Goodbye, Michelle

A few years back, my ex-flatmate committed suicide. She was the first friend I made in Prague and a remarkable person. We used to go to play pool and get drunk on Jagermeister. Late at night, she’d come into my room, and we’d stand in the window smoking cigarettes and watch the TV tower change color. She didn’t like going to the shop on her own, so she’d nag me until I finally came with her. The reward was always a Twix or a can of coke. After we went to the cinema to see Pride and Prejudice, she fell head over heels in love with Mr. Darcy. I have no idea how many times we watched the pirated version we downloaded that same night on her laptop.

Her suicide hit me like a sledgehammer. She took poison that made her heart stop. As you do, I’ve speculated on why it happened. She was a medical student, and she’d fallen so far behind on her school work that the university wouldn’t grant her another extension. She was out. I guess that she was low on exits. She could go back home to Norway and work in 7eleven for the rest of her life while paying down her massive student loan or just give up. Only, that wasn’t it. I wish I would have been there to tell her that there were so many things she could have done. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. There’s always another exit, and things do work out, if not always for the best, something comes along.

Of course, she didn’t tell anyone. People who are truly suicidal never leave you with a warning. They just dive off a cliff in the middle of the night when nobody’s watching. Everyone fights their demons. Life is dark and full of downturns, but also, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Please talk to us. We’ll listen. And if we’re lucky, we can change your mind. Michelle never told me how gloomy her life had become, and I hate myself for never asking. While I don’t blame myself for her death, I’m left with a million questions. What went through the head of one of my dearest friends as she swallowed the poisonous brew? I’m still wondering. I will wonder for the rest of my life.

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