Break The Ice
January 2014. I was sitting in my room, listening to music and browsing Facebook. “Something in The Way” By Nirvana started to play over the speakers. What I saw on my feed looked as if we were in civil war or trying to incite a real one. People so lost in their pride that they can’t find common ground with their own nation.
Then I saw a post from a girl I had a crush on for the past 13 years. I never said anything to her back in high school, because in my head, if you were nice to me, you were just being polite. If one person was against me and you weren’t already a friend, so was everyone else. I remember the warm rush I got in the back of my head, the moment I saw her. It was as if I was drunk, just by the sight! Then I found her on Facebook right before she moved away.
I sat there staring at her post, knowing she was busy, knowing she wasn’t available. I was wishing I was rich enough to buy a house and be closer, wishing I was physically stronger, wanting to tell her that no matter what I’d find a way to protect her no matter what I had to use or do, but she was taken… I wanted to send her a text and just say ‘hello!’ but usually I’d get no reply, so I did not want to bother her. That’s why I’d rarely message anyone on my friends list, because I didn’t want to be more annoying than I already was.
I thought about all my friends who moved away. I mainly talked to people online, because no one else really responded to my invites like they did. I became used to being on my own, so much that when someone came over, if they stayed later than I expected them too, I started to feel uncomfortable. Occasionally, I’d accept an invitation to go hang out, but most of the time, I wasn’t feeling well or didn’t feel right. I was divided, part of me felt like a loser and part of me was comfortable with the way things were.
Moments later, I messaged a terminally ill friend of mine. When I was feeling down, he always knew how to cheer me up. I also tried my best to make him laugh as well. It was a great support system. “Hey man, how you feelin’?” I asked. “Meh…” He replied. “I hear ya..” I said. “At least you aren’t being slapped in the face constantly with a dirty dildo!” I joked. “Uhhh… What????” He said in response. “Unless you’d want that?” “Ewww. No! LOL” He exclaimed. I was determined to make him smile or laugh just once that day, just to make him feel laughter for a second to combat everything else he was feeling throughout that week.
Later that night, a friend who played guitar came over. We played some cover songs for a couple hours and even made up some songs of our own. We goofed around, drank a little whiskey and called it a night. I didn’t hear from him the rest of that month.
A week later, I messaged my friend who’s been ill. “Man, I really gotta pee.” I opened the conversation with. I waited a half hour and noticed I didn’t get any response. I sent his phone a text and waited, but didn’t get a reply then either. Later that night, I called his phone but it went to voicemail. “Hey man, just callin’ to see how you’re doing. Give me a call back when you get the chance..” I said, as I hung up. An hour later, I see someone post on his Facebook page that he died. Chills ran down my spine, my eyes started to tear up. My support system was destroyed, in the blink of an eye. I was frustrated that I didn’t get to say goodbye, frustrated that I couldn’t do anything to help. I broke down and cried. I didn’t want him to go. Why did it have to be the one person that I felt I could be open with, who always knew how to cheer me up?!
The next month, I was browsing on Facebook, droning out to music on my playlist. “Caress Me Down” by Sublime started playing and I decided to go and check my guitarist friend’s Facebook. Then I kept seeing these posts on his wall saying “RIP” I scrolled down and found a post talking about how my friend had passed away of ‘unknown causes’ but he ‘suffered from depression.’ I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. I wanted to know about funeral arrangements or anything but nobody got back to me for weeks. He was cremated.
I remembered all the times we used to drink and play XBOX at his house. How we used to act goofy at the Taco Bell Drive thru window to make people think we were nuts. All the jam sessions we had. After that, I just laid around listening to mellow music. Feeling really sad that everyone I felt close to kept drifting farther away. I thought of music and thought of the bands I used to be in and how they all hated my vocals. I remembered the jobs I had on and off between them and how I felt like I couldn’t be who they wanted me to be. I felt trapped inside myself. I felt like everyone was moving and I was frozen in time.
I decided I needed to talk, so I sent my ‘beautiful friend’ a message. “Hey, was hoping we could talk, can you call me or message me back when you get this?” I waited patiently, browsing Facebook and continuing to listen to music. I remembered the Skype sessions we had, the sound of her voice, just the overall feeling of being in her presence and the warmth that came with it. Hours later, I decided she wasn’t going to respond, so I gave up and went to bed.
The next day, I woke up and went downstairs to eat. I couldn’t tell you anything that happened that day because I just basically did basic daily tasks without thinking. I didn’t feel like listening to happy music that day so I turned on my dark side playlist. Later that night, I saw somebody post a goofy photo of a man in a jeep driving his truck across a lake that was frozen in ice. Needless to say, the front of the jeep fell through the ice. Then it hit me, “That’s it!” I said. The lake down the road a ways from my house. When 4am hit, I left the house and walked into the street. The air was freezing, but I didn’t care, I felt that any discomfort beyond this point was acceptable. There was ice on the ground, but even though I have a fear of slipping on ice, all my fears went out the window.
The lake was fenced in for security purposes, I hopped the fence and snuck around to the docks, and then I slowly scooted down further and further, past the shallow end. Once I reached a spot that I felt would work, I took a knife out of my pocket and stabbed at the ice until I carved a hole that was big enough to slip me in. I took my jacket off slowly, then took off my sweater. My body felt the pressure of the air around me, squeezing tight. Then I slipped my shoes off and took off my socks. Finally, I tossed off my jeans and boxers until my whole body felt the pressure of the cold air, it was -2 outside. The cold felt almost unbearable, but so did the weight inside my mind. I sat for a minute. This is it.. I thought. I started to break down again. God, if you’re out there, give me a sign.. I waited a couple minutes and nothing happened.
Then just when I was going to slide in, my phone buzzed.. I picked it up to check it real quick, my hands shaking. The girl I wanted to hear from sent me a text. “Hey, sorry I’m just getting back to you, my phone sucks.. I can only text right now because my connection with Facebook doesn’t always work..” At that moment, all the warmth I felt came back to me. I still felt trapped, but for that moment, I remembered her face and her voice. For that moment, I found joy and strength. Slipped my ice cold clothes back on and then I stood up without thinking. Just as I was about to reply to her text, my hands were cold and shaking. I accidentally dropped my phone and it slid into the hole I created.