• I sat there, feeling as if the world had finally caught up with me.

    My very soul felt dirty, though I had committed no crime against my country only against myself. I looked down at my own hands, wondering what kind of sick monster I had become.

    I stared at my scrawny legs, remembering when I used to starve myself just to be that thin, every-guy-wants-to-date girl. Even then I had done treason to my own self.

    My job was not an honest one, nor was it satisfactory in any way. But I had always loved to succeed and it was the one thing I could succeed at.

    I sat in a dark alleyway, not caring if a midnight mugger or a wayward thief decided I owned something of value. I was hunched over on a rotting crate in the back of the night club where I worked every evening. In my hand was a cheap cigarette with a small wisp of smoke wafting from the end, I threw it on the ground, knowing it or any drink couldn’t ease my pain this time.

    I stood up, staggering slightly, and walked out of the alleyway and into the dim street. Scattered lamp posts were the only things that lit my path though I didn’t know where I was going.

    I walked a few blocks, cold in the Maryland winter, wearing nothing but tight leather shorts and a black chain top with high heel vintage boots. My long blond hair was fanned out behind me like the flat clouds before a rain storm, swaying in the unforgiving breeze. As I walked men of every kind threw a hand out to touch my back or a whistle that echoed through the lonely street. I ignored them and kept to the shadows. One man, stumbling out of a bar with an empty beer bottle in his massive hand, walked in front of me and blocked my path and attempted to slip a hand around my waist. I shoved him away and walked on, a clear image of the wedding ring that had been on his finger sharp in my mind.

    Eventually as the sun began to peak from above puffy grey clouds no one but I was left on the street. As I walked the heel of my boot broke in a ragged crack as I slunk down the road. I threw off my boots and just kept on walking, barefoot, until I reached a harbor with many boats lined up in the water. I wasn’t sure why destiny had chosen to take me this way but my mind was so numb to me it mattered not. I stepped back a few paces and leaped onto the nearest boat.

    The particular vessel I had jumped onto by chance was no different than the others around it. It had a shabby wooden deck with a small cabin and a battered white sail that looked as if it had shared its fill of battles with the open sea.

    I sauntered over to the door of the cabin, testing the handle and finding it locked as expected. I looked through the grimy glass part of it at the top but couldn’t see through the filth so I pulled a bobby pin out of my frazzled hair and shoved it into the lock. Within seconds the cheap mechanism clicked open and I walked inside and closed the door behind me.

    Once within, I searched for what I knew every smart ship captain always had on there boat: a gun. I found it wrapped up in a worn towel underneath the wheel located at the front of the ship.

    It was an old rifle with a wooden grip and a polished gun barrel. It was obviously aged but seemed as if its owner had never had any use for it. It was fully loaded.

    With the gun in my hand, I stepped out of the cabin, off the ship, and onto the pier. I walked up to the very edge and looked down into the 40 foot deep water. I saw nothing but a small shimmer of the rising sun. The murky water didn’t stir as I placed only the back halves of my heels on the edge, ready to jump. I put the barrel of the gun up to my right side, my finger jerkily trying not to pull away from the trigger.

    I looked up and closed my eyes. Then I fired.

    The severe pain caused me to lose my balance as I had planned and I toppled into the water. I began to thrash, the water turning to a bright crimson and the mixture filling my mouth. Convulsions raked my entire body as my mouth foamed, my eyes stung, and my side pulsed out pints of blood. I began to sink and become very cold when all went black.

    After it went dark I thought for sure I was dead. I was sitting in a crooked oak chair in a small cozy kitchen during midday. I knew that I wasn’t really there and I wondered if this was the afterlife. But then a tall, chunky woman bustled into the kitchen. I didn’t know whether she could see me or not so I kept very still.

    There was something familiar about this woman.

    Her hair was thrown hastily into an untidy bun and she wore a plain patterned dress. She was sort of masculine and seemed very independent with a natural sense of humor, immediately I knew who she was.

    She was the hero of my childhood, my blood and only family, she was my mother.

    I became queasily confused, and almost certain this was the afterlife because my mother had died many years before. I was about to stand up when, following the woman, a little girl with long blond hair and a skinny frame skipped into the room. It was me.

    From all the books I had read as a child I knew this was a flashback, yet I couldn’t remember this particular day. I looked at the past me and saw how happy I was with my radiant smile and golden pig-tails. I couldn’t remember ever looking so full of glee. Then I realized why I was having this flashback, for in all the books there was always a reason. I started toward the other me, wanting to pick her up and absorb her happiness to take with me but the room spun, went black, then flickered back to life.

    My eyelids opened to find myself no longer in the flashback or floundering in the bay but on a cold stainless steel table with people hurrying and yelling around me. I tried to sit up but someone pushed me back down so I contented myself with listening.

    “Give me 2 CC’s of Amoxiphene, stat!”

    “Heart rate stable, blood pressure rising dangerously, blood lose currently at 4 pints.”

    “What was her current situation when found?”

    “Thrashing in the water, gun shot wound to the right side, severe damage to the liver from the bullet, half pint of water in lungs, and suffering from nearly fatal hypothermia, sir”

    “And what is her status now?”

    “We’re prepping her for surgery now to remove the bullet and a liver transplant is on the way. Also trying to stop the blood loss and get her a transfusion. I am now going to get the water out of her lungs and the Amoxiphene should lower her blood pressure. And another shot of Hydromozicilin should eliminate the hypothermia, sir”

    “What are her chances?”


    I closed my eyes as I felt a needle dig into my neck; the room began to spin and I felt my racing heart slow till it was barely beating. I assumed this was the Amoxiphene. Then I felt another syringe plunge into my thigh; I realized I wore no clothes. I decided that I would try to speak and tell them that I needed to live, needed to fix this. As I was about to talk a tube was shoved down my throat making me gurgle and choke.

    “I think she’s awake. Someone get a sedative in here, she may go into cardiac arrest from the stress and hypothermia.”

    I thought to myself, saying that just makes me more stressed.

    The tube was descending into my lungs and I could feel the water that was constricting my breathing being pumped slowly out. Then the tube was yanked out and replaced by a breathing tube which was also forced into my airway. Cold, crisp air was moved in by a machine, forcing my lungs to breathe involuntarily.

    For the first time I realized that I could feel gauze being pressed against my side to stop the bleeding. I could feel the warm hot blood pulsing from it and I hoped it would stop soon for my head was spinning violently, threatening to knock me unconscious. Then I felt a weird feeling on my stomach and chest. It felt like a marker drawing lines in specific pinpoints all around my wound. Then I remembered that they were planning on replacing my liver and I panicked. They couldn’t cut me open! I could die!

    My head spun more violently and I felt my body begin to shake. The pristine air that had been forcing me to breathe was futile as I felt myself go into cardiac arrest. My legs were no longer in my control and my chest heaved upwards trying to find air. My head lolled on my shoulders and the air tube was pulled out of my throat as I clung to what might be my last breath.

    “Where is that sedative? She’s going into cardiac arrest! Get the paddles and start with 10,000 volts”

    I felt cold metal press against my chest and severe pain ripple through my body like a current, then all was dark and I thought for sure now I was a goner.

    I was suppressed in this darkness, not able to feel any attachment to my body. I begin to think that this was death: nothingness. I waited for lifetimes for any sign of whether I was dead or alive then after waiting for an eternity I found it.

    At first it was just a small sensation of a little bit of feeling but soon it grew into my body and the link I had coveted. I blinked my eyes open and felt immediate, gut-wrenching pain. I turned over on my side as I returned to the world and howled, causing even more ache. I saw several people rush in and roll me back onto my back and several straps were placed over my body to hold me into place. I looked around and saw myself in a hospital room, the sun shining through the window and flowers on the bedside table. I looked into the face of a nurse standing above me, waiting for her to speak, for even breathing was terribly painful.

    “Ma’am, I am Jessica. You are at a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. You were in Maryland when you tried to commit suicide by shooting yourself in the side then jumping in the water. You lost a lot of blood and almost died but the skilled doctors there stopped the bleeding, and got the water out of your lungs. You then went into cardiac arrest and your heart stopped. But you were brought back and then they flew you in a plane here to have a liver transplant and we then put you in a medical induced coma. Your odds were very slim, miss. And you’re lucky to be alive.”

    She didn’t have to say it for me to know I was lucky. I spent months recovering in that hospital then flew back home to Maryland. I never even looked at that club again and I saved up my money, after paying all my medical bills, to go back to school and get a teaching degree in kindergarten schooling and became a teacher in California. I regret the day I ever tried to kill myself and for once in my life I am glad I didn’t succeed.