The Fourteenth Reason

This is the final reason. Yes, I probably won't ever send this tape. I just can't. So why am I doing this? I have to. I have to tell everything. When I go, I need to feel pure, and this is how I will make that happen, by making your sins known to everyone but also no one.

So who is this final tape about? Any guesses? No? Of course not, because no one knows. I have never told anyone. This tape (are you ready?) is for my very favorite cousin, Michael.

Mike has always been the greatest cousin. Since I was little, he has always been the smart, fun, older cousin that I looked up to and respected. Anything I did that I was proud of, I sought out his approval, and that bad things that I did, I tried to keep from his knowledge.

So if he's so great, why is he grouped in with the rest of you here? Because what he did was possibly worse than anything that any of you did. Yes, even worse than spreading rumors about me that either made people look down on me, or ask for something I was not ready to give away.

No, Mikey, you're even worse, because unlike those people, you did not ask. You just took what was not yours to take.

It started when I was four and you were seven. How did that happen? How could a seven year old, sweet and supposedly innocent, do that to another untainted child?

I'll tell you: because that's what you knew. Your mother's boyfriend did the exact same thing to you starting when you were three and ending when you were ten.

Every time our families got together, which was fairly often, he would get me on my own. It wasn't hard to do, really. I tagged along with him every time. He would lead me somewhere private. His bedroom, the bathroom, even a closet, and do various things to me. It started innocently enough, first him giving me "the talk". Eventually that escalated to kissing and then touching.

I tried to protest at first. But then I realized that it would be over sooner if I just went along with it and didn't fight him.

After about two years of this happening, I got sick of it. No, I never liked it, but all of a sudden, it started to just feel like too much and I couldn't deal with it. I started avoiding him. I made excuses as to why I couldn't go; my stomach hurt, I was too tired, I have homework. I started getting panic attacks and was constantly anxious and stressed out. Sometimes they let me stay home, but more often they forced me to go. I don't blame my parents for what he did. They were simply being their normal clueless selves. They couldn't have known.

When our families got together, I stuck near my mother and aunt. They quickly got impatient with me and shooed me off. That was when Michael would suddenly appear, take my hand, and lead me to a secluded place.

When he was 11 and I was only eight, he took it even farther. We went "all the way", "did the deed". And I tried even harder to hate him.

But I couldn't. I couldn't hate my cousin. Sure, I hated what he did, but not him. As I said before, I adored him.

You were only doing what you knew. I feel bad for you.

This is not just a reason to end my life because it changed me forever, but because I am scared of what I might do if I were to continue to live. Maybe I would do what Michael did. Maybe, if I were to have children, I would continue the pattern. Because that's what I know, right? Wrong. I would never forgive myself if I did that. I like to think that I wouldn't do that to a sweet pure child, but how do I know that?

That's why I can't send this tape. Because I don't want to bring up what Mike did to me. He's never said anything about that to me, never brought it up in any way, but sometimes, I'll catch him looking at me and see something like guilt in his eyes before he quickly turns away.

So here, even though you'll never hear this, I forgive you. I don't blame you.

Goodbye, I love you.