It happened when I was eleven.
I was just so tired.
My parents were still keeping my condition from me a secret. I knew that they just wanted to protect me, but it only made me more lonely. And guilty. Guilty for destroying their daily lifestyle and forcing them to take a life of endless part-time jobs.
“Taylor!” my brother Henry shouted. “Can you make dinner?”
“Okay,” I replied. Dinner was as much as I could do anyway.
Henry was now a sophomore in high school. His grades had become essential to his application to college, so we couldn’t play as many video games together anymore. I took most of the chores at home, hoping that it would save a few minutes of time for him to study or rest.
But other than that, I felt useless.
I had good grades. Straight A’s came naturally to me. They were an indication that I would likely have a bright future. But it wasn’t the same as it was for my brother. Unlike him, even if I had perfect grades, I wouldn’t have a future to use my knowledge. I wouldn’t have a time when those grades were necessary for a job, family, or lover.
So what was the point?
I was about done cooking dinner, so Henry and I gathered at the table and began to eat.
“How was school?” Henry asked, stuffing his mouth with rice.
“Fine,” I replied. “I had a test on the countries and capitals of Africa. It was pretty hard, but I’m confident. How about you?”
Henry began to describe the topics he was taught in chemistry, the class he was most passionate about. Usually, I would nod, listening to him, but today, everything he said stirred me with jealousy, a feeling that always overwhelmed me. I was just so envious of him and all of my classmates. Why couldn’t I be like him? Healthy.
To be honest, maybe that was why I had such good grades. I didn’t want to accept that I was going to die, and my grades were a sign that I would have a future, or at least a chance of a future. When I received straight A’s, at least my classmates would congratulate me, telling me that I would definitely have a successful life. What was the point if I wouldn’t pass the age of twenty?
“Taylor?” Henry asked. “You good?”
I slapped myself back into reality. “H-Huh?” I said. “What?”
Henry put down his food. “Listen, Taylor,” he said. “Is there something going on that I don’t know about? Or anything you’re worried about?”
“No, it’s nothing,” I replied, continuing to eat. “I’m just sleepy.”
Henry probably knew what I was thinking. It was quite obvious, actually. What else would I think about? But it was hard for me to express in words, so we tended to avoid the topic. I began to tell him about what I learned at school. I told him my passion for biology. But while I was talking, I just kept thinking about my life. My nonexistent future. My dream.
Henry and I finished up our homework and together brushed our teeth. Along the way, we had a dumb argument about how one should squeeze toothpaste, rolling from the bottom (to save money) or pressing from the top. Of course that argument ended quickly. Everything, big or small, usually went my way because my family pitied my limited life.
Sometimes, I wished that they would just argue with me.
It was quite boring when everything just went how I liked.
“Good night, Tay,” Henry said.
“Good night, Henry.”
I layed on my bed, staring at the dark ceiling. Tears slowly flooded my eyes, dripping down my cheeks to the pillow.
Why was I so useless?
Sharing the same room as my brother, I didn’t want to waken him with my loud crying, so I buried myself in my bedsheets.
I was so useless.
I got good grades, but had no future ahead of me. There was no point. Just no point. There would be no way I would actually go earn money and support my parents. All my life could do was eat money with hospital bills.
I’m the reason why Mom and Dad work endless hours.
I’m the reason why my family is struggling with debt.
I’m the reason why no one is happy.
Why couldn’t I just be useful in some way? At least Henry would be able to provide for Mom and Dad when he grew up to be an adult.
Would I ever become an adult?
What was the point of wondering about such things? Either way, I felt like a drain on the entire family.
It would be better off if I were dead.
If I died, Mom and Dad could come back home and have dinner with Henry, just like ordinary parents. A normal family. A family without debt. A family without the prison of debt. A happy family.
Henry deserved all of that.
Mom and Dad deserved all of that.
I never deserved any of that.
I should have never been born if I was going to burden everyone so much.
If I’m going to die anyway, why am I still living?
“Henry, are you still awake?”
Soft snores came from my brother’s side of the room. I smiled at the sound of it. It was a sign that he was alive and well. It comforted me. It made me less scared. Slowly, I stepped out of bed and stood in front of Henry’s bed. Tears began to fall down my cheeks again. The thought of never seeing my brother again was scary. He was the most important person to me. He was the only meaning I found in my life.
“I love you,” I whispered.
I stepped out of the room. Mom and Dad seemed to be asleep in their room. What time was it? I went into the kitchen and looked at the microwave’s clock. Four a.m. Wow, it was that late? I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t realize that it was this hour. I looked to the right, toward our knife cabinet.
I felt adrenaline rush through my body.
Breathing heavily, I opened it and grabbed a chef’s knife. Slowly, I allowed my finger to slide down the edge, watching my blood trickle down my arm. It stung, but somehow, it felt as though I was releasing all the pressure within me. I seemed to have lost myself at that moment. I just felt so lost. I drowned in the same thoughts as always.
I was so useless.
My death would be good for my family.
I thought about Henry. He only had about two more years before he went off the college. If I died, at least he would have two years of a proper childhood. Our parents would be at home. No one would have to worry about hospital bills. Life would be so much better for my family if I weren’t here to bring their lives down.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered to myself. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for living.”
Gradually, I turned the blade, facing it toward my stomach. I couldn’t do this anymore to my parents. I couldn’t do this to my brother anymore. It was too much. Everything was too much for me. I was too scared.
I want to die.
And with that, I slammed the blade into my stomach. I watched as a flower of blood soaked into my pajamas. I felt a stinging sensation. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt as much as I expected. I felt numb all over as my vision began to blur. I smiled softly. Maybe now my family would be better. Maybe now I wouldn’t burden them anymore. Everything would be okay.
It would be okay.
“TAYLOR!” I heard someone say from a distance.
Who was that? It sounded like Henry. Wasn’t he asleep? I was probably hallucinating from the lost of blood. I was losing strength in my legs. My vision went black.
I hope that Henry can live an ordinary childhood.