Saturday, September 06, 2008


I've been thinking about Elliot recently
Or perhaps, more correctly, about the events surrounding that time.
Elliot stuck his head into a gas oven when he was twenty, or maybe twenty-one.
Of course it was all over a girl; a girl who dropped him.
All because he was never enough; or so he thought.

I went to his funeral; we all did.
Tags, Tim, and many of those who worked with him at the ODT.
They played Genesis; I still cant listen to "In it too Deep", or "Throwing it all away" without being teleported back to that time and space.
There was an open casket; baptism by fire, my first funeral without family. People touched him; said "Goodbye Mate"; stuff like that. I didn't know what to say really; mumbled goodbye. Wasn't sure what to feel.

Thinking about it now I realize what an arsehole he was.
I wonder, what possessed me back then to think that giving it all away over a girl was romantic in some way?
I now put those feelings down to being twenty; being twenty lasted a while with me. Truth is, part of me will always be twenty.

Debbie was there too; outside the funeral home. I went to school with her; she was one of the cool kids: we never really talked.
I was looking at my feet; we all were - this was all our first funeral - we didn't know what to say.
I looked up at Debbie - she was a mess. Two friends were holding her up.
Our eyes met and locked. She was 8 meters away, but it might as well have been 8 miles. I didn't know what to say.
She howled, as if I had accused her of all this. She turned from me, sagged on her friends shoulders as they led her away. I always feel I let her down; she was left to pick up the pieces, while I just went back to work.

If I wasn't twenty I would have done something. I would have walked up to her; bridged the chasm of cliques, and hugged her, told here it wasn't her fault: if I wasn't twenty.

Elliot may have taken his life; but he had no right to take hers as well.
But like I said - he was an arsehole. You have to think of the consequences.

I have; ever since.


Deadlyjelly said...

What a terrible thing. I often wonder how friends or family recover from a loved ones suicide. You are correct in saying it destroys more than one life.

But I hope to goodness someone doesn't take their own life 'over a girl'. Most pe.ople experience that paruticular loss/devastation and survive to tell the tale. I remember being so cut up over a boy I was sure I was doomed to eternal misery.

Yet it never once occurred to me to take my own life.

In many cases, there's more going on: depression, mental illness, who knows what. All an agnostic can think of to say is: god help them and those they leave behind

Mark J said...

Elliot was a nice guy, but in my humble opinion Debbie's world was were he wanted to be, and she was the ticket to him getting there - becoming a different person in the process.
When she left him the chasm between their worlds was perhaps too far to navigate. In the end he didn't even try. More likely he couldn't see himself ever getting there without her.
So - In the end it wasn't so much about Debbie - but his own lack of self esteem.

Jacie said...

Beautifully written Mark and now thanks to you Debbie and Elliot's lives matter more as everyone who reads about their tragedy will feel compassion for Debbie's pain and for Elliot's sad and wasted life

Jule's Euro-Arabic Short Story said...

I lost a good friend to suicide a few year ago. Over a woman and his lack of self worth, he was 46 so some things don't change over time. I always wonder if I had sent the text I was going to the weekend before whether he would still be here. I miss him, feel angry at him for the terrible waste.

Mark J said...

I'm never sure why we sometimes get so caught up in another person, and by doing so, make such bad decisions. Love has a lot to answer for, but I'm still looking regardless.

Anonymous said...

This blog entry touched me. It has taken me over 20 years to figure out how much of my friend's suicide was my fault and how much it was just being 20. I wasn't faultless and have often wanted to follow him, but the next day I was walking on a street that was scented with pine needles after the rain and I sent the prayer "this is what you are missing. With or without me you could have had this precious moment".

I found you via my friend Fridaville, then Di Mackey.
You are all such bright lights and comfort for me.

Mark J said...

Thank you for the lovely comment.
I'm sorry that you've been left with the remnants of someone else's burden for so long. While it's true that we often cause others pain, we have to learn to forgive ourselves eventually.
Men are crap at letting go - that's our fault; not yours.

By the way, I just wanted to say how well I thought you wrote. I hope you have a blog somewhere out there - you have a real talent. Come back again.