Wake Up

By: Lisa Morris

So… this is what Death feels like. I thought I knew who Death was ever since I was a young girl and my father took me into his room and beat me until I became unconscious then proceeded to rape me. That happened multiple times before but the first time it happened, I thought for sure Death came into my room when Daddy threw me back in after he was done with me. I thought that Death visited me in the hospital when I aborted my unwanted child. I thought that He came when I started working in strip clubs and bars trying to gain the attention of older men… kinda like Daddy. I tried everything to “fix” or “cure” my insecurities of how I was never enough. Ever since Mama died, I never felt love. All I felt was Death. He became my only friend.

The time I thought for sure He had come was when my fiance, the only true lover I ever had, left me for another girl who was more “stable”. I looked at the bottle of oxycontin with tears staining my face and sighed shakily. I took the whole bottle in one setting but shortly after, I fell to the tile flooring of my bathroom and knocked down some of the other bottles in the medicine cabinet as well as toothbrushes and toothpaste, at least that’s what I was told. It was a miracle that the oxycontin didn’t kill me that night as much as I took. I guess Death fell asleep on the job. Anyways, someone heard all the noise, I guess and came over. When they saw me, they called the hospital and took me to the ER then left once I was with the doctors. I still don’t know who that guy is but I call him my “Secret Admirer”, aka the only help I ever got in life. But we all know that I would never have one of those. Not now. Not ever.

However, I was wrong in all those situations. This is what Death feels like. Standing on an abandoned bridge in the middle of fall where people are usually inside cuddled up to their lovers and watching sweet romantic movies or classic horror films and eating popcorn by a fireplace. Standing on that ledge and looking down into the great abyss of drowned sorrows, I realized that Death was in every situation of my life. But He was also right here, right now and more present than ever before.

That’s when I heard it. A voice. I thought Death was ready to take me now but no, it was a sweet voice. A sweet, unexpected voice coming from a sweet, delicate yet strong looking man. I kept my gaze on the waters below trying to drown the voice of safety and security out. Why? I’m not so sure now. If only I had truly listened to that voice.

“Hey there.”

I kept my head down hoping the man would just leave me be to kill myself in peace.

“You know I’m not going to do that Esther.”

I turned around at the sweet sounding voice with tears streaming down my face.

“How do you know my name? More importantly, how can you read my thoughts or whatever that thing was you just did?”

“Because Esther, I am the Death Angel. The one who you could’ve sworn was keeping you company all those years of your life. I actually did, you know. But not in the way that most people would expect.”

I looked at Death while wearing the confused look upon my face quite well. I looked to see what He was wearing. It confused me when I saw His navy blue suit with delicately professional looking dark brown leather shoes. He has the same colored blue tie with maroon stripes on it and hints of brown and the same pattern in His dress square in His right pocket. His hair was trimmed and cut neatly like something you’d see from the 1920’s: that usual “cut real short around the sides but faded as you get closer to the top which is pretty long kinda like a mop on the top” look. I usually don’t pay attention to how people look or talk to me but this is the Death Angel; you can’t not attention to Him. Besides, it’s not everyday you see the Death Angel in person. I realized that I was still looking very confused at Him and He chuckled. I guess I forgot He could hear what I was thinking.

“You see, Esther, most people in today’s world commercializes death and particularly the Death Angel. Y’all have a special day where most people dress up like this dark, grim creature with a fiery sword trying to take the souls of many. But that’s not the truth at all. It’s very far from it.”

Death started to walk a little closer to me.

“Don’t come any closer or I’ll jump!”

He threw up His hands in surrender and stood dead still in place (no pun intended).

“Now, how did you accompany me all these years like you claim?”

“Oh Esther, I’m the one who kept you safe. I was the one who pleaded with you to not take those pills that night when Jon left you for someone he thought was more “sane”, to be exact in his wording. I was the one who cried with you when Terrell made you abort your precious child! I was that voice. And I’m still that voice that you keep pushing away!”

“Then why weren’t You there when my dad raped and abused me then?! Huh?! Why weren’t You there when Bryce left me all alone to face Daddy by myself? Why are You here now? When it’s all too late…”

I turned my head away from him. I couldn’t stand for those sweet eyes to be piercing into my soul any longer. I had to get away. I looked at the deep waters below with longing. I closed my eyes and prepared myself for what was to become of me in the afterlife.

“You don’t want to do that, Esther.”

I scoffed and opened my eyes while looking out at the waters.

“Again, the reading my mind thing? And why not… You can’t save me. God can’t save me. No one can save me. It’s not like anyone wants to anyways. Besides, do You even have a name? Seems kinda depressing for You to just be called ‘Death’”.

“My name is Andrew and I have been sent by God, the One who wants to save you and always has wanted to. And He has, even though you don’t acknowledge it.”

I kept my gaze on the cold waters below. The waters seemed to paint a picture of the day Daddy went to jail. The day he began to serve his life sentence. The day that everyone swore was going to make everything better but in fact made everything much worse.

“You think it was because of something you did?”

Andrew was much closer now. Perhaps even right behind me but just back a little ways so that He wouldn’t trigger me to jump, I guess.

“If only You knew how it was… how everyone at school acted, how Daddy’s girlfriend acted, how Terrell acted…”

I turned around to face Andrew but He was gone. So much for wanting to save me.

“I’m still here, Esther. I’m not leaving you.”

Andrew was on the ledge with me but sitting down. He looked up at me with tears dwelling in His eyes. It was almost as if he could feel my pain. Even feel my death.

“Esther… you need to voice it out. If you’re angry at God, tell Him. Talk to Him. But don’t go burying it down inside your heart.”

I listened to Andrew’s soft spoken plead. I couldn’t believe the Death Angel would be pleading with me to give up my anger towards Daddy and myself and really everyone else. Little did He know but that anger inside was not just dwelling in my heart; it was my heart. My heart was totally and completely consumed by this anger.

“Andrew, I can’t. I can’t go back there. Don’t make me go back there! I can’t! I can’t do it!”

Andrew looked at me then to His feet at the waters below. Sweet, sweet despair. He nodded His head and then turned and looked sternly at me. Weird. But somehow, I was taken back to that day. That terrible, horrible day.

 

“Esther! Esther get down here! Tell your father goodbye!”
I saw my old self shudder in fear at these venomous words. She was about 15 when it all went down. Her heart skipped a beat. She didn’t know what to do so she just hid under the bed. Jessica came storming up the stairs. She knew she was dead this time. When the police found her the night before, she was practically dead from the beatings and the sexual assault that had been done to her from Daddy. It didn’t get much better when Jessica came home and found Daddy being dragged away from their trailer and into the police car. She acted so surprised and hurt that he would do such a thing to the younger me but when they got inside the house, she took her whip that her and Daddy used when they had one of them nights and beat her until her arms and back tore open. She ran away that night and stayed with Seth. He was always there to help her and even love her. But she didn’t realize it then. I wonder what would’ve happened if she did.

        Anyways, Seth’s parents took my past self to the ER and got her feeling better and even payed for the treatments. She made them promise they wouldn’t tell a soul. But I digress.

Jessica stormed into the bedroom and drug her out from under the bed from her long, dark brown hair. She screamed at her and threw her down the stairs, letting her fall down and many bruises appear on the body. Daddy picked the young girl up and with such a demented kindness, he kissed her on my cheek.

“Look at me, Esther.”

She refused to do so until he grabbed her jaw and forced the girl to look him in his eyes.

“Esther, I love you. You’re so sweet, so beautiful, so undeniably attractive. If I get a life sentence for showing you love then so be it.”

Her entire being began to feel sick. Her body, soul, spirit, everything. Every fiber of her being was sick with disgust and hatred for Daddy. She absolutely hated him. No, actually she didn’t hate him. She abhorred him. But that didn’t stop him from grabbing her and kissing her forcefully.

“Alright. Take me away.”

Why didn’t the officers, Jessica, Bryce, anyone help the poor child? They all just sat there and watched. No one helped her. They blamed her for losing Daddy. Maybe that’s why she could never keep any other man later on in her life. She hated everyone. She hated herself. She hated God. And yes, I still hate everyone… but now it’s more directed towards myself and God. The God who just sat back and watched me. I hate Him.

 

I came back from that horrid memory with tears dripping off my face down to my ripped jeans. I felt a soft, warm hand on mine and I froze. My mind kept reminding me of the way I was abused, the sexual assault, the beatings, the whips, none of it hurt as much as the kisses. The kisses were filled with nothing but twisted sexual perversion. A voice kept trying to bring me out of it. I wanted to jump right then and there but instead, that voice. That same voice that I’ve been hearing for all my life. That sweet, sweet voice kept calling me to sit down. So, I did. I turned to where the voice was coming from. I found Andrew sitting there on the ledge with me, tears staining His bright red cheeks.

“Esther…”

Andrew’s voice broke when He said my name. Why does He care about me so much? Suddenly, I understood. Not why, but I did understand.

“You were… always there…”

“Yes… yes, I was Esther. You were too young to notice or recognize me at the time but I was there. And yes, I was there when Bryce abused you too.”

I looked up at Andrew with shock and horror.

“What do you mean Bryce abused me? Bryce was the one who called the cops that night! He saved my life! How dare you do this to me!”
I stood up quickly and looked down at the waters more intently than I ever have before. The waters held such promise for me then. I wanted to drown out my problems and the voice of the only hope I had ever received. I wanted to drown… well… actually, I wanted to kill. I wanted to kill that voice, kill that hope. I wanted to kill Andrew.

“Esther, you don’t want that…”

“Oh just shut up! You killed Bryce! You let him die and now You’re saying that he abused me?! No! I want you dead!”

“Just listen to me, Esther! You can’t do this!”

“Do what?!”
Andrew sighed. He seemed like the whole world was on His shoulders. He stood up and crossed His hands and held them in front. His stern looks averted to me as Andrew braced Himself for whatever He was going to say next. I wish I did the same.

“Esther… you need to look back at all the situations that you blame God for before making your decision. You were right. I’m not here to save you per sae. I’m here to give you all the information you need before you make your choice… then I’m going to deliver you to whatever you chose: Life or Death.”

I looked at Andrew in a whole new light at that moment. I knew it. He was never there to save me. He was there to make me feel Death before I actually received it. But, nevertheless, I decided to humor Him.

“Fine. Take me through it.”

 

I was trapped in my old room. The one with the old butterflies and flowers stuck in their pots trimming the tops of the walls and the light pink colored walls. The fanciful, dreamy fan that came down and sung lullabies as it spun around and around. I didn’t remember this moment until now. I guess I blocked it out of my mind because I loved Bryce so much. I cared about him so much. I just wanted to make him proud.

     I looked back and found myself sitting on the floor, leaning against my bed crying. She was listening to a song that I couldn’t remember. It caused more and more tears to flow down her face. Then suddenly, hope sounded faintly from the garage. Mom came home. Mom was the only hope she ever had until Mom was killed later on. I remembered Bryce came into my room and told her that she could come out now. She wiped her tears and went into the kitchen as Mom came in with her usual beautiful smile asking her how her day was. She put her fake smile on and told her it was good and clutched onto her tightly as they went into the living room. I remembered now how Bryce acted around Mom. He was so happy and proud to take care of his little sister while knowing how he treated me. He was a very talented deceiver. He deceived my family for years. Everyday after I got home from school, Bryce would grab and yell at me until I ran into my room of safety yet also bondage. He would lock my door and make me stay in there without food, water, anything. I hated him for that for years.

     Until one day, my grandmother told my mom. Furious as she was, I pleaded with her to hold back the wrath and judgement from Bryce. I begged her to punish me instead. Anything for my sweet… hateful… disgraceful… excuse for a brother. That day, I went outside and cried more than I did throughout the abuse. But once again, I heard that voice. That sweet, soft voice that kept me company and dried my tears. Oh how I loved that voice.

 

“Oh boo hoo! That was your fault and you know it.”

I looked around and found Andrew looking at me clearly annoyed.

“Andrew…?”

“Esther, that wasn’t me. I swear.”

Behind me and Andrew appeared a woman who looked strangely familiar. Probably because she looked exactly like me, talked like me, walked like me, was super sarcastic like me. It was like looking through a mirror that had a deep, dark tint to it. This “me” character looked absolutely evil and dark. It frightened me to my very core.

“Well, I’m glad I’ve made a lasting impression on you, Esther.”

“Now who are you supposed to be?”

“I’m your Depression. You don’t like to name things so just call me Depression. I’ve been with you for years. If I remember correctly, I’ve been with you since Daddy came in and tortured and raped you-well us. Now don’t worry, I’ll come back to you but what I really want to know is why in the world are you here Andrew? I thought I told you to stay away the last time we met.”

“Wait… y’all know each other?”

Depression looked at me with such hatred and anger yet with a desperate look as well. Andrew laid his firm hand on my shoulder and looked at me reassuringly. He was the first one to speak.

“Yes, yes we do Esther. Remember how I was always there for you? Well, your Depression has always been there, too. Her and Anger both have been fighting me, pushing me away from you and pushing you towards the end! This end! They want you to jump off this bridge.”

“Oh, shut up Andrew! Such a drama queen. In fact, do you even remember a time Andrew was there for you, Esther? Cause I sure don’t. In fact, if I recall, I was the one who was always there for you. I never left you. And I never will.”

My mind started spinning out of control. It was like those cartoons you see as a kid where the main character is struggling between the devil on one side and the angel on the other. Except this time, it was real. I was struggling between Depression and Andrew the Death Angel. It seemed like there was no winning for me in that situation.

“Yeah, you’re exactly right Esther. There’s no use fighting anymore because you can’t win. This is the last night you have. The last miserable night. So get it over with now before you regret it.”

Depression came behind me and hugged me while she whispered in my ear. Her words were twisted with sweetness but I knew they were lies. Those sweet, deceitful lies. I turned around slightly, just enough to face her and look her daringly yet emotionless in her eyes.

“Prove to me that Andrew hasn’t been there. And you too, Andrew. Prove to me that Depression hasn’t been there for me. I’m not leaving this bridge until I get my answer.”

With that, Andrew nodded His head sweetly then looked at Depression sternly. Depression smiled smugly and averted her eyes to me. Instantly I was taken back to a memory I tried to hide for years: my baby Uriah.

 

I remember this day so clearly and vividly. It was the day a piece of me died. A big piece of me in fact. I didn’t know what to do. My dad was in prison and the only guardian I had was Jessica. We always got into fights. Most of them was about Daddy. That’s what was happening that day when I looked back and found myself screaming at Jess in the kitchen then storming up to my room. I usually did that but this time was different. I saw myself make the most terrible mistake of my life. I locked the door to my room then sat on my bed and proceeded to call Terrell. He wasn’t my boyfriend and he wasn’t someone I was too interested in or saw a future with but he was something. We were basically friends with benefits at that time. Which was strange in itself due to the fact that we were on total opposites of the totem pole. I was the “slut” of the school and also the quiet, shy girl all wrapped in one. Terrell was the smart musician and low key lady’s man/player. We met because him and his friends saw me at work… aka the strip club. I was trying to get all the money I could get so I came over to him and his little gang and seduced them. It was nice to have all the guys look at me like that for once. They all wanted me. Except Terrell. He didn’t just want me; he desired me. So that night, he took me back to his friend’s place because his parents were never home and we hooked up. He offered to pay me but I didn’t take it. Instead, I took his number. We had a long run for a few months and I knew it was a matter of time before something bad happened. But I never thought it’d be this. That day, I called him and told him that I needed him and needed him now. I saw myself looking like something bad was going to happen. Something terrible. But I chose to go anyways. Looking back, that was the most heartbreaking experience I had to go through. Seeing myself mess my entire life up. I saw myself pack some things before running down stairs and out of the house into Terrell’s car. As we drove away, Jessica was cursing and throwing pots and pans out trying to hit his car. He just kept speeding off into the distance. When we got to his house, we messed up bad. After we got done, I went into the bathroom and locked the door. Terrell was laying in the bed asleep so he wouldn’t know what I was doing. I grabbed the pregnancy test from my bag and took it. I closed my eyes when I set it down and started to wash my hands. Something in me was so afraid to look at it. But when I finally looked at it, my nightmares came true. I was indeed pregnant. Tears came and dwelled in my eyes then immediately poured down my face. I couldn’t hide it. Terrell grabbed the sheets and knocked on the bathroom door.

“Esther! Open up!!”

“…no… j-just stay away!”
Terrell kept banging and banging cursing at me all the way. I just kept sobbing. He finally bust the door down and stormed in. The first thing he saw was the positive pregnancy test and looked at me with pure rage.

“Get… out… now…”

“Terrell, please you-”

“I said ‘get out now’! And abort that baby! I am not going to be a father to a prostitute’s baby.”

That day, I left. I took a taxi to a local clothing store and bought an outfit then left. I couldn’t stay at home so I went to the state university. When I got there, I slept on a park bench outside. That’s when a professor came out and let me sleep in his office and gave me some food to eat. In the morning, he came in and told me I had to leave. I begged him to let me stay just one more night and old him I was pregnant at 16. He had sympathy for me and hugged me tightly before having to send me on my way again. I yelled at him saying “I don’t need your sympathy! I need a place to stay and abort this stupid kid!” I was so alone then. The only company I had was my baby. That day when I was walking the streets, I was thinking of some names I could use for the baby. I felt bad for just calling it “kid” so I decided to name it either Jesse (after the only father I’ve ever known) if it was a boy and Miriam if it was a girl. But then, I heard that voice again. That sweet, soft, comforting voice. It kept whispering the name “Uriah”. So that was it. I named my baby Uriah. That was the first time in my life I didn’t feel alone.

When I came back to reality, tears were already down my cheeks and halfway down my neck. Andrew was sitting on the ledge next to me and Depression was on the opposite side of me. Depression held my hand and my head grew heavy. I laid it on her shoulder and started to sob.

“Honey… you didn’t finish the memory.”

I looked at Depression through blurry, wet eyes. Her silhouette was dark and mischievous but I didn’t care. I knew she was bad news. I just couldn’t handle it anymore.  I felt useless and more distraught than ever. She was right. I didn’t finish.

“I don’t know if I can go back there… it’s too much Death…”

Depression smiled gravely and gave a quick gloating smirk over to Andrew.

“I know it is, dear. But frankly, you are nothing but Death anymore. Let’s just get this over with ok? Let’s go back one more time then it’ll be all over.”

I wiped all my tears away and sighed deeply.

“Ok… let’s get this over with.”

 

21 weeks later, I went into that office. That cold, dark, depressing office. Wait… Depression was here for me? That’s when I saw her on the old me. Depression hanging onto me like chains wrapped around my neck. I couldn’t break free. Well, at least I had someone there with me. The doctor called me in and carefully walked through the hallway down to his room. There were many needles and other medical equipment placed on a table beside the bland, cold blue chair. The doctor ordered me to sit and as I did, he asked me the usual questions like “how old are you?”, “what’s your name?”, “why are you pregnant/why did you come to see me?” type of questions. I answered them all with no emotion. I didn’t know what to do. My heart was leaping out of my chest. I didn’t want to kill little Uriah but how can I take care of a baby if I can’t even take care of myself? I wished I would’ve listened to the doctor when he asked if I was sure I wanted to abort my baby. I was screaming at my old self to tell him “no! I want my baby!” then run as fast as I could out of the office. But she couldn’t hear me. She already made up her mind. And Depression was right there holding her hand when she signed the consent forms. The doctor stuck the needles in me and there it went. Heart rate slowed to a stop. No more Uriah. I cried and cried as the doctor patted me on my shoulder and left. Now, I was truly alone. I didn’t have that sweet little kick telling me good morning anymore. I didn’t have that feeling of security that I had when Sweet Uriah was there with me. I was alone like I was before. I was always alone. And I always will be alone.

 

Instead of tears this time, anger spewed out from within.

“Andrew!! How dare you!! You said you were there with me in those situations! You promised me that you were always there and that you wanted to save me! Why weren’t you there to stop me from aborting Uriah?! Huh?! Tell me!”
Depression smirked once more and added an extra evil laugh in there as well. I turned around and faced her with rage.

“And you… you hung on me like chains! I couldn’t think, I couldn’t feel, I didn’t know what to do! You didn’t help me! You CAUSED this!! Get out…”

“But Esther, I didn’t cause you to abort Uriah! It was Andrew! He is the Angel of Death, you know…”

That’s when Andrew, graceful and sweet, spoke out. He had kept quiet for quite some time now besides the muffled cries and tears in between the flashbacks. This time, he was filled with anger. But it was deadly like Depression’s or mine. It was holy.

“How dare I? How dare I what Esther?! Please tell me, I would love to know! How dare I sit there holding back Jessica from hitting you when y’all fought? How dare I told Terrell to let you go when he found out about your pregnancy instead of killing you like he intended?!”

My heart dropped. I got quiet again and my tears came down as well.
“W-what? He was going to kill me?”

Andrew sighed.

“Yes, yes he was. I stopped him. As for the professor, I was that man. You didn’t recognize me then but I gave you a place to stay and food. I had to let you go so that you could make your own choices. But remember how we stayed up late together and I read to you out of the Bible? I told you how God was there with you and how He would give you the strength to do what you needed? I let you go with knowledge and hope!”

Depression got angrier with each and every word Andrew spoke. She stood up on that rail and yelled at him from the top of her lungs.

“Well what about the abortion, huh?!? You weren’t there for her there and I know it!! I was there for her and I helped her through it! Not you!”

Andrew kept his eyes fixed on me then slowly averted his attention to Depression.

“I was there. That’s where we met, remember? I’m not going to deny that you were there. But you weren’t helping her. You were chains wrapped around her. You were the one who twisted her mindset.”

I was so lost and so confused. I didn’t know what or who to believe in. Andrew or Depression? I didn’t know anymore. I just wanted to leave it all and go back to when I was somewhat happy… well, I guess that never was a reality for me.

“Esther… Esther that can be a reality! Look at me, dear.”

My heart couldn’t take it anymore. The tears wouldn’t stop coming as much as I tried to stop them. I reluctantly looked into Andrew’s sweet eyes. They were filled with such hope and love… for me. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. Andrew genuinely cared about me and had such hope for my future. I guess I let him down.

“Esther… let me take you back to the day Jon left. Yes, it’s going to be hard but-”

“Oh but what, Andrew!? You’re going to take her back and she’s going to see just what kind of failure she is and then she’s going to kill herself finally! She’s always been a failure but that night proves it. She let the love of her life leave her for another woman and now look at her! Cold, crying, malnourished, angry at the world. She’s better off dead and you know it!”

Andrew and I both avertered our eyes quickly over to Depression. Her dark hair was now drenched with the cold, damp rain that was pouring on us. Her dark leather jacket and her black shirt clung on to her skin as the rain kept flowing. She wasn’t next to me on the lonely railing anymore. She stood back on the actual bridge breathless from spitting her venom at me. I couldn’t but think about how it was true. All of it. How I was a disappointment, a failure, how I was better off dead. Andrew knew what I was thinking yet again and looked down solemnly as he took off his suit jacket then turned to me and put it around my shoulders with a sweet, comforting smile, protecting me from the hard wind and rain. He pushed back some of the wet strands of my hair behind my ear and caringly caressed his thumb over my cheek. Then, he stood up. He jumped off the railing and landed down onto the bridge with anger. It was kinda strange, Andrew being angry, I mean. I thought that angels weren’t supposed to have anger. But this was a whole different kind of anger. This was Holy Anger, I guess.

“Depression, you are always filled with your sweet yet bitter lies! Your hatred for Life is unbearable. I’ve come across too many Depressions in my cases but you, you are the embodiment of hate and depression. You’ve spent your days prying on this sweet, innocent little girl and bringing your wrath and hateful judgement on her. How dare you act like you are God and torture Esther with these thoughts and judgements! Only God can bring down judgement and only God can save from those from their hate and terrible situations and you know that!”

Depression giggles menacingly then looks over towards me.

“You really think that you can save her? I mean look at you! I have seen you there all these years by her side and you did nothing. That’s right! Take a good look, Esther! This ‘angel of God’ did NOTHING for you! He was there the night Jon left and He did nothing to save you. He looked at me and nodded His head giving me permission to come against you! And you wanna trust this guy?! Give it up! In fact, I’ll take you there myself and show you exactly what Andrew did for you.”

I looked at Andrew in total disbelief although my face didn’t show it. I was trapped inside this world of confusion and anger. My Angel of Death battling my Depression. I didn’t know who to believe. They were neck and neck against each other, fighting to the death. But it wasn’t them who was getting hurt. It was me. It was me…

“Alright…”

“Good! Good! Then we can settle this matter before you jump off and kill yoursel-”

“Then Andrew will show me His side of the story.”

“Umm, excuse me? I-I don’t think I heard you right dear. I-”

I got off the railing and came in between Andrew and Depression. I stood right in front of her face, our features aligning ever so closely against each other. Her scattered and uneven breaths hit my skin as I gave her the same, menacing look she gave me previously.

“You heard me perfectly clear… and let’s get this through your thick head: I am not yours. You may have been there and you may be a part of me but you will never control me or what I choose to do. Got it?”

Depression looked and me and swallowed nervously. She shook her head in agreement and I kept my stare fixed on her.

“Ok then… let’s do this.”

 

My head was spinning something fierce when I finally came to. I looked around the small apartment with the chipped red colored walls with the worn down furniture. It was an awful sight to see. Yet it wasn’t near as bad as the sight that I saw in the bathroom. I looked back at Depression as she sighed and took me into the familiar bedroom. That bedroom was filled with such great memories. One of Jon and I when we first got together, our first kiss, our first nap together, our first fight, everything. I smiled sadly as a tear came down my cheek. I quickly wiped it away and followed Depression into the bathroom. That’s when I saw myself. She was standing there in front of the mirror with a bottle of oxycontin in her hand. Tears stained her once beautiful and vibrant face. She still had the engagement ring on her finger that Jon gave her. Depression came over to her and whispered delicately in her ear.

“He told you to keep it, didn’t he?”

I shook my head slowly and looked at the medicine bottle. It was prescribed to Jon from when he had serious surgery on his back and he was in agonizing pain. I guess I thought it was mine then since he left. The pain from that memory hurt me like a sword had been thrusted slowly into my heart, ripping it out ever so slowly. I saw Depression’s black figure go up behind my bleek gray one. She twisted my long dirty hair around her finger and laughed.

“You weren’t good enough for him… remember what he told you?”

“I don’t want to hear it, Death.”

“Oh, honey, I’m not Death. I’m worse than that.”

I looked at my old self fill up with fear and pain. I took that oxycontin and opened the deadly bottle. I looked in the mirror and then back at the bottle.

“Well, I guess this is what you wanted isn’t that right?”

Depression smiled viciously at my helpless and hopeless state. Once again, her fingers found their way to the long strands of hair and twirled them around.

“No, Esther… this is what you want, remember?”

As my past self nodded, my heart broke. I wanted to go a save her but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do it. My old self took the whole bottle of oxycontin and promptly passed out cold on the tiled bathroom floor. She started sweating and her eyes started to roll back. Everything was going just according to Depression’s plan. Her plan to murder me.

How could I possibly have survived that?  

Just when I thought it was over for her, Andrew came over and leaned over the dying body. With His same sweet and tender smile, He took His hand and held her limp one and spoke softly.

“Esther, honey you need to stay with me ok? I know life is unimaginably hard for you right now but you need to make a choice now. Do you want to live and try again? Or do you want to give it all up right now? It’s your choice.”

I saw the body move her head slowly and weakly to answer “yes” to Andrew. Andrew smiled and lifted His head up to the Heavens. In an instant, there was a panicked nock on the door followed by the door being broken down. A man entered in and came into the bathroom and scooped her up into his arms. I looked at the man and analyzed his features trying to figure out who it was. It wasn’t Jon or Terrell and it wasn’t anyone from the apartment building. Then that’s when I recognized the same plaid dress shirt and blue jeans that has always been there for me through everything. That plaid shirt and those blue jeans kept me company and helped me when I was hurting the most. That plaid shirt and those blue jeans saved my life.

 

“SETH! It was Seth, wasn’t it? It was him who took me to the ER that night!”

Andrew looked at me and smiled.

“Yes, yes it was.”

“But… how did he know? I never told him anything.”

“Let’s just say that he had someone there looking out for him… just like you have.”

“…You told him, Andrew?”

“Yes, I did.”

Depression was getting anxious. Her nervous foot tapping and slouched stance became more violent and loud as Andrew kept speaking the Truth.

“Oh Esther! You know He’s lying! Look at Him! Look at what He put you through! You can’t possibly believe the Death Angel! He’s called that for a reason, you know! Why I remember when-”

“That is enough, Depression! I’ve had enough!”

Depression quickly stopped ranting as I passed by Andrew and stood on the railing of the bridge. Andrew looked at me questioningly while Depression shone with pride and victory. I looked back at the two and smiled at Andrew.

“You said you would always be here with me, Andrew. Through everything, right?”

“Well of course.”

“Then I want you with me when I die.”

“Esther, you don’t have to do this…”

“Andrew, please. Just come stand on the ledge with me.”

Andrew reluctantly walked over to the railing and climbed up on top. He stood by my side as I took a hold of His hand and smiled at Him. I wanted to tell Him everything. I wanted to tell Him how I didn’t want to die but I wanted to live. I wanted to tell Him how I loved Him and how I’m grateful for everything He’s done for me. I wanted to tell Him to save me. But I couldn’t I had to kill myself. I couldn’t live my life any longer with Depression’s grip on me. I had to die.

Andrew looked at me sweetly and took His free hand and gently caressed my cheek. He looked in my eyes with assurance and love.

“We jump together, ok? Don’t worry, God sees your pain and He knows what you need. Just trust Him, ok?”

I breathed in heavily and exhaled just the same.

“Ok. I will.”

“Oh and Esther… I love you too.”

With those sweet words said, Andrew and I jumped off the bridge and landed straight into the cold, dark abyss. The waters flooded over my eyes and entered into my mouth and nose. Breathing became difficult for me as I plunged deeper and deeper into the waters. The waters that symbolized my death. That’s when it happened. My vision started to fade and I was soon trapped in nothingness. And this is how it feels. I wished I would’ve listened to Andrew. He said to trust God but how could I when all I felt was Death? Wait… Depression all my life has been my lover, my best friend, my saviour. I’m the wreck. I’m the mess. Would God even take me back or love me if I gave Depression up to Him? I felt  like it was too late. I felt like that was my reality. I couldn’t get out of that Death.

“Esther…”

I looked around me in disbelief.

“Andrew? No… that can’t be. I killed myself. H-He can’t possibly be here with me.”

“Oh, yes I can. And I am. I told you I’d be here with you through everything. I know you can’t see and all you feel is Death, but with God, your Death will turn into Life. Give Depression up, Esther. Give her up.”

That’s when I knew. I had to give Depression up. Andrew was right. I couldn’t live my life any longer if I didn’t make a change. That was my change.

“But I don’t even know how to pray, Andrew!”

“You don’t have to know how. Just cry out to Him.”

“God… I can’t do this anymore. Please… t-take her. Take Depression out of my life, please!”

 

Instantly, I had feeling. I had hope. I looked around me and I was no longer filled with hate and darkness but with love and light. That’s when I opened my eyes. I looked around and found myself in a clean, pristine bedroom with red pastel colored walls and light hardwood floors. I looked at the bedside table next to me and saw a picture frame with me and Seth in it. My heart skipped a beat when I saw that the picture was taken on our wedding day. I lifted the picture up and held it close to my heart as tears came rushing down my cheeks like a flood. I felt someone in the bed next to me lean over and hug me from behind. It was Seth. His sweet voice comforted me as he wrapped his arms around my stomach and pulled me into his arms.

“Esther… I know you’re in pain and you’re depressed but I need you to stay strong. Please don’t leave us. Please don’t go through with this divorce.

“Divorce? Oh, love, I am so sorry! I am so, so sorry!”

      My tears couldn’t contain themselves any longer. I turned over and buried my head into Seth’s warm embrace and sobbed. I sobbed at the fact that I was about to leave the only love that I ever knew. I sobbed at the fact that I was so ungrateful, so prideful, so depressed.

     Seth smiled his sweet, loving smile and lifted my chin up to meet his gaze. His eyes were an icy blue that could pierce and penetrate any heart. I’m glad it penetrates mine.

     “Esther… I love you. I’m not leaving you. Please, let’s get rid of those divorce papers. We can fight through this depression together.”

    I looked in his eyes and the chuckled lightly when someone behind him standing in the doorway caught my eye. Andrew looked at me and nodded his head. He blew a kiss goodbye and smiled greatly.

   I smiled back and then averted my eyes back to Seth.

   “We don’t have to fight anymore, baby. And actually, I’m going to burn the papers now.”

   Seth smiled at me lovingly and confusingly. I grabbed the papers and threw them in the large fireplace in our room. The papers burned and quickly turned into ashes. Seth came up to me and kissed me sweetly then embraced me.

   “Esther, what do you mean you don’t have to fight anymore?”

   “Well, lets just say that I killed my Depression.”

    Seth and I ran out of the bedroom as soon as we heard the cry of a small baby coming from the other room. Seth ran as a protector and father while I ran out of confusion. When we got in the nursery, my eyes welled up with more tears. A beautiful baby boy laid in the crib crying, desiring the attention from his mother. I scooped him up in my arms and held him close.

    “What’s his name, Seth? And please tell me he’s ours.”

    “He is. And you insisted we named him Uriah so that’s what we did.”

   “Uriah… what a beautiful name.”

Jeffersonville High School, 2016