Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Red Like Brake Lights

“Here is a test to find out if your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.” Richard Bach

I headed down south last Saturday afternoon to clear my head again. It was dark by the time I was ready to drive home. I was lost in thought, just listening to music, really trying to understand who I am and how I feel. I suddenly noticed all of these red spots everywhere. They were keeping me company. The only light around me was coming from the brake lights of all my roadside companions.

I remembered her.

My eyes welled up with tears.

I'll call her Tracy.

Tracy was a few years older than me. We grew up together. Our parents had been friends for years and years... they used to socialize as young newlyweds even before we were born.

Junior High: My family was invited to her parent's house for dinner. Tracy was going to meet up with her friends afterwards. She asked me to help her decide what to wear. I felt so cool because she wanted my help and trusted my opinion. We even began playing around with her jewelry and started to try on different clothes for fun. I kind of looked up to her. She was one of the "big kids."

Junior College: Tracy randomly showed up at a dinner party one weekend. We were all so excited to see her. Since she started her master's program in LA, she was keeping pretty busy with classes and a full time job. She looked good. She looked happy. There were a lot of people at this dinner party, at least five or six families altogether. All of our parents had been friends for over 20 years. All of us kids were like brothers and sisters. It was kind of becoming tradition for us to sneak some alcohol, make fun of our drunk parents, and watch a late night movie after playing video games. I remember Tracy not wanting to watch a movie, though. Instead, she wanted to do funny, random girly stuff. So all of us girls, about seven of us, started to play around with our makeup because we were so bored. I remember watching a friend apply Tracy's eyeshadow... she loved it. We all shared makeup tips and continued to drink, laugh, play video games, watch tv... It was a good night.

College: My mom left a few messages to call her back over the period of about one week. She needed to talk to me about something, she said, but to only call her when I had time to talk. I was starting to mess up real bad at this time: The more I started dating, the more I remembered my rape... my secret rape I never told anyone about. I was joining a sorority, lived in a new college town, carried a full load of writing classes... my time was very limited... my plate was rapidly overflowing with unexpected memories.

I just hyperventilated again... I can't believe I am starting to have trouble breathing along with the nightmares and panic attacks. It's taken a scary and solid fifteen minutes for my body to cool back down and my throat to open back up. This is fucking ridiculous. Absolutely FUCKING RIDICULOUS.

I was running out the door for a sorority thing when my phone rang. I quickly answered it. It was my mom again.

"Hey mom. Can I call you back, though? I've gotta get to the house for our big fundraiser thing I'm advertising for."

"Yeah. When will you be back?"

"I don't know. Late probably. Sorry I haven't called you back yet, just been super busy. But I got your messages. What's going on?"

"Well, I don't want to bother you if you're busy so just call me as soon as you get back."

"Okay... is everything alright?"


"Mom, what's going on? It's fine, I can be late. What is it?"

"Well... you better sit down." I didn't like the sound in her voice. I froze.


"Tracy killed herself."

I'm crying again... I wish she didn't do it... I will never know why she did it...

"(Missing)? Are you there?" I couldn't move or speak.

"That doesn't make sense. What?!" I started to panic.

"I said: Tracy killed herself."

"What do you mean? You're not making any sense, mom. That's not true. You don't know that."

"I mean she's gone. She took her own life..." I needed to throw up.

"Are you there? Are you okay?" my mom kept asking.

"That doesn't make any sense. What do you mean she killed herself??!!" I fell to the floor, grabbing onto my bed as I crumbled.

"I mean she's dead, (Missing). She's in a better place now. She's at peace. This was what God wanted for her."

"No. That doesn't make sense to me. What do you mean she killed herself? What happened? What did she do? How do you know? This doesn't make any sense..." The questions were starting to come...

"Well, she shot herself."

"What! How?! Why?! Where?!! What do you mean? Mom, this doesn't make any sense! Why would she do that? She was doing so great..."

"I know she was. I don't know why she did it. Guess she thought there was no way out and this was the only answer..." I knew how Tracy must have felt, considering how many suicide attempts I had so far. I felt guilty for still being alive.

"What happened? Who found her?"

"Well... I guess she was dating a police officer in town and they wanted to get married or something... I'm not really sure what happened. But I guess they were dating for a while and she really loved him. And they wanted to get married but for some reason or another, he ended the relationship. I don't want to say anything for sure... I don't really know. But I guess she took one of his guns and she shot herself on the steps of his house."

I couldn't believe what my mom was telling me. I couldn't believe my mom was telling me Tracy shot herself on the steps of her boyfriend's house.

"Who found her? What happened? Was she still alive when they found her?"

"I guess the neighbor heard the shot and went over and found her laying there. She died instantly. She shot herself in the head."

I don't remember much else after that except just sitting on the floor next to my bed, unable to move or say much. Everything was blurry for days after that. Instead of seeing classmate's faces, I just saw unfocused, noisy shapes. Everyone blended together. I sat in class and just stared into space. All I could see was Tracy's dead body in a pool of her own blood on the steps of her boyfriend's house. All I heard was the gunshot that she decidingly ended her life with. All I felt was incredible guilt, nausea and sadness... I didn't understand why this world would take her away and let me live, especially since I had desperately tried to end my life already. It didn't make any sense. Why was it her time to go and not mine? Why did she have to die? Why did God take her away from me?

Because there is no God.

I didn't go to her funeral. I didn't even see her parents until a year later... and even then, I didn't know what to say. I was so nervous to see her mom, but I gave her a hug, told her I missed her daughter and that Tracy is still alive and happy even though she isn't physically here. That was one of the toughest dialogues I have ever had in my entire life. My heart was racing and my body was limp.

Tracy killed herself because she loved a boy.

I wanted to kill myself because I hated a boy.

I can't get her out of my head... her motionless, cold, small body resting in a pool of her own blood.

Blood red like brake lights.


Blogger NWO said...

Very powerful. I'm glad you are here to tell the story; now we know about Tracy, and part of her is immortal in our hearts.

3/29/2006 7:43 PM  
Anonymous wolf905 said...


I was doing a google serach for something (I don't even remember what now) and I stumbled upon your blog.

I am a happily married man, age 31, with a loving wife, and a wonderful 1 year old son. I have never experienced grief or suffering anywhere near what I have read in your blog.

Why am I writing this? I don't know. Perhaps it is because I have a deep desire to help anyone that needs it. Perhaps it is because I feel guilty that I have suffered so little, and you have suffered so much.

There is nothing about the universe that guarantees that I will never experience horrible things, nor is there any guarantee that you will never find happiness, and inner peace.

I can not live my life in fear of the future that might await me. I must live every day the best I can, and try to do enough good in this world that when my time comes to depart it, the people that I have touched in my life are better for having known me. This is what brings me inner peace, and allows me to enjoy all that is good in this world. The future is uncertain, but how I relate to the world around me is within my control.

It is my belief that you can not live in torture from the past any more than I can live in fear of the future. Either approach will ultimately result in crippling emotional baggage.

I do not know what you have endured. I can not comprehend the effect it has had on you. I believe that for every evil thing in this universe, there is an equally good thing to counter it. If you make the most of each day, strive to see the good, and push aside the bad, you _can_ achieve inner peace and happiness.

You will carry your demons with you for the rest of your life. Whether or not you let them _control_ your life is really up to you.

Nobody can answer the Why questions. That's why religions exist. For some people, faith provides them a "rain check" on the why questions, and that's enough to let them live their lives more fully. The point is that if you get hung up on "why", you will overlook the fact that opportunity is passing around you. Opportunity to live. Opportunity to Love. Opportunity to leave something positive behind when your time comes.

I don't know if this is helpful, or if you find it antagonistic. I had no intent when I started writing this, other than to say _something_ about how your blog made me feel. I guess I've done that, now.

Thank-you for sharing your demons with the world. It has reminded me that every good thing in my life is precious. We all have the power to chose how we relate to this world, and the other beings in it. Today, I will chose to be friendly to the people I encounter, in the hope that it might just make a positive difference to someone(even if its a insignificant one).

4/05/2006 11:01 AM  
Blogger jumpinginpuddles said...

Tracy saw she had no choice, its often the happiest most together people that end up doing this, for what to us isnt obvious for them it is. Im sorry for your loss, your grief and your sadness, i hope youi never forget the good times you had with tracy because in them she is alive.

4/07/2006 3:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing and photocopying, recording or by any other information storage or retrievel system, without permission in writing from the publisher.