I’m clutching a frail piece of paper, taking in the words of a stranger. It’s the letter she left for her parents that night when everything was hollow, and falling asleep sounded like a scolding mother counting one… two… and waking up was three: a smack in the face to remind her that she can’t keep doing this; she can’t keep waking up. She’s been waiting so long to die, and already she’s opened up her wrists like the gates on white picket fences and poured out flower to prove that not everything is so perfect. She says it tastes like bile every time she breathes and she is so fucking tired of smiling while her body is trying to heave. Water goes down like soot, and she’s swearing this is the last time. She’s telling everyone she’s sorry, wishing she was stronger but her limbs are already too sodden with the pain dripping from her doubts to carry her any further. She didn’t know how close she was to getting out… She’s listing all the people she’ll miss, and there are so many names, you can’t catch your breath because one of them must have known! Hers sobs are ringing loudly through the strokes left on the page, every jagged edge an ending, every point a subtle blade. She says there’s nothing left for her, and she’ll be glad to get some rest. She must not have understood, but her words are heavy and they take root in my chest; she’s writing such a melody my fingers quiver with sound. But she’s not listening, she’s frantic, trying to drown it out; her pulse has become a burden and it has gotten so damn loud… She doesn’t know she has a hope, that her words have wings and with them she could fly, that her dull pencil tip could save her, if she’d only stop to listen. She learned she could write beauty as she penned her suicide note. It’s so far from me now, but I’m glad that wasn’t the last thing I ever wrote.