I'm the unfortunate owner of memories of two people that I was friends with, both deciding that life wasn't for them. Very different scenarios, but they both still…..hit my memory. An event from a few weeks ago kicked this off - bear with me.
The first was at senior school (so about 14-15 ish for those that are perhaps unfortunate enough to be American). There was a guy I knew in the peripheries of our group - peripheries, someone who's about and you'd said hello to on the street, but perhaps not actually go around to their house to see if they want to play out.
I got home one day to quite the buzz around - Peter (his name wasn't Peter) - had decided that life was so overwhelming he'd rather not be in it. So, he successfully completed his plan and chose not to be in it.
As young kid, it was fairly hard to get your head around. I was full of the aspiration of what's next, and yet here was somebody who just decided no. As a youngster myself I found it quite confusing. I couldn't relate to it. Then - I did what most of my age would do, I moved on.
Bringing things up to the present I was the unfortunate receiver of a phone call that broke me. Somebody whom I have been, had been, incredibly close to for what seemed like my entire life had made a similar decision. Not going on was a better choice than continuing.
Think about that. Not going on was a better choice than continuing.
To this day I remember how I felt, what I could taste, what I was wearing. It broke me. I felt like I spent the next few months crying, and feeling that I'd let them down something terrible. This was me, it was my fault.
Do you know what particularly ruined me? I had no idea. None.
I look back and think coulda/woulda/shoulda. Where's there anything that could have given me an indication…? You know, the downside of over-analysis? Possibly some stuff, but nothing tangible. I imagine the reverse scenario where I may have cried on her shoulder when some beautifully selected blonde had not appreciated my awesome.
Apart from the obvious fact of being massively, massively wrong….I thought my friend was OK but had a few life challenges. We'd had a few 'oh my god life is so rubbish' moments, usually shared rather than being particularly one sided.
Then it happened. That phone call. All of a sudden every conversation we'd ever had slotted in, and while I'll never be able to understand, it did lead me to think … Oh my god.
This is a fragile world we live in. Problems that some of us take in our stride can be overwhelming to another.
This was all bought to a fore for me recently when I had a rather upset daughter to deal with. A school friend had decided that they couldn't cope. Nathan Martin. As a side note, for those that know my daughter please don't tag her in this.
I'd met Nathan a few times, or rather I had memory of him - those that know me will understand the difference. He was a nice enough kid. He did seem a little….misplaced. Like he'd not quite found his equilibrium. But you know, teenage boy.
Yet he felt the choice he made was better than the alternative. Think about that for a minute.
Yeah, horrific isn't it.
I struggle with life sometimes, as I'm sure life struggles with me. I don't socialise well, it takes me a long time to accept people. I'm usually the one staring blankly when there's a room full of 'oh my god did he just even say that'. I'm not proud of this. People interact in ways I will never really get a handle on, in my mind my primary goal is to be able spot that hurt sometimes people have when I've said something ridiculously inappropriate, and probably misread anyway.
I will say this though. If anyone who reads this thinks this world doesn't care who you are - you are wrong. Reach out, say hi.
I'll do my best to show you how wrong you are.