She looked down blinking back tears. Her hair fell into her face. Nobody knew something was wrong, and as far as she was concerned they didn’t care either. “Hey Cassidy, is something wrong?” Her friend Matt asked touching her shoulder. She blinked again and looked up forcing a smile; “Nope nothing Matt.” She wanted to tell him the truth she really did. She wanted to tell him she was broken and sad. She wanted to tell him everything and have him hold her close and tell her everything was going to be okay, but she didn’t tell him. How could she? He was her best friend, but she didn’t want to burden him. She bit her lip and shook her head to clear the sadness. “Hey, Cass, what are you thinking about?” He asked playfully poking her in the side. She pulled away from him laughing. “Don’t tickle me you jerk!” She playfully shoved him. “Then tell me what’s on your mind!” He exclaimed shoving her back. “I, I just need to write is all.” She said looking away. She hated lying, especially to him, her best friend. “You better let me see it when you’re done!” She smiled. “I don’t know about that.” She hugged her old green notebook to her chest. Her writing was her escape, well, it was more than that. When she wrote, she was herself; she kept no secrets from her writing. She couldn’t, the words were like her mirror. They showed what nobody else saw. She hid behind her words, although she couldn’t hide from them. “Come on Cass, you’re good at writing you have to let me see.” He tickled her playfully and she laughed at him. “Fine, I’ll send it to you after I type it up tonight ok?” She said, secretly hoping she could come up with something cheerier to send him. “Deal” he smiled at her and she smiled back. “Come here,” he pulled her close hugging her tightly. “I’ll talk to you when I get home okay, Matt?” She questioned as she reached her car, “Sounds good talk to you later Cass.” He waved to her as she threw her stuff in the back and got behind the wheel.
She drove quickly home and rushed up to her room barely stopping to say “hi” to her mom. She threw her stuff down on her bedroom floor. She sat on her bed staring down at her notebook. She flipped it open and laughed at herself. Her childish handwriting and horrible spelling filled the fires few pages. She skimmed over some of her old poems from when she was in middle school before she started feeling depressed. They were so free, so innocent. What had changed? Her face fell, as she flipped another page, she found it, the turning point. There was no obvious reason; it was like a switch had been flipped. She read a couple of her darker ones. She began to cry. Tears splashed down on her notebook pages. She flipped to a blank page and grabbed her pen.
I cannot carry on.
Pretending I’m okay.
I’m not, I’m not.
But, I’m not okay.
I’m not, I’m not.
Pretending is killing me.
Being hurt is crushing me.
I want to escape.
Words are not enough.
I can’t hold on.
I can’t pretend I’m okay.
I’m not, I’m not.
I’m escaping this pain tonight.
I have to make it stop.
I can’t pretend, because,
I AM NOT OKAY.
Tears streamed down her cheeks as she wrote the last four lines. She knew it would never get better. Nobody knew she was upset, nobody cared she was upset. She had been like this almost two years now and nobody noticed, because nobody cared. She closed her notebook and laid it down on her book case. She stood up walked to the bathroom and picked up an almost full pill bottle. She walked back to her room and stared at the bottle in her hand. How had it come to this? She blinked back tears. There had been no cutting, nothing wrong. She had nothing wrong, well almost nothing, there was one girl at school who was kind of horrible to her, but that was just one person. She should be able to handle that. No tears were shed because of that girl it normally wasn’t too horrible, what she did. Was she the reason? No, she wasn’t. What was? How had she fallen this far? She didn’t know, all she knew was, it had come this far and not even her best friend knew. She was done pretending. She took a deep breath and popped the lid off the pill bottle. She stared down at the little pills. Was this really it? Yes, she was done. She took a deep breath and dumped the entire contents into her mouth. She choked down the pills, all hundred and fifty of them. Then it hit her, she really was going to die. A moment of panic hit her. Was this what she wanted? Then she saw her notebook. She'll took a deep breath and calmed herself. Yes, this was what she wanted, she wanted to die. Calmly, she put the lid back on the empty bottle and set it on her headboard. With that she lay down and pulled her blanket over herself. She closed her eyes never to open them again.
It was over right? That’s the end of Cassidy’s story. She’s dead how could there be more? There was so much she never considered when she was sitting there.
Matt stared at his chat on his computer. He was practically willing the little grey circle next to Cassidy’s name to turn green so he could talk to her. Something was off with her. He could tell. She didn’t seem to want to tell him though. He hadn’t asked he didn’t push her for an answer either. He just tried to be there for her when she decided she wanted to talk to him. He looked from her name on his screen to his phone, she hadn’t sent him a text or called him and she was offline. Almost an hour and a half had passed since they had seen each other at school. He picked up his phone and dialed her number. If she was just busy she’d hit the end button on her phone and send him to voice mail and then text him. Her phone kept ringing, and then clicked over to her cheery voice mail. He frowned as he heard the beep for him to leave a message. “Hey Cassidy, it’s me, Matt, I don’t know why you didn’t answer me but call me or text me or get online or something. I’m worried about you, and there’s something I really need to talk to you about.” He pulled the phone away from his ear and hit the red end button on his phone. A sick feeling settled into his stomach as he set his phone back down on his desk and turned his attention back to his report.
Another hour passed. Still no sigh of Cassidy. He didn’t know she had killed herself over three hours ago. He looked down at his phone again and called her number a second time. It rang and rang. With each ring he felt a little bit sicker. “Hey, this is Cassidy, I can’t answer my phone right now, but I’d love to hear from you, leave me a message and I’ll get back to you when I can. Thanks!” He frowned and listened to the beep. “Cass, please, please, please, call me.” He said before hanging up. Still unable to shake the sick feeling in his stomach he went to the kitchen. His mom worked on making dinner. “What is it Hun?” She asked seeing the conflicted look on her son’s face. “Just a bad feeling mom” He replied as he grabbed a soda out of the fridge. He returned to his room and picked up his phone again. He pulled up his contact list and found Cassidy’s home number in his phone. He was just barely desperate enough to call it. He hit the send button. It rang three times before her mom answered. “Hello?” Her voice came through clear. “Hello, Mrs. Raymond, its Matt, is Cassidy around?" He held his breath waiting for her response. “Oh, hello Matt, yes, she’s just up in her room, I’ll get her for you.” Matt let out a long low sigh of relief. He could hear a light knock on Cassidy’s door, there was no response. Mrs. Raymond walked in then said. “Matt, it seems Cassie fell asleep.” Matt frowned feeling a little sick again. “Cassie, wake up sweetie.” Mrs. Raymond said. There was no response from Cassidy. Matt listened intently as Mrs. Raymond put her hand on Cassidy’s arm. “Matt,” she said into the mouthpiece sounding worried. “I’ll have her call you back.” Before Matt could even respond the line went dead. His heart sank to the bottom of his stomach as he began to pace around his room.
Mrs. Raymond put her fingers onto her daughter’s cold neck. Then looked up and saw the bottle. She picked it up and shook the empty bottle. Tears ran down her cheeks. She had no idea her daughter was upset or depressed. She looked at the phone in her hand and dialed 911 slowly. The operator sounded oddly chipper to Mrs. Raymond as she informed the woman of the situation. She was told an ambulance would be there shortly and hung up.
Matt couldn’t sit still any longer, Cassidy lived near him, he grabbed his keys and his jacket and left. As he pulled into Cassidy’s driveway nothing seemed out of place. He rushed up to the door and hit the bell. Mrs. Raymond appeared seconds later pale white and tears streaming down her face. Cassidy’s siblings sat silently on the floor nobody was talking or moving. “Matt, Cassidy, is dead.” Her words hit him like a ton of bricks. In an almost daze he pushed past Mrs. Raymond and ran up the stairs into Cassidy’s room. She was covered with her quilt which he yanked away to revel her pale face. He saw the bottle on the floor where Mrs. Raymond had dropped it. He dropped to his knees and hugged Cassidy’s cold lifeless body then stood and wiped his tears. He picked up her notebook and stormed out of the room.
Downstairs the kids were silently watching some movie and Mrs. Raymond was in the kitchen. Matt walked to her and hugged her. As soon as he had released her he asked, “May I take Cassidy’s notebook for a bit?” A faint smile appeared on her tired worn face. “Keep it, she would have wanted you to.” He smiled and left as the ambulance, lights flashing pulled up. Matt didn’t even notice, he got into his jeep and drove away.
He drove for a bit without thinking then pulled into a parking spot in a park. He picked up the notebook and flipped through it he found her last poem. He read it, tears running down his cheeks. He reached down and picked up a pen and flipped to the next page and started writing.
Cassidy, I knew something was wrong. You wouldn’t tell me. You didn’t tell anyone. I let you go on pretending. I didn’t say a word. I care, I always cared. You could have come to me. You should have come to me, said something, anything. Then again, I pretended I didn’t notice. I’m sorry Cass, you were, and you still are. I failed you. Cass, I’m sorry. How can I undo this? How can I bring you back? I’m sorry, I’ll always be sorry. I just want you back Cass. Did you think about me when you swallowed those pills? Did you think of your mom, your dad, your sisters? What about me Cass? Why didn’t you tell me? Cassidy, I was there, I was right there. You could have called me, emailed me texted me something. Why didn’t you Cass? What drove you to this? I’m so sorry I failed you Cass. I promise never to fail anyone again; I won’t let you die for nothing. I love you Cassidy Raymond. You meant the world to me how could you not tell me? I am so sorry I failed you. Good bye my sweet Cassidy. Love Matt
His tears hit the page and blurred the ink. He really had failed Cass, if only he had said something, or she had. Her parents, her siblings, Matt and others at school, they loved her and cared. She was too blind to see it, and everyone else was too blind to care. So Cassidy died, because she didn’t say anything, but then again neither did anyone else. They were there seconds away but nobody did anything.
Don’t lose your Cassidy say something, do something.
Don't be a Cassidy, say something; the people around you love you.