I still don't know how to process this.

I'm angry. I'm sad. I'm lonely. I'm frustrated. I'm pissed, I'm mourning, I don't know what to feel but it's all too much at once and it's all negative, because really, what positive is there to garner from this?

I'm still not sure how I should react to this.

It's been a few days. Four. Four days.

Oh, just… fuck you. I hate you. I can't wrap my mind around it. I just can't understand.

So here I am, right outside your door, because it's still your door. I don't care if you're dead, things can still be yours, right? You still own the door as far as I'm concerned. The door and everything that's behind it, because it was all yours. You bought it with your own money and your own earnings. That is, unless, of course, you stole it, and who am I to say if you did or didn't? I mean, I wouldn't know.

I'm sorry. Like I said, I'm just frustrated. I'm sure you understand. Or, well, you would. If you knew that I was frustrated.

But no. No, now I'm—I'm not even sure what, exactly, it is, that I'm doing. I'm about to commit breaking and entering, but it doesn't really seem like it's worth it. Never in my life did I imagine I'd pick up that sort of skill, if it's right to even call it that, but here I am. And to think, if I'd never learned how to do this, I probably never would have met you, either.

I'm not really sure what I prefer at this point. At least I have a job, a pretty decent one, that came along with meeting you. And I had a friendship. I don't think it was much of one quite yet, but it was there. It was real. It was growing, it would have continued growing, I'm sure of it. How could it have not.

So… why?

I step inside, I shut the door behind me. I stand at the entrance, unsure. I've never been here before. I feel like I shouldn't be, now. It feels like an intrusion. Then again, you gave up your right to privacy when you decided that wedging a lead object into your brains would be good for you, didn't you? So what do I care? At the same time, you sealed yourself off and did a pretty good job of ensuring your privacy just by doing that. Thanks. Thanks for that one.

Still, I can't really compel myself to move. It's dark out. I didn't tell anyone where I was going. People have been kind enough to give me my space these past few days though, once the initial shock started to wear off, and I have to say, I'm thankful for that. I didn't really expect them to do that. It's a pleasant surprise, but at the same time it isn't, because I'm not sure just how much I want to be left alone with myself.

I'm not going to do anything stupid. I did that once before. You knew that I had, so why, in god's name, didn't you come to me? Talk to me? Give me some kind of sign? I would have picked up on it. I'm sure of it. I mean… I should have some sort of idea, right?

I really am a little surprised I'm being left to myself, that I'm being given time to my own. I feel like I should just—I don't know, really. I don't. This last action of yours has left me feeling blank, empty, entirely confused. It isn't the first time I've felt like this and that fact alone makes me think that you felt like that before, too. Approximately four days earlier.

Why didn't you come to me.

It doesn't make any sense and I can't wrap my mind around it and I'm sure I never will be able to. I'm not so much bothered by that as by the fact that you actually did go ahead and do it, that you succeeded where I failed, and that you never made any indication of this. That's what's tearing me up.

I'm sure we were friends. I'm sure that you thought we were. We were co-workers and we were also friends. You said that we were. Didn't you? I can't remember. I can't remember and you aren't here to reaffirm that and it pisses me off and if you did think we were friends then once again, fuck you for this.

I can't really express myself. I'm having a hard enough time having this shit going through my head. I can't even make my own thoughts all that articulate. I just… don't know where to go with all of this. I don't know what to think. I've never really been on this end before, but it's more miserable than the other one.

Or, well, I'd have to imagine. Because you're dead. I guess if you succeed and go that quickly, with such a slim, slim, practically non-existent chance of surviving, you aren't going to feel all that much misery. At the final moment you probably just felt relieved or something; I mean, if I can place myself in your shoes. Had you lived you would have felt more miserable, because then you'd actually have to see and deal with all the fucking misery you single-handedly created, and by the way, I just can't thank you enough for that.

… Once again. I'm sorry.

I don't know why I'm apologizing to you. You should be apologizing to me. To everyone.

Well, at least you have a good excuse for not doing that. Probably the best excuse there is.

I'm not taking any time off of work. I'm not stopping to grieve, or mourn, or anything. I'd honestly like to avoid that whole part if I could. I know I can't and I've had a few moments where I've slipped, and I know I'll have more, but still, I'll do my damndest to avoid it and stay away from it as much as I can.

Except for now, apparently, because otherwise, well, I can't explain what I'm doing here, standing in your doorway in the dark without anyone else being here. And if you were here, you'd probably find this weird and awkward as all hell.

I mean, I can only assume. That's how a normal person would probably feel, but then again, normal people don't really go and kill themselves, do they? No, you're supposed to keep on living, fighting, and pushing through, because whatever place you're in, it will get better. And a good way to ensure that it will is to go out, to talk to people, to talk to professionals, to talk to friends. Maybe even someone who will understand what you're going through, because they've been there, themselves. Someone you can personally relate to, and someone who will take you seriously and not scoff at whatever reason you may have, because none of it deserves to be scoffed at. You just go out and extend yourself out and talk.

You always threw yourself out there. Why didn't you do it the one time it really, really, really counted?

No – I'm still going to work. I have to keep my job, after all. I need to keep on making money. I can't just stop and let myself fall apart for a few days. If I do that, it'll be more than just a few days. I can't really give myself time to dwell on it, I just… don't want to. It's been a few days. I'm still in shock. I'm in your apartment. It's the middle of the night. Why aren't you here, too?

You should be.

I know it's all your fault. I know it's your fault that you're dead. It isn't my fault. It isn't anybody else's fault. But still, I can know all this, and I still feel guilty. That maybe part of it really is my fault.

Except I'm not the one who forced you to raise a gun to your head and shoot and not miss. Nobody but yourself made you do that. If it was an external factor, then it's still your fault. Horrible things happen to people all the time and they don't kill themselves for it. You, on the other hand, did. Worse things happen to other people and they suffer so much more and still they don't kill themselves. So what gave you the right to take your own life? This isn't my fault.

I still feel some guilt, though.

I hate myself for that, but not quite as much as I hate you.

Sorry.

Out of all of the stupid fucking things you've done in your life, this one really ranks up there as, without a doubt, the stupidest. What in god's name were you thinking? Are you pleased with yourself? Are you satisfied? Happy? Was it worth it?

I don't care if you thought it was worth it at the time. If you were satisfied with your decision at the time. Whatever. It wasn't. You weren't. Now you're nothing.

There was absolutely no reason for you to do this. This was such a pointless death. Nothing, there couldn't have been anything going on that was worth it. Even outside of work, I just, I doubt it. You showed no signs of anything wearing you down. You were your usual, happy, upbeat self. This was meaningless. You just did it because you could, is what it feels like. And that's just… not right. I know that you liked games, but this just wasn't one of them.

You selfish bastard, this just isn't what you do. No matter what the situation. You just don't.

Did you stop? Did you stop to think about what it was you were doing? Did you stop and think and realize that ending your life would mean that that would be it, forever? It isn't a new experience, it isn't a fun, explosive experience, it's just the end. Period. No going back. And with a gun – you know how final that is, too, don't you? You know that there isn't really any going back from that, right? That that was just it. Didn't you fucking know that?

And let's just try stepping beyond that for a moment. Just a moment. That would be a longer period of time than you have it any consideration for. Did you once stop and think to yourself, consider the fact that this is going to hurt other people, too? Did you realize that? Are you capable of comprehending such a fact? Were you? That by ending your life, you were effectively not only snuffing out everything you could become, but beyond that, all of the relationships you could have formed? You did form? Were in the process of forming? Were you unaware that this would actually have an effect on people outside of yourself? It doesn't just end with you, you know. It never does. It's only the beginning, and there is no real end, and it goes on and on for years. And sure. True. It dilutes itself after a while. Time mixes in and it lessens the intensity. But it never goes away, no matter how much time it is. The impact of your action lessens, but it never quite reaches zero percent, ever.

Did you ever think about that? That you would hurt people? Not just me, even. Far be it from me to claim to be the only one affected. There's the people who found you. Colleagues. Did you think about how anyone would find you, how they would react to that? They thought they knew you. Turns out that one image was all it took to prove that they didn't.

It isn't pleasant to be the first one on scene to a suicide, success or attempt. I can only imagine this. I hope I never have to be put in that position, myself.

How did you think anyone else would react? Your other friends? You had to have them. Lots of them. That's the kind of person you were. You didn't think they, at least, deserved an explanation? People you were truly close to? Or what about your fucking parents? They actually outright and specifically chose you, gave up a lot for you, and that's how you repay them? By being the son who killed himself? You don't think that they, of all people, deserved to know why? Did you ever even think about them?

Obviously you didn't.

You didn't think about anyone but yourself.

For all I know, you weren't thinking at all. For whatever reason, I think I'd rather believe that. That this was some kind of twisted accident. That this was done without any real, serious, thought-out intent.

I know that's not the case but still, I'd rather not accept the truth.

Oh, god.

I stop and take a breath and try to steady myself because I notice that my arm is shaking a little, and my hands have curled into fists, and I'm frustrated and angry. I'm trying to tell you off, here, but you won't respond because you can't respond, and if you could respond, then I wouldn't have as much reason to tell you off. Don't get me wrong. I'd still tell you off. But I wouldn't be quite as negative about it.

At least I'd be able to feel some relief and see some hope.

But I can't.

Because you're gone. You succeeded.

You're nothing.

I step forward. You're nothing, now. I step forward again. You're gone. Again. You don't care. Two steps. You can't care. Five steps. Did you ever actually care?

I step out and see the entrance to the room where you ended your life. I avoid looking at the floor. If there's any blood still there, I just don't want to see it. I know you're gone but seeing it, and actually acknowledging it, would just make it even more real than it already is. And while it's already pretty real, it doesn't need to be even more real. I would still rather cling to this tiny bit of denial. I'd rather keep it there as long as I can, forever if I have to. Hadley had choked on her description of the scene she saw when she saw it. When she found it. You. Your cold, lifeless body. She choked and stopped and wiped tears from her eyes and then just stopped. I can only be thankful that I never saw it. That I was off, doing my job.

Why in fuck was I doing my job.

In retrospect it all seems so—so. It just doesn't seem like—I mean. I don't know. I don't know what I would have done. I don't even know what I would have done had you told me. I mean, I know the general action I would have done. I would have tried to stop you. Talk you out of it. Put you under a suicide watch of my own. But I don't quite know the actual words I would have said. They would have come to me if you'd given me the chance, I'm sure. What I really don't know is what I would have done if I had been sent to retrieve you, despite whatever excuses I was making to cover for you. I thought I owed you, and that that's what friends should do, sometimes you just screwed up and ran late… I don't know what I would have done if it had been me to see your lifeless body. Your cold body. Your empty body. I don't want to think about it. I can't come up with a solution. There's nothing there. I don't want to approach the topic. So why am I still on it?

I don't want to be here, but I came here of my own free will. I chose to come here and I don't know why and I could leave at any time but I won't and I still don't know why. I just have to—I don't know. I just need to be here. To try to—I'm not going to understand. I went through the same damn thing and still, I'm not going to understand. It just doesn't make sense. I want to make sense of it. I want it to have never happened.

I walk out. Forwards. Just walking. I have no reason to run, there's no rush, there's no hurry, there's nothing waiting for me there. I can take all the time in the world if I so choose. There's no urgency, no faint glimmer of hope, nothing at all. Still, my pace is fast enough.

I walk out and reach the doorway and avoid looking down at the floor but I sit on your bed which must have been the place where you took your last breath. I take a breath of my own. I shiver. But I feel nothing.

Of course you aren't here. You ripped yourself out of this world. There isn't anything to really indicate that you, you were here. I shouldn't be feeling anything here.

Why did you do it?

Why didn't you open up? You opened up about just about anything else. Why nothing big? Why the little, trivial stuff? Sure, it's the little things that make up life, and you seemed to embrace the little things, so why kill yourself? The little things are important and you acknowledged this and understood this and cherished them and you just seemed to enjoy yourself so much.

How could someone like you want to end it all? Why didn't you come to me? You pestered me endlessly. When we had that suicidal pain case, you wanted to know why I was taking it so personally. You asked me about it. Tried to figure out who it was. There's no doubt in my mind that you knew it was me, no matter how much I denied it. Don't tell me this is my fault. Don't tell me that the fact that I denied it, felt shame at it, tried to hide it away inside… Don't tell me that that gave you the impression that that was the right thing to do in your case, or in any case, because it wasn't and it isn't. If I had known your intentions… Yes, it was months before you did the deed, but still, the decision to do something like that, so strong an action, it isn't something that only pops up within a few months' time. No. Not with you. Not the way you had to have learned to hide yourself.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. If I led you to believe that not telling anyone and that keeping it all bottled up and hidden to and inside yourself was the right thing to do, then I'm so sorry. But you should have known. You should have known that it wasn't the right thing to do. I was just being defensive, and you can see that, can't you? You could see that, couldn't you?

You should have just come to me.

You should have tried to talk to me.

I. I would have listened. I would have understood. I would have helped you.

You knew that, didn't you? You understood that, didn't you? That you didn't have to be alone in this? That you had so many other options?

I did all but outright tell you and you still didn't think you could come to me? Did you ever think about going to anyone? Anyone at all? I know you didn't think about me.

But we were friends, weren't we? You still knew, didn't you? You didn't think I'd be open to that?

Or did you think you shouldn't burden me with that (no, because this is so much better), that it would be better for me if you left me alone and went and figured it out for yourself?

Or did you consider me at all?

I don't know.

I do wonder, though, what if the positions were reversed? How would you react to this, then? If you acted like everyone expected you to, if you acted like how everyone knew you. And you didn't kill yourself. And you were happy. If you had acted like that, like yourself, and something had caused me to relapse and shoot myself or slit my wrists or overdose or suffocate or hang myself or whatever else I could have done? Whatever else it was that I could repeat? You knew that I'd been suicidal once before in my life. That the possibility was still there. That I had it in me. And you knew. Would you, then, feel guilty? Guilty that in retrospect, there was some evidence, and yet, you had done nothing to stop it? Because that's what I feel now. I still would have given you more of a sign than you gave me. I could have sworn that we were friends.

You don't do this to a friend.

I tried to denounce you. That you didn't really exist, you weren't really ever there, because you'd hidden yourself away this entire time and were so self-centred as to never really show yourself or give any hint and then to just go through with it completely out of the blue. Out of nowhere. Nobody saw this coming for a reason, you know.

Of course you don't know.

You're dead.

And it pisses me off, still.

I shouldn't be angry over your death. I should feel remorseful. I shouldn't feel guilty, I should just mourn. I shouldn't want to strangle you over it, I should just feel sad.

But you took it into your own hands and…

You knew I had it in me. I didn't know that you had it in you. Is that fair? Does that really seem all that fair to you? It doesn't seem fair to me. If it's fair to you then I would really appreciate it if you could tell me how it is fair, but of course you can't.

I'm still dwelling on that a lot.

If I had killed myself, how would you have reacted to my death? It's such a pointless question now, isn't it? And not one I ever would have brought up when you are alive, for a few reasons. It isn't nice to toy with people like that, to bring up the possibility that you might seriously take your own life within a relatively short period of time. It's a dick move and just something you don't do. And I wasn't going to kill myself, so I wouldn't ask you. If I was, I probably would, and that would set warning bells off in your head and you'd know what I was thinking of and planning… You never so much as inquired into that, though. I wasn't going to do it.

You did.

I'm sitting right where you took your final breath. Right where you ended your next one before it even had the chance to begin. Right where you cut yourself out of this world.

I take a breath of my own.

I take another.

And another.

And another.

And another, and another, another, another, another, another, and I'm hyperventilating, and I can't stay here, I can't come back here again, I can't stay where you killed yourself. It's choking me up and making me breathe entirely too quickly, and it's sending me into a panic and I don't appreciate this, I can't deal with this, why are you making me deal with this.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I don't even know why I'm here.

I clutch the sides of your mattress, hold it in a death grip, and then force myself to relax just a little and push myself up and stand up and I can still stand up perfectly well, my legs aren't shaking a whole lot, it's more just that my chest is heaving, but that's reducing as I try to get myself under control. I trust myself to walk so I do that, and step out of this fucking room and I don't look back at it and I know I'll never enter it again. I won't come near this apartment again. This building. Whatever. It's not my place to be. Apparently you didn't think it was yours either. You ass.

But I don't feel ready to leave, at least, not quite yet. I'm not… I came here, for some reason, and I'm not sure why. Well. I do know why. It was just… to see. To just be here. To give myself a chance. To really give myself a chance to stop, and think, in private, and grieve to myself, and get the chance to yell at you without coming across as an idiot (and there's no better place to do it than here, even if this location doesn't work quite as well because you're dead), because I wasn't giving myself a time slot to do it before, and I won't again.

I'm not sure.

It's still dark out, but it's got to be past midnight now. The middle of the morning. I feel exhausted. I'm not falling asleep here. I'm not done here, yet.

There's a couch.

My breathing has steadied itself. I got out of that room. I sit on the couch. Wonder if it would have been more horrifying to find you if you had done it right here, because you wouldn't have even had the chance to brace yourself, you'd just be met with gore and a corpse right away. Right out in the middle, in the open.

You couldn't be that, could you? Why trick us, make us think that you were? What did you gain from that?

… Thank you.

Don't think I'm excusing you. You left all of a sudden. I'm still pissed off at you for that. I think I'll always be pissed off at you for that, and that's terrible, because I don't want remembering you and anger to come hand in hand. That's still part of how you went, but…

I don't know. I guess you did give me a parting gift. I didn't realize it at the time, and I did kind of just snatch it myself, but you still gave it to me, and. Just… thank you for that. Thank you for letting me take the credit. Thank you for not objecting, for not being indignant, for just going along with me. You didn't have to do it. Did you know you were going to kill yourself when you gave me that gift? Did you know you were actually going to go through with it? I guess that doesn't really matter, you must have been near it at that point anyway, so, um… thanks. That's all I can really offer you. That's as much as I can forgive you at the moment. Deal with it. You.

For all I screwed up—you went along with everything, and you were happy about it, and I was frustrated and irritated and didn't want to deal with it anymore, I was being everything you weren't. I was doing myself in but still you let me pull myself out. You didn't have to do that. So, um, thank you.

I guess that's the least I can offer you now. And about the most.

I won't forgive you for this.

I'm… How close did you think we were? Obviously not close enough to attempt to confide in me directly (maybe you did it indirectly and I just never picked up on it because I was too absorbed in myself or you were just too subtle, I don't know…), but you referred to us as friends. Apparently we weren't that close, though. I don't know how much of that was my fault. We could have been closer. We would have been.

… Thank you for not doing this when we would have been closer.

It isn't exactly a secret that I don't have much going for me right now. That I'm a little closed off. That you were one of the few people at this stage in my life that I actually could have called a friend and meant it. So… I don't know how I would have reacted if you had done this if we were closer. If we did have a stronger friendship. I probably just would have shut down even more, and I really don't need that. Nobody ever really needs that.

Then again, if we were closer, maybe I could have noticed something before you did. Some sort of sign. Maybe, if we were better friends, I would have picked up on something not being right and I would have been able to stop you.

I can't think about that, especially since I'm sure it was more my fault than yours that we weren't better friends at the time.

I know you didn't have it in your mind at the time, I really, strongly doubt that, but just… If we had been closer, and I never saw it coming, then that would have hurt me all the more. Far too much. It would have completely crushed me. Not to say that I'm not crushed now, but…

I don't know if I want to thank you for the memories. The experiences. The friendship you did offer me. The companionship and the enjoyment and the laughs and the fun and whatever other positive aspect you can connect to friendship. If I'd never had them, I wouldn't be hurting right now. I wouldn't be where I am right now. (If we'd known each other better and you'd still killed yourself, I'd be further on down this road, and much worse for the wear, I'm sure of it.)

Then again, I wouldn't have had the fun. Two years. Well, less than that. It took a little while. It was still a significant enough, if not fleeting (or maybe that's just how it seems now) amount of time.

Fuck you for giving me that and then taking it away, because now I just don't know what. Now I'm just going to keep going through the motions. I'll be keeping myself on autopilot for the next little while, I know it, but I'll get over it. You committed suicide before it got to the point where I wouldn't have gotten over it.

I'm mad at you, but I guess the fact that I'm feeling that at all shows that I did really care. That I did really appreciate your friendship. Your presence.

So.

Um.

It's not okay. It never will be okay. I'm not happy that you maybe alleviated any suffering you might have thought you were going through that was so bad that you had no choice but to snuff yourself out along with it. I won't be able to forgive you for that.

But I can still thank you for your most recent parting gift, and I can still thank you for trying to warm up to me, and succeeding, and having fun with that for the short period of time that it lasted.

I'd let you know when I can say those thanks and be sincere about it, but you wouldn't hear it, and I still don't know if you'd care.

I'm not done, but I'll never really be done. There's no need for me to stay here though. There was no need for me to be here in the first place. I just… was. I just came. And I spoke. And nothing changed. And that was that.

I place my hands on my knees, take a deep breath, and then stand. I step away from the couch. I continue walking forward. I can just barely feel a little bit more warmth on my back, probably from the sun, if it's rising now. I wasn't paying attention to the way the shadows in the room shifted. It all seemed pretty irrelevant. I stand, and walk towards the door. I look at it, turn the doorknob, open it, and then leave.