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The Turn Around

“No matter how long the winter; spring is sure to follow”

After her 20th pill, the water tasted bitter and she gagged involuntarily. She wanted to pee now, having drunk at least three glasses of water. Whether it was the anti-depressants taking effect or just the numbness which had enveloped her; she didn’t know, but couldn’t get herself up to go to the bathroom. She simply sat on her bed, waiting for something to happen. She wanted to cry but was shocked that she couldn’t. Surely, being so close to death, she was supposed to think of all the things that had gone wrong with her life and cry for the very last time? A final personal justification for her suicide? Where was all the rush of images and feelings she was to experience, culminating with the draw of her last breath?

A slow panic started to spread through her body and she felt completely wronged like somehow she had been deprived of the fantastic effects of suicide as promised to her.

The glamour of suicide by overdose had appealed to her. Any one of her pleasure drugs would have helped her, but she chose the anti-depressants her mother used. It seemed more fitting. She could spend her last moments in the quiet of her own room; with the thrill of her parents, to whom she imagined herself as a disgrace; being right outside and not knowing her fate. The anticipation of how they would wail, on seeing her motionless, the next morning; her body cold to their touch, gave her a kind of savage pleasure. The shocked look on her ex-boyfriend’s face; the heavy hearts of the few friends she had and the laments which would follow– it all captivated her; a shameful titillation.

Bathed in half darkness, she gazed outside her bedroom window; her mind blank and eyes dry.

Night had fallen quickly as was the custom during the day of the Winter Solstice; leaving very little time for the dusk to preen herself with myriad colors. The window panes had a silvery sheen and the trees beyond it seemed to sway impossibly; the frost was refracting the meager light from the streetlamps. People jostled along the pavement trodden with bags and the likes; the effect of guilt-free shopping as Christmas was around the corner. Though ensconced in heavy winter clothes; the people didn’t mind the cold at all. They tittered and laughed merrily as if an invisible sun shined on them; warming them up and instilling happy thoughts. Perhaps they knew that today was the last of the long cold nights and tomorrow the day would be a little bit longer; the rays of the sun extending a bit more to touch those hibernating seeds, thirsty for sunlight. Maybe they had the hearts to believe that after the solstice, the seemingly distant sun turned back to nourish life after the bleak winter; year on year - a perennial cycle of nature.

Oblivious to all this unspoken wisdom around her, she stood up and felt her head sway from side to side; vision blurred. She sighed continuously and realized she wasn’t sighing but was breathing with labored gasps. Her chest felt heavy but otherwise an uncomfortable floating sensation overwhelmed her; confusing her senses.

She had prepared herself for all the possible psychological effects of suicide; all but one.

Loneliness.

She could faintly hear her mother speak followed by her father’s deep voice replying. She had never noticed before; how their voices were a cocoon of safety, warmth and re-assurance. Their voices embodied all that was right in the world. Parents, a family, a home.

Suddenly she wanted to see her mother; cry out – tell that she wanted her to love her. That she wanted to be the daughter whom her parents would feel proud of, all their lives. That she would quit drugs; focus on her studies and turn back on her dark days. But she had already taken a decision, already on the road to death; fast approaching the final destination and didn’t know how to turn back.

Her legs were giving away, she slammed against the wall and slid down it helplessly. The doorknob was only a few yards above her but her hands wouldn’t obey and flopped lifelessly to her side. She chanted a low “am sorry...am sorry” over and over, until she lost control of her tongue and lisped incoherently.

It had been years since she prayed. Her foggy mind recollected that she had done so when she was 8 or 9 years old. Her pet dog Sunshine had injured herself in an accident and had miraculously survived.

And, she closed her eyes for what may be permanent and prayed.

A low mumble of voices kept irritating her, she tried to focus on the words but they were just that – a mumble. A light grew brighter behind her eyelids and it simultaneously piqued and scared her. A solid crust of gound had formed in the corners of her eyes, fusing together the eyelashes and she struggled to open her eyes. The first thing that came into her focus was the sunlight; warm and toasty and the winter nip, completely non-existent. The tree right in front of her window had a few tender leaves shooting up and its shadow was not as long and creepy as it had been a few days ago. The sky was more blue than white and she felt herself cleaner as if she was being abjured of all her sins by the oncoming summer. The winter was almost over.

Looking around, she found her parents clasping each other’s hands, staring at her; tears welled up and lips aquiver. She smiled her first true smile in years and then broke down in tears; she never knew she had.

She had gone to the irrevocable and extreme low point in her life and had lived to tell about it.

Now, it was time to turn around.

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