Sounds like life in the commune is changing, not just for yourself but for a lot of people.

    Hopefully your friend gets the help he needs.

  2. That sounds horribly scary for everyone. I'm glad he's ok and I hope he gets the help he needs.

  3. aw that does sound bad :-( yes i hope things work out gr8 in the end

  4. I've been in your shoes before, and it's always a terrifying experience. I really hope that your friend gets the help he needs and that you don't have to go through that again.

  5. That's really scary. Sometimes you just need to write stuff down to keep it from being trapped in your head where you keep dwelling on it forever. I hope you told him how funny, talented, and brilliant he is now. I am convinced that you will someday write a song that will make at least one person realize that life is worth living. You can't save the whole world by yourself, but you can make a difference.

    I'm really glad your friend was found alive.

  6. How terrifying, but thank God he's okay.

    And I am glad you have the opportunity to tell him all the things you want him to hear.

  7. I'm actually crying at work as I read this... I know what it's like when you're wondering if someone is dead or alive... and I've been on the other end of that too -- the one just waiting to die.

    I can tell you this -- I guarantee you that finding out how many of you were worried for him had a large and positive impact. The only reason people give up is because they think they are alone and they think that if they disappeared it would either make things better or no-one would notice. Finding out people cared, noticed and were worried saved my life.

    Don't be surprised if that saved his too.



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