Dark Place


Desiree’s father didn’t understand why she didn’t wear make-up or dresses, or even attempt to look feminine, and she could care less. If he wanted her to be a girly girl, he should have sent her to some private school, where that kind of thing is popular. Desiree went to public school, and it was a lot like life. There were a lot of assholes and a few nice people. The teachers were like bosses. Most of them arrogant know-it-alls that really knew nothing.

She pondered taking another cookie, and before she could decide, her mind was racing off in another direction. Desiree decided that even if she did attend a private school, she probably wouldn’t be a girly girl with the make-up and dresses. There was a dark place in her soul. People with dark places in their soul don’t shine in public. The darkness draws them to the shadows.

Desiree flipped back to her thoughts about school and how it was survival of the fittest. That is way camouflage pants were appropriate. Skull and crossbones were a universal sign of poison, so it was her way of saying hands off, don’t mess with me or you might die. Her father always accused her of trying to be “Black” to fit in, which was stupid. She was just aware of what life was on the streets. She saw it in the lives of her friends, and the deaths of a few of them.

She knew that one in ten teenagers think about committing suicide, and every year half a million actually attempt it. She knew that nine other teenagers were safe. She didn’t bring her friends around, because she lived in a nice, upper middle class home with her Dad. Most of her friends lived in slums and tenements. She felt guilty for having a better place in life than them. It wasn’t fair. But they didn’t know the price she paid for that upper middle class life.

Her mother had run off when she was just three years old, and Desiree could hardly remember her. She never made any attempts to see her daughter or send cards on holidays. She never even wrote one letter in the thirteen years she’d been gone. Desiree wondered if she was even alive. If she wasn’t, then that would be an allowable excuse for not ever writing. Nothing else would be forgivable.

Her father was a successful investment counselor, and that was why they could live this way in a single income family. But it seemed he was married to his business, now that her mother was gone. When calls came in, she was shushed and shoved out of the room to the nanny. She never felt she was more important to her Dad than those phone calls from strangers. Now that he had a steady girlfriend, she just felt like baggage from her father’s previous life. He tried to make her feel important, and bought her nice things, but he didn’t giver her time or self confidence. She was even ashamed to wear the nice things he bought because they would be stolen from her at school or she would be made fun of for wearing them. It was a lose – lose proposition. Her life was a lose – lose proposition.

Desiree was a smart girl. She did well in school, but not well enough to attract attention. That was by design. She knew her father had a gun, and that was the most common form of suicide. It accounted for 60% of all suicides in the United States, and 80% of the suicides by white males. The second most common method is by hanging for men, and drug overdose or poisoning for women. The idea of a gun or hanging didn’t really appeal to her, and though taking enough drugs to just drift off to sleep and never wake up sounded good too many failed to do it right. They just ended up in the hospital and therapy for the rest of their lives.

Jumping from a tall building had a strange appeal to her. It offered several advantages. Almost nobody ever survived if they chose a tall enough building. You also had a few seconds before you died to tidy up your affairs with God. If suicide is a sin, but you ask for forgiveness in the few seconds after you jump, wouldn’t that wipe out the sin? It made sense in a strange way.