TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide

Soundtrack: The Drinks We Drank Last Night - Azure Ray

Was it my fault?

Did I push him too far?

I was too selfish.

We went too fast.

I wonder if this is what Tweek felt like, before he decided to do what he did. I wonder if he had a million thoughts running through his head. He probably did. He always had a million thoughts running through his head. You could see it, if you watched him closely. You could see thought by thought by thought flashing through his eyes quick as lightning. It was one of the first things I noticed about him when I started to stare.

When I think back on it, I can't pinpoint exactly when I decided to turn my head and look at him. Tweek probably could pinpoint that moment. He was good at that. He had a photographic memory, and being as paranoid as he was, he documented every single moment of everyday that seemed even slightly out of place. I still sort of remember how reacted to my stare. He looked up from his paper, the edges of which he'd been shredding with shaking hands, and stared right back. Thought by thought by thought. I saw it right away. I noticed it after I noticed how the teachers let him bring a thermos with him into class, even though that was against school policy. After I noticed how his hands wouldn't sit still.

I noticed him thinking.

Maybe it became a sort of game. To me it became a game. Maybe he took it way more seriously than I did. That's what Tweek did, you know. He took everything to heart, every little word. He wore his heart on his sleeve, and he couldn't help that.

But I guess he was able to keep things from me. He was able to keep this away from everybody. No one would have known. I mean, fuck, it was standard knowledge within the town that the kid was crazy as fuck and that we should all probably leave him alone.

Was it my fault?

I keep wondering this, because I was the jackass that decided I wouldn't leave him alone. I'd stare at him in every class we had until he'd look up and gaze right back. We'd sit like through every single class we shared. Every last one. Every minute. Every second. Neither of us ever won, because the bell would ring and we'd have to move on. But I'm certain that we could have sat in those same desks and stared at each other forever.

What's weird is that even when he stared, even when he wasn't looking at his hands at all, they would move. I could see it out of the corner of my eye. He would rip or fold or make weird patterns on his paper. I know, because after class, he'd just throw it away.

Maybe it's creepy that I'd reach into the trashcan and fish out his doodles. I certainly got a look or two from a teacher, not that I give a fuck what they think anyway.

To this day, I wonder how he knew that I'd been stealing his papers and keeping them. Tweek's paranoia usually has him believing things that aren't happening are real. Christ, don't even get me started on the gnomes or the aliens or the child abductors or all the things in this world that Tweek thinks are out to get him.

Thought. Past tense, now. Tweek thought a lot of things were out to get him.

I guess that his paranoia actually detected something real. Me.

It was after math class. Math class is when Tweek is at his worst. He was never good with numbers or logic problems. He tells me that they get all jumbled up in his head and he can't sort out what he's thinking. That's why he likes art. You don't have to think. There doesn't have to be a structure, he says.

Said.

He used to say that, but he doesn't anymore. He won't anymore.

I still don't know if that's my fault. I don't want this to be my fault but I'm so afraid that it is. I am the one that did this. I almost feel like this is something that I should confess. That I should tell his parents that I'm the one that did this to him.

I think I saw the worst thing that I've ever seen in my life today. Tweek's mom crying. My mom doesn't ever cry. I thought that 'a mother's tears' was some sentimental bullshit that movies made up to make us feel something. I discovered I was wrong.

Anyway – I digress. That math class. We stared and he doodled and ripped and folded. And when the bell rang, and the rest of the students rushed out to the cafeteria, I leaned over the trashcan and picked out Tweek's paper.

Why are you watching me

There was no question mark at the end of his question. Just scratchy letters in terrible penmanship, probably because he wasn't looking at what he wrote and his hands are always shaking. I used to think it was the coffee, but no, I discovered it was much more than just the coffee.

I tracked him down during lunchtime. He refused to eat in the cafeteria. The amount of people overwhelmed him, and so did the gross food and germs and whatever else he believed was there. I'd seen where he sat before, though at the time it was the fucking middle of winter, and so my guess was as good as any – but sure enough, I went outside, and there he was. In the freezing fucking cold, he'd spread out his jacket over the snow on the ground, and was huddled in a little ball underneath the big-ass fir tree.

He didn't see me until I was standing right next to him. He looked up, and his eyes were fucking huge, terrified.

"Please don't murder me," Tweek said.

I guess maybe that's exactly the sort of plea I should have expected from Captain Crazy, but I was kind of stunned. I just…sat next to him, and said, "Dude, I'm not going to murder you." Maybe that was when I started pushing him too far and too fast. There was a reason he didn't have any friends. He was afraid to have friends. He was afraid of people for fuck's sake, always going on about how people do awful, horrible things to each other. He watched the news too much. Read too many articles. He never read the ones about good deeds, either. I think Tweek was just fascinated by reading about murders or tortures or ghost stories. He had a sick thing for freaking himself out.

"What do you want with me?" He started edging away. My ass was really fucking cold. I was wearing jeans. Sitting in the snow. All for some weird kid that thought I was an axe murderer.

"Why did we stop hanging out," I wondered aloud. It had happened sometime around when we were twelve or thirteen. Tweek just stopped coming with us to do whatever the fuck we did. He sort of vanished.

Actually, he was gone for a couple months. Hardly anybody noticed. I didn't notice, and now all I can do is feel regret. I didn't notice when he disappeared, and I didn't notice later, when the thoughts by thoughts by thoughts in his head went bad. He kept them secret, and I don't know how. I could always tell how he was.

Unless, what he did was an impulse.

It couldn't have been, right?

Tweek always overthought every little move.

But maybe he didn't this time.

"They took me away," Tweek said, "I fucking hate hospitals, man. They stuck needles in me and, oh, Jesus, I just wanted to go home."

At first I thought that he was making shit up again. He seemed to do that. Tweek just loved telling stories. I once overheard his mom, while dropping him off before school, tell him, It's okay to tell stories, sweetheart, but you have to make sure that people know you're just telling a story, so we know when you're telling the truth.

I am telling the truth, Mom. Nobody believes me!

He sounded so sure of himself, so desperately like he thought he was telling the truth.

"I believe you," I said, when he told me about his hospital trip. It seemed like that was all he wanted to hear from somebody. That they believed him.

"You do?" The way he said it led me to believe that he did not believe me when I said that I believed him.

"Yeah," I said, wishing that he'd picked a less cold spot to eat lunch in. But Tweek was weird. He always was, and he did what he wanted, because nobody gave a shit anyway.

That's not true. I started to give a shit. I didn't, at first. I was just fucking with him because I thought it was fun, and looking back, he probably knew that. I feel an awful, sick feeling in my stomach when I think about how I treated him at first. I treated him like everybody else did. The difference was that I was up close. I said the things to him that everybody else thought, and he just took it. Tweek just took my shit because he was lonely.

But…it changed. Surely, he knew that. He knew that everything was different when I took out my camera.

We'd started hanging out. It was on a whim, at least the first time was. My parents had gotten into an argument about some stupid shit, like dishes or responsibilities or something. They didn't hate each other by any means, no. But everybody's parents fight over some dumbass thing from time to time, and it's irritating as fuck. So I went on a walk. I took my camera with me. I don't know why I did. It wasn't a particularly pretty day. It was chilly and the sky was clouded over and there was just a little bit of snow coming down. I can remember it so clearly because I have a video.

Tweek was there, at Stark's Pond.

I don't know what the fuck he was doing, but it was awesome looking. I just clicked on my camera.

He had tubes of paint in his hands, and was squirting and flicking it everywhere as he skated. It was probably dangerous. Like, couldn't his skates get caught or something? But he'd turned all of Stark's Pond and the surrounding snow drifts into a colorfully splattered art piece.

When he noticed me, he flipped shit. He screamed, and slipped on the ice, and fell onto his ass. He laid on the ground until I walked over, smearing paint with my shoes. I offered him a hand up.

"Why are you filming me, man?" he demanded, before eyeing my hand like it was a bug or some other germy crap he was terrified of.

I shrugged.

He took that as an okay answer, I guess, cause he took my hand and let me pull him back onto his skates.

We spent the rest of the day walking around like that – him covered in paint, me filming him.

I don't know if I can ever watch those videos again.

Maybe I should burn them.

It hurts every part of me when I think about them. I taped pretty much everything we did together. Oddly, Tweek didn't like being inside much. He said that it felt like the walls were closing in on him. He liked playing on the playground, or making snowmen or snow angels. And when summer came around, he liked planting flowers, even if he got dirt all over himself. Tweek was weird that way. Some things that were clearly sanitized were germy and disgusting to him, other things that were totally gross and filthy in reality, he didn't mind a bit. Weird fucker. He let me film that, too.

It was summer when things changed between us. I mean, I'd stopped getting a kick out of messing around with him months ago, but everything really changed in July. He didn't like fireworks. He said that they sounded like gunshots and he had panic attacks and felt like he was going to die. His parents bought him earplugs every Fourth of July, he told me, but they never helped. He usually ended up in the hospital on Fourth of July half-scared to death. All they would do at Hell's Pass was sedate him – the doctors were used to Tweek there – but it got him to sleep through the night.

But this Fourth of July was different. He asked if I would stay with him, spend the night at his house. Initially, I thought that I'd say no. I'd already told Token that I'd come to his place for his typical July festivities (alcohol, firecrackers, and a contest to see who could wear the tackiest red, white and blue outfit – which Clyde usually won).

I told Tweek yes.

I didn't like hanging out at those things that much, anyway. I mean, I can sort of deal with people. It's just that Token is nice to everybody because he's a sociable fucker, and he invites a bunch of people I hate to those parties. They'll get drunk for fun, and I'll get drunk to forget that I hate them all.

We hung out in Tweek's room, that night. He was shaking like a leaf the moment a firework sounded, and a flash of light lit up the bedroom. So I turned on his music. And turned it up loud. It didn't do much, but it did help at least a little bit.

That wasn't what changed us, though.

What changed us is contest between two moments – or maybe they're two parts of the same moment, I don't know. But another firework went off. It was huge, definitely illegal and smuggled in from Wyoming. Tweek hugged me. Like, fucking clung to me. He buried his face in my neck and latched himself onto his shirt, shaking so badly that it was almost as if he was going to explode.

And so I kissed him.

I dunno why. I just wanted to. And I do what I want to do. My sexuality has never been a clear thing to me like it seems to be to most people. It's all muddled in my head, and to be honest, I'm mostly not attracted to anybody. But kissing Tweek just felt like the right thing to do. It was at least what I wanted in that moment. And God, I liked it.

It surprised Tweek at first, but after a second, he stopped shaking and pushed his lips back.

I knew that I was scaring the shit out of him. He hated that he couldn't predict what I was going to do next. He told me that.

But he didn't have his annual Fourth of July panic attack. He didn't have to go to the hospital. After we kissed, we laid in his bed and kissed more, arms wound around each other, until he fell asleep. His parents were so confused by the calm that they came up to check on him (at which point I pretended that I was also asleep).

After that, we spent a lot more time kissing. I mean, it sort of felt like everything that we did was kiss. And holy shit, did it escalate fast. I mean, it took like all of two fucking weeks for us to find ourselves completely naked together and doing whatever.

And let me tell you, Tweek is a freak in bed. It's a huge part of his appeal. He's mostly just really skinny and funny-looking (to be fair, I don't look necessarily normal either, but what qualifies as normal? Because everything ever is photoshopped). But when the clothes were off, fuck. He was all about the biting and the dirty talk and holy Christ, I will tell you this honestly, I do not want to know where he learned some of the things that he did, but I hope to God it was just from some fucked up porn site.

There was this one time that I filmed it.

Maybe I shouldn't have. I didn't ask his permission. I just set up the camera before he came over. It was probably stupid of me, and when I look back on it now, my motivations were entirely selfish. I just wanted like a visual aid for the spank bank, you know? I'd gotten to this point where I legitimately could almost never get it up if I wasn't thinking about Tweek – so all my other porn options went out the window.

That time was one of the best times, too. It wasn't actually as freaky as things sometime got. Maybe something happened that day that made him all lovey-dovey, I don't know. But he was clingy and breathy and strangely tender the entire time.

We took a lot of time just enjoying each other's kisses. We undressed slowly, with kissing in between. He liked kissing my ears, for some reason. I liked it too. It makes my stomach twist in knots when I think about it now, because I know that Tweek will never kiss my ears again.

I wish I'd told him right then all the thoughts that were going in my head. I can't jerk off to that video like I thought I would, because I look at it and think of all things that should have come out of my mouth. I think you're the most amazing person I've ever known. I love it when you kiss me like that. I love your eyes. I love your mouth. I love the way you rub up against me when I tease you. I love you.

We rolled around in nothing but our underwear, thrusting gently up against each other with quiet moans and panting breaths. It was the little touches that I liked the most. I liked when he ran his knuckles over my jaw, or how he'd dig his nails into my hips and force our bodies hard up against each other. I liked touching him, too. Mostly teasing. I liked the little noises that he'd make, the desperate mewls and how he'd grind up into me when I brushed my hands over his sensitive spots.

Neither of us usually cared for slow sex.

Maybe that day should have been a sign. Maybe he was trying to tell me something when we shed the remaining clothing and instead of having a rough free-for-all, he asked me to be gentle, and so I was. I kissed him a lot, and he kissed me, and instead of banging him back against the headboard as was my usual preference, I rolled into him in ginger half-thrusts, our lips connected the entire time, my arms tucked around him, cradling him close.

I should have said it.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Three simple words, you know. Nothing out of the question, especially since it was fucking true. I loved him. I still love him, for fuck's sake.

And he said them to me.

I came inside him and pulled away, running my hand up and down his dick so that he'd come too. When he did, he nestled his head in the crook of my neck and said it. He was quiet and his voice was muffled, but I heard it. He said, "I love you."

And I said, "I know."

Instead of what I meant. I meant, I love you too.

I didn't have regrets, you know. I didn't know what regret felt like. Until now.

Now I'm wallowing in heaps of regret, all of it when I think of freaky, paranoid Tweek.

I don't know how long I've been lying here, in my bed.

In my suit.

It's not really comfortable. The suit is made out of itchy black polyester and my dress shoes pinch my feet because they're a half-size too small. I wonder if I should have gone to the funeral in my normal clothes. Tweek would have laughed at me if he saw how I look now. I look stupid and dressed up and not at all like myself.

And I haven't been able to cry yet.

They found him two weeks ago.

I found out when I came home from going to the movies with Clyde. I'd ignored his text, you know. I got one during the middle of the movie from Tweek. It just said love you.

Why didn't I respond back? Everything could have changed if I'd just texted back I love you too. If I'd just said it back after we had sex. If I'd said it as soon as I'd realized it. If I'd said it every time he smiled or laughed or we kissed or he made me origami giraffes or let me film him doing weird shit. There are so many times that I could have said those words.

And I never, ever did.

I love you too.

I love you too.

He hung himself from the banister at the top of the stairs.

They found notes stuffed in his pockets.

There's one to me.

Mrs. Tweak gave it to me after the funeral. She was sobbing when she did. She just came up to me with this envelope covered in stickers, with my name in Tweek's bad handwriting on the back of it.

I've probably been in this bed for an hour, just staring at the envelope. I've counted the stickers. There are twenty-two.

I'm afraid to open it and see what's inside.

It smells like him. Like his hand sanitizer.

Hand trembling, I stick my thumbnail underneath the sealed flap, edging it open for almost ten painful, careful minutes, because I don't want to ruin the envelope. The note inside is written on plain notebook paper, in purple pen, in his terrible handwriting. The note is short.

I know you hate being sentimental, so I'll keep this short.

No, no, no. Please write to me forever. Better yet, you never had to write this at all. I could have just said I love you and you'd be here. You'd be with me and everything would be okay and I wouldn't feel like everything inside of me is falling apart at the seams, and that I'll never be okay again.

It's my head, Craig. Not you. I love you and you love me and we're perfect. But we live in this bubble where I need you, I need you all the time, because my head is so clogged up and fucked up and nothing in my head is ever okay.

I just wanted it all to stop.

And I'm sure that I'm better now, if you're reading this when I think you will.

His writing starts to get more illegible. His hands are shaking more.

He didn't really want to die.

I was never okay. I was so fucked up. I was going to do this sooner and then you were there, and I didn't feel like killing myself, even though I knew that I should before things happened like they did.

People shouldn't love me, you know. You shouldn't love somebody as fucked up as I am. I would have ruined your life.

I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore, right now. I love you.

That was it. Nothing more or less.

And I'm crying now, crying so hard that my chest hurts and I can't breathe and I'm loud as fuck, because my sister is banging on my bedroom door and telling me, "Craig, don't cry, don't cry. You'll be okay. You can get through this." I just cry harder, and she starts screaming at me to unlock the door because she doesn't want me to die like Tweek died.

And I can't get through this, I can't.

I want to go back and tell him, I'm fucked up too. We needed each other. Now I'm one half of something that doesn't exist anymore and I don't know what to do.

You know what Tweek wrote to his mom? She told me at the funeral that she said he said that he was sorry that she had another mess of his to clean up. Like his dead body was a mess. And I hugged his mom for God only knows what reason, and she hugged me. What were we supposed to do? I felt like a jackass, because I couldn't cry then, my eyes stayed traitorously dry, and now, here, I can't stop.

At first, when I started staring, it seemed like nobody cared about Tweek and Tweek didn't care about anybody else, either.

But the people that loved that kid, me and his mom and his dad, we loved him all the fucking way.

I wish that I had told him.

I love you too.