Suicide isn’t only about the person who’s dead. When someone dies at his or her own hand, a gaping emotional hole remains in the people left behind. What do we do with that pain?
Drown in it?
“Forget Me Do” is a story of pain but also of magic. Published today in Rose Red Review, this one is dedicated to dear friend, gifted editor, and brilliant woman Trysh … who understands.
“Forget Me Do” (an excerpt)
By Sara Dobie Bauer
Published by Rose Red Review
She half-heartedly listened as Tanya explained exactly how her boyfriend had screwed up her perfect prom dream. Debra also listened to the sounds of the coffee bar. She flipped her lashes open and closed and took in the emotions around her, predominantly those of lust and occasional self-interest. Lust felt like a heavy steak in her stomach, cooked well done; pride was like sour grapes.
Then, there was something else. The feeling crept over Debra’s shoulders and down her chest like a winter wind. She let go of her coffee mug. Her fingers clutched to her upper arms, and she made a noise.
The noise scared the vapid young women around her. The way they looked at her, their perfectly waxed eyebrows turned down in the middle, made her realize the sound must have been animalistic. Like something dying.
“Debra, are you okay?”
She looked around. “I need to get up.”
“You’re not going to be sick are you?” Nicole looked vaguely concerned.
“No, I just …” She shoved her hip against Rebecca until she finally moved and permitted Debra to exit the booth. Then, she stood. She searched out that feeling again, something horrible, and found it, ten feet away.
He was mostly obstructed from her view, painted over by layers of men in black-rimmed hipster glasses, women in short skirts. As Debra moved closer, she saw the edge of a slumped shoulder covered in blue. She saw the back of a long neck. Then, visually blocked, she only felt him again: cold, so cold.
“Excuse me.” She said it once, then twice. People wouldn’t move out of her way, too focused on getting a phone number, trying to sound good, act cool. They didn’t notice the cracked shell of a human in their midst.
She wondered how they couldn’t feel it, feel him? How could they not see the way he hurt? How could they not sense it like an incoming storm, smell the rain on dry pavement? How?
Debra did not usually heal in public. She shrank from human touch, because she knew what her powers could do. Yet, as she passed one more man, this one in a pink button-down, she reached her hand out and wrapped her open palm on the blue-clad shoulder.
She closed her dark eyes against the images. She would not betray a stranger’s intimacy that way. Instead, she focused on the pain, the horrible pain. She clenched her jaw and tried to suck some of the ache from his chest. She pulled at the despair inside him until she heard him take a loud breath. Warmth radiated out from Debra’s palm into the t-shirt material. Some of his pain went away.
Then, he crushed her to him. She didn’t see him move, feel him move, but there she was, her nose against his neck. His grip surrounded her. Her slim, strong arms pressed into his back. She stood between his legs, parted on the barstool. He smelled like overdue laundry, but he was warm. His skin was warm, and his t-shirt was soft. He moaned a shuddering breath against her collarbone and pulled away.
He stared up at her, eyes impossibly light in the yellow lamps, rimmed red. Up close, his hair was light brown. He was a little bit older than her. He looked like the kind of man who had an incredible smile. He reached up with long fingers and touched the side of her chin.
Debra looked at the half-empty glass of something dark and menacing on the bar. “You need tea,” she said.
He smiled just a touch, one side of his mouth curved up in the shape of a U-turn. Then, he nodded. Debra took his hand and pulled him through the crowd. She did not say goodbye to her friends.
Read the full version of “Forget Me Do” HERE at Rose Red Review, and keep the conversation going. The more honest and open we are about mental health, the more people we can save.
(Photo credit: Alice on Flickr.)