Suicide no. 45: A Needed Obsession
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
Her azure gaze peered off into traffic at the intersection, so pristine alongside it’s frozen, slack-jawed expression. Thin and delicate eyebrows cringed against the golden sunset, ruby lips parted like a Venus fly trap, with warm and wet tongue. The sun ran rampant in its wake into nightfall, beaming from her olive-skinned face—reflecting its luminescence upon it, angel-like and harrowing every holy thought as I gazed upon what seemed like an endless sort of beauty.
Who would have thought a blue SUV could hold so much of it?
The moment passed. It was her. I know it was her, because I knew what she drove, and where she lived. Countless times over the last ten years, I thought I’d seen her, but I knew it wasn’t. I just wanted to see her in the faces of strangers.
I remember the last time I’d felt that same sense of awe. High school. The idea that I could recognize her after all this time…but who, feeling the depth of emotion at witnessing what may as well be a stranger, wouldn’t? The swelling tide of emotion that I’d met with at that fateful intersection only lasted for less than a moment.
Yet, I knew I’d remember that split second for the rest of my life.
We used to pass each other in the hallways. She’d smile. I’d wave. Childishly, I found myself sometimes wandering those halls, subconsciously marking the time and place that I’d seen her last. I grew obsessed: not with the girl, mind you. Aside from her apparent interest in the segments of terribly written poetry I’d published in the school’s newspaper, neither one of us truly knew who the other one even was.
That’s all my adolescent mind wanted, needed, to feel that sense of astonishment at the presence of another human being. The whole thing seemed stupid, looking back. Upon any sort of deep reflection, it was stupid, and so was I.
Upon reflection, though, it didn’t matter because I wasn’t chasing her or pursuing anything of that kind: I was only running toward that raw and fleeting sense of emotion that seeing her, somehow, made me grow awash with.
That last day, years ago, I remember her sitting on that old bench. The school was shut down years ago. Yet, in my mind, she was still frozen there, talking with her boyfriend at the time, who would later become her husband and father to her children.
High school sweethearts.
Graduating made me heartbroken—not because I’d never held hands with her, never kissed her, never got dumped by her. It was because I knew, no matter what, that I’d never feel that way again about myself.
Ten years had passed. As I drove past that intersection, I slowed down to see if she’d follow me. She did, but darkness descended so quickly that all I could see were streetlights reflecting off of her windshield—hiding her. She turned off the same exit I expected her to, and was gone, again, forever.
When I got home that evening, seeing her only reminded me of a lifetime of not seeing her again—a pain so great in itself that, hope finally lost, I said my goodbyes to everyone I knew—in my own way—because I knew what I had to do….