Disclaimer: I do not struggle with depression or suicidal thoughts. This was merely the prompt I was given and I tried my best to follow it. Forgive me if it was a little inaccurate to any degree, I have no personal expression with the subject. So, if this is a sensitive topic for you, you should probably skip over this. Also, if you do struggle with this, please talk to someone. You matter. Your life matters. Reach out and a hand will take yours. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.
It wasn’t overnight, I witnessed this.
Belva was part of a group I had started within our dance troupe. Being homeschooled, dance was one of the social connections I treasured. We would compete on occasion, but our studio mainly did large scale performances for our town. Ballet, hip-hop, contemporary; you name it, we had it.
Now, I was in the upper ranks of the studio and one of the best dancers there. I’m not prideful or constantly boasting, but I knew where my skills were. So, I enjoyed helping out the lower levels with their dances and developing their techniques. Among my friend group, I earned the label ‘Dance Mum’. Of course, in the best manner possible that the term could indicate.
So that’s how I met Belva on one day that a new group of students came in. She was placed in my level where everyone became fascinated with her style. It merged ballet with contemporary and a splash of free-style dance. Belva became a favorite to watch and partner with in the coming weeks. She was lively, funny, and always willing to learn.
A year passed and I was sensing a change in her. Somehow whenever she came into the studio for class or returned from her dorm room, a cloud was covering her expression. Her laughter was bright for a moment, but damp and dull sounding just as her smile seemed made of porcelain.
“Oh! Sorry, Adi. Lost in thought again, I suppose,” I barely recovered from my mental wanderings and distracted myself with taping up my feet. Adi, one of my friends, just quirked a blonde eyebrow at me. “Whatever you say, just please tell me you remember your dance with Jay today. It was odd for you to blank out like you did yesterday.”
“I know. It’s probably just stress, I’ll be okay.” I reassured her with a grin before standing up to begin stretching. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Belva place her bag in the furthest corner of the studio next to the costumes. Day after day, she placed herself further and further away from the group. It baffled me, why was she doing it and why did nobody ask other than me?
I should check on her tonight and make sure she’s okay.
Class seemed to pass over my mind like the wind over a meadow. I could recall dancing with my partner Jay. I saw the room spin before my eyes as I visualized myself flying above them all. Like a firefly, madly floating through the air to find…, something. I wanted to shed my little light upon the path below me for someone to follow. My imagination encouraged my body to move with Jay and the music.
The sound of the toaster oven finishing dragged my mind back to reality. I was in the dorm’s kitchen, making a midnight snack of buttered toast and warm milk. Simple? Yes, just enough for me. I finished setting up my little tray with flowers from the window plant and started to make my way to my room. Thankfully, I was on the first floor so navigating my way through the darkness was no hard task. My eyes adjusted swiftly to the black abyss as if they were little amber lanterns guiding my way.
I was about pry open my door, which I had left ajar, when I noticed a door down the hall was alight. From my memory of the dorm assignments, it was Belva’s room. The door was shut but her light crept out form under it like a hand reaching out to grasp something it could not see.
A knot formed in my stomach and an unknown sense of urgency quickened my heartbeat. “Belva?” The whisper escaped my lips. Placing my tray down with as little noise as possible, I ran down the hallway. I don’t know why, but I decided to forgo knocking and try opening the door. It was unlocked. In a frenzy of strange peril, I scanned her room for any trace of my dear friend.
I knew thought I’d ever unseen the state her room was in. Marks on the wall like an animal was escaping containment, items scattered and our of place as if a whirlwind had silently invaded her belongings. “Belva?!” I spoke a little louder as dread crawled up my back. My ears, tuned sharply for nightly sounds, caught the final trip of the tap in her bathroom.
I burst inside to find her. Belva was trembling as tears fell down the trail that left behind on her stained cheeks. Her bathtub was a deep pit of water, turned a hideous greenish red from God knows what. Yet my eyes moved to see the most dangerous object in her hand, a plugged-in razor. “Nora,” Her voice echoed from the chasm in my mind. “Will this be my last bath bomb?”
It clicked in my mind. I had to say something, I needed to make my presence a reality to her if her eyes thought she was dreaming. I felt the depths of my soul cry aloud to me for aid. I spoke up;
Suicide Prevention Hotline: tel:1-800-273-8255