We live on a hill above a high school. On weekends the all-American cheer of football games rises, the coach's whistle, a brass band. At night sometimes music gropes its way up our hill, songs that I am no longer familiar with, voices I have never heard. I sit in our backyard with my eyes closed, remembering slow dancing.
In the past six years five students from that school have committed suicide.
This is not a post about depression. Nor is it yet another post about how my life sucks right now, the economy, my house, unemployment, the last Oreo cookie. Or at least not in the usual sense. This is a post about hope. If I leave my house at just the right time in the morning, or just the wrong time depending on perspective, I get caught in the traffic of these kids. BMW's, Audi's, awkward girls in tight jeans with even tighter asses making a twelve point turnabout to park a tank of an SUV. The boys, they look so serious in their studied disregard. What do I think the world owes me anyhow? A good job, a house, nice car, cute clothes. This is my birthright, right? The daughter of a middleclass family raised in a county renowned for its affluence. I was born with brown eyes and brown hair, the keys to a mortgage I cannot pay clenched tight in one baby fist. For the past few weeks we have been sitting on the floor in front of our fireplace at night, refugees of a lifestyle we can no longer afford. Zoey sits in my lap, her fat fingers playing in the pool of my clavicle. Over her head Bryan and I discuss what to do next. What to do at all, the fire warming our faces. Last week my town held a forum dedicated to the families of the children lost to suicide. Eat dinner with your children. Avoid overscheduling. Define expectations for success. Parents leaned in closer for the answers. But what do we do? Soon it will be lacrosse season, the noisiest season of them all. The clack of the sticks resonates up the hill all afternoon during the week, on weekends. Cars line the street like shiny tin soldiers, parents watching the games, watching practice, watching. I watch Zoey play pirate. Argh! she says to Nacho, her small voice full of gravel. Argh! she says to her mermaid, making a muscle with one arm. Argh! to Elmo, to daddy, to nobody. Argh. The curve of her cheek pitches me forward, plump skin and wet shining eyes. Tonight my dad is coming over and we will eat dinner with her. Tomorrow together we will do nothing. Argh. It is not too late for us, for me. To define our expectations of success. We are 72.8% water, and yet we are born full. "The Person You Love" poster found here.
I am going to check this book out of the library.