The morning after I killed myself, I woke up.
I splashed myself with cold water, and walked over to my dollhouse kitchen to make a cup of hot green tea in my favorite green ceramic mug. I cut myself avocados, laid them across my toast, and sprinkled it with pepper. My brother was still asleep, his covers crumpled under half his body and a leg hanging off the edge. He was dreaming of his favorite thing about the previous day, and that made me smile, as I tucked him back under the protection of his blanket.
The morning after I killed myself, I fell in love.
Not once, but many times. Not with one person, but with multiple. I fell in love with my mom and the way she looked like the happiest woman in the world when she laughed at us, and how from sitting behind her in the car it looked as if she was always smiling because her cheekbones were so high. I fell in love with the way she wiped her eyes with the top of her wrist, as the steam and aroma from the hot food she cooked, floated upwards. I fell in love with my dad and the way he walked through the backyard, moving his hands around as he played out important discussions in his head. I fell in love with my brother and the way he tried to talk to us about CNN news at over the dinner table every night. I fell in love with the way he would impatiently say my name as his eyes lit up, wanting to tell me something that excited him, or that he found funny. I fell in love with a little girl I caught dancing with her sister outside 85, on the way back from my math class. I fell in love with the curly-haired boy in my English class my freshman year, who sheepishly told me he switched back and forth from British and American accents from time to time, because it was just something that was a part of him. I fell in love with my best friend and the way she got so passionate about the importance of history and what she learned from her AP history class, over a Skype call after midnight. I fell in love with everyone I ever met, and saw them as entire galaxies, complex and burning bright yet simple at the same time. Because people are beautiful. People are beautiful.
The morning after I killed myself, I recognized kindness.
I recognized it when there were more than one million words in the English language to choose from, but every time, my neighbors chose the kindest ones. I recognized it in the mother I saw sitting outside the café on a bench, running her elegant fingers through her teenage daughter’s hair, who was telling her about her worries. I recognized it when a homeless lady gave another homeless man all the money she had made that day, simply because he had a daughter to feed. I found kindness in my friend when she ran to the Starbucks across the street to comfort a woman she did not know who was crying after her autistic son had a tantrum.
The morning after I killed myself, I took a walk.
I sauntered along the street, and I saw the bright green leaves of the sugar gum trees, that in a few months would turn gold and orange. The birds were chirping their warbling melodies, and the cool air was feeding my lungs. The sun was still rising, and the sky had a little bit of orange in one corner, and a little bit of pink in another. I sat down on the bleachers of my school, and waited for the sunrise to unfold.
The morning after I killed myself, I held my beautiful grandma’s hands.
I felt how small and cold they were, but what warmth they still preserved as her fingers tightly held mine. My fingers grazed the top of fists, the bumpy veins giving them a delicate texture. I saw the four golden bangles she had never taken off of her left wrist, and I wondered how many dishes those hands had washed, how many clothes they had folded, and how many meals they had made.
The morning after I killed myself, I watched a live symphony.
I sat dazed, in view of the wine-red instruments in front of me, from the contented mold of my chair. I listened to the beautiful wavelengths of sound being produced right in front of me, the music creating my sanctuary. The conductor created the loudest expression of music on stage, despite making no sound. His arms waved as wildly as the sea, but was no less graceful than an ebbing tide. I looked at the depth of the basses, the elegance of the cellos, the poise of the violins, and the dignity of the viola. The fingers of the cellists slid up and down, the strings undulating with every phrase. A pulse was beating within my own veins, and as long the piece lasted, I was the music.
The morning after I killed myself, I looked in the mirror.
I saw my almond-shaped eyes, and how my eyelashes outlined them perfectly. I saw the vertebrae of my spine, and how they looked like a line of marbles, across my back. I saw the curls on the top of my head that I’d hated when I was younger, because they stuck out as if I had my own atmosphere around my head. I saw my knuckles, and how they separated into mountains and valleys. I saw the beauty mark on my left ankle, and the dimple that formed when I smiled. I looked in the mirror, and I finally fell in love with what I saw.
The morning after I killed myself, I tried to get back.
I tried to talk sense into a girl who had made a horrible mistake. I told her about the avocados, and the valleys and mountains that appeared every time she crumpled her fists. I told her about how beautiful her mom was when she laughed, and how warm it felt to hold her grandma’s hands. I told her about how her brother said he always dreamt about his favorite thing about the previous day, and how her friends had so much kindness in them. I told her about the green leaves scattered over the ground, and the pink parts of sunsets. I told her about the orchestra where she would find peace, and the shy boy who switched accents.
May your tea be just the right temperature when you take a sip, and may you happen to glance through the window just when the rays of light are falling perfectly. May you lock eyes with someone just as they send you a warm smile, and may you turn on the radio just as your favorite song starts. May you love the ink pen you pick up, as it glides across paper smoothly, and may you pick up a novel to read that changes your thoughts on something important.
Inspired by Meggie Royer's "The Morning After I Killed Myself"