A phone call within a few days confirmed it. My girlfriend had left me. She hooked up with another man on campus, someone studying to become a youth pastor. Together they smoked some weed. Something she was wanting to experiment with. It would seem that I was merely someone who allowed her to escape from her family – someone who helped her get out of her home and down to university. Because her family did not like me they were more motivated in helping her enroll in university in an effort to provide her with some more options. This other man was one of those options. The weed was apparently just something she had wanted to try for a long time but just never had the chance. This Christian university provided that chance and she balked at my protest.
I hadn’t planned on this turn of events – who does, really? I found myself very much alone and scared. Where was I? What the hell was I doing here? I recognized that I had gotten myself in way too deep and there was no way out.
Consequently, over the next few days I tumbled into a very deep depression. I would arise from my single cot, in the basement of this home, prepare myself for work, go through the motions of my day, only to arrive back home to this single cot. Life quite meaningless.
The couple in whose home I slept, identified as Christians, but their theology was something that I had not yet run into, in my brief but intense time with Jesus. They were convinced that Jesus was coming back sooner rather than later and so convinced they were of this that their entire lives and efforts were spent in preparation. Except their preparation looked a bit different than others who would find some abandoned world war two bunker to hide in until it was all over.
Their approach was to quit their jobs and pour all of their money into real estate. They liquidated everything, now owed nothing to anyone, and operated in a cash world. However, in order to survive, they would purchase a home outright – with cash, renovate it and sell it – again for cash. The home I was now in was one of those homes. It wasn’t really their home, but simply a place for them to live in long enough to avoid paying any capital gains taxes. In the meantime they had purchased another home and were renovating that one, getting it ready for them to move into before they would sell the one we were in right now.
So, even their lives were meaningless, except in a more meaningful way then mine. But as temporal as their plan was, it served and provided no comfort, no reason, no way out of my current circumstances. I could not abandon myself to their theology, with hopes that Jesus would come back soon to rescue us all. I had no real estate after all, but worse than that, given the talks I had been having with my tulip friend, I wasn’t even sure that Jesus and I were getting along all that well.
“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
― T.S. Eliot
With my hosts busy with their apocalyptic renovations, gone until early evening every day, I had no reason to burden them with such hopelessness found in the moment, so I turned to my co-workers. I skirted around this issue of hopelessness for a couple of days, wondering if I could shake loose the egocentric nature of anyone of them. My tulip friend seemed to be the closest one to receiving my words of despair but all he could offer up was that there existed a help line, specific to such time of lives as I now found myself in, and that he would try and remember the name, or phone number, or any such clue other than the brief mention. He never did.
It was now Sunday and I had the closing shift. As the night wound down and there were more staff in the restaurant than customers I stepped up my boldness with a last ditched attempt at finding hope. I shared an ultimatum with them. I told them that I was suicidal. That I could see no way out. I then proclaimed that tomorrow, Monday, my day off, that if I did not receive a phone call by noon on that day, I would kill myself. It seemed kind of a heavy thing to burden my work mates with on a Sunday night but I had run out of options. They seemed to chalk the whole thing up to my drama, my life, my thing, and left, taking hope with them.
The next day, coincidentally, was my brother’s birthday. Inconsequential at the time, since I had not seen or spoken with my brother in a very long time, but it would be something that would and still does bother me.
I awoke before noon and lay there. The phone was sitting on my night stand beside the bed. I rolled onto my side and stared at it. The minutes crept by. It was like waiting for water to boil. I found a piece of paper and a pen and wrote a final goodbye to pass the time.
Noon came. And then it left.
“They didn’t even call,” I whispered to myself. “I even told them…”
With a resolve, written by the injustices of this world, and on the strength of the brokenhearted, I got up and left this room. Getting into my van I spent the next hour driving to several different pharmacies. My story was the same in each pharmacy. I was looking for their strongest sleeping pill, having been unable to sleep this last while. I would only purchase one box as to not raise suspicion and then I would leave and drive to the next pharmacy down the road to do the exact same thing.
By shortly after 1pm I had returned back to my cot. I had five packages, each containing twenty pills. I opened up all five packages and I released all the pills from each package until when I was done, my garbage can was full of empty boxes and on the bed beside me were one hundred extra strength sleeping pills. Over 4000 mg. On my night stand was a glass of water only filled slightly past half. In order to be effective I knew that I needed to consume all one hundred pills without consuming a lot of water.
I looked at my note. I looked at my phone. I looked at the pills. I stared at the pills. The time was now 1:30pm. The family was not due back until early evening. I left my room’s door open but a crack. I knew that they would find me but I didn’t want them to find me after a long period of time. I looked again at the phone. Why hadn’t anyone called?
I grabbed the first little pill and raised it to my mouth. “Goodbye”, I whispered before adding, “Jesus, I don’t know if you are there or what is going to happen but I am sorry.”
I popped the pill in my mouth and quickly swallowed it, followed by a couple droplets of water. This time there was no hesitation. Within a couple of minutes I had swallowed every single pill that was on the bed beside me, leaving over half of the water still in the glass. I then sat on the side of the bed and waited, staring at the bedroom door that was open just a crack.
It didn’t take long.
The room began to swirl and my body became frightfully heavy. I swayed and fell to the floor. My stomach was upset and my body convulsed. I threw up some clear liquid onto their new carpet. I remember thinking that I need to find some paper towel to clean up my mess so I don’t wreck their carpet.
I never made it.