I wake up in the middle of the night to hear inconsolable screaming. It turns to sobbing and then screaming again. It’s horrific. It stops. I hear loud heaving. I throw my covers to the side and run out of bed. I run downstairs to the kitchen and gather all the knives. I put them into a duffle bag. I walk back to my room as the sobbing continues. I hide the duffle bag of blades under my bed. I close my door and jump onto my bed. I pull the covers over my head as I listen to the lullaby of depression. The screaming doesn’t stop in my dreams. It only ceases when a patch of daylight shines onto my face the next morning. I walk to my brother’s room and check his arms for cuts.
December 7th, 2013
My oldest brother, Leo, barged into my room. It was 9:30 PM.
“Where the fuck is Emanuel?”
“Fuck if I know man.”
My middle brother, Emanuel, always had the tendency to tattoo his heart onto his forehead. If he wanted to cry, he’d cry. If he wanted to get angry and spit in your face, he’d get angry and spit in your face. Lately he had been bad, though. He’d get in his car and drive for hours. Where? Who knows? He’d sit in the darkest corners of our house and just huddle up in a ball. What would he do? Think? Dig his nails into his scalp until he gave himself a lobotomy? I was about to find out.
“God dammit. We need to find him before Mom and Dad get home. I’ll look outside, you search the house. You know the drill. Whoever gets him first texts the other.”
We split up. I was Shaggy and he was Fred. We were looking for a unique monster. One that people liked when he had his mask on: It was a fake smile affixed by pressure and fear. He only took off his mask of emotions when the sun went down and he was alone. This was when his carnage began. His mother cried and his father wished he was sober enough to feel guilt. The mystery van crawled on all fours and banished its title. While Velma and Daphne were keeping up with the Kardashians, it found its way to the garage and started breathing. A Great Dane restlessly sat in its driver seat. The carbon monoxide slowly took its breath away. Scooby Dooby Doo? Where are you?
I found Emanuel in an electric chair. He sat in the boiler room. He huddled in the corner and sobbed softly. He rocked back and forth every now and then, but for the most part he sat still. I only saw movement in his eyes. They reflected a light with no source. A light that shone so brightly that it couldn’t be seen by the naked eye. He held out his hand. Between his thumb and finger was an instrument with a thousand uses. Every use practical but one. It seemed my brother intended to use the razor blade for that one impractical act. The act which will only be alluded to in this Diary but never directly stated. It is known as the act of cowards and traitors. My brother? He was neither. Somebody needs to redefine what it means to not want to live in this world anymore. To not want to go on. If life is the most precious gift why do we wrap it up and re-gift it?
Emanuel shifted his fingers and clasped the blade into his fist. He lifted his face from his arms and looked up at me. His cheeks were wet and his mouth was disfigured. His lips opened but no words were spoken. I fell to my knees.
October 31st, 2004
I look up from my science text book. My room is a prison. Do I dare to escape? Mom and Dad are at each other like Hitler and Stalin. The sound of broken glass echoes through my brain and it will for my whole life. I close my text book and put my hands on my face. I can’t cry anymore, it’s gone on for so long. What are they fighting about tonight? Who knows? No matter what the fight is about, it always leads back to one thing: Those fucking disappointments! Failures! For fucksake, nothing but fucking failures in this family! I walk to my door and grab the handle. I slowly turn it. I hear a loud bang and let go of the door. What did he just do? Turn over the kitchen table? Push the grandfather clock? Or is he finally leaving? I wait. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three. I turn the door handle and swing it open. The hallway is stale. Nothing but skin particles and dry air. I tiptoe to Emanuel’s room. I’m halfway there.
“WHERE ARE THOSE LAZY PIECES OF SHIT? COME SAY BYE TO DADDY! TAKE THE HOUSE, TAKE THE CARS BUT YOU CAN’T FUCKING TAKE ME!”
I pause and listen. He’s downstairs. I’m too far to turn back. I soundlessly lunge to Emanuel’s door. I open it and vault into his room. The door is still open. I hear Mom crying.
“SHUT UP YOU BITCH! GO FIND YOUR THREE KIDS SO THEY CAN HELP ME PACK MY LUG-“
I slam the door shut and press my back up against it. Home free. Emanuel is sitting on his bed fiddling with his pocket watch. He opens it. He closes it. Each time the hinge releases a faint squeak. It screams and yells at its intended use. Yet he still overuses it. He won’t fix it. He will just apply more force to the hinge each time until it finally gives in. Until it finally breaks.
He draws his attention away from the watch and looks at me. He smiles. I reach into my sweatshirt pocket and withdraw a crumpled magazine.
“Mom bought me this Lego magazine. Want to look through it with me?”
“Sure. Come on the bed.”
I jump onto his bed and show him the cover. He smiles and grabs the book. He flips through it.We look at the pictures in awe.
December 7th, 2013
I was on my knees. My eyes wanted to close but they wouldn’t. The hard concrete pushed fatigue into my legs. Emanuel held his stare. His eyes intensely twitched. I shifted my knees until I got to him. I put my arm around him. My face fell to his shoulder as my eyes began to water. He jerked violently and I flew off of him. My face hit the ground. I tasted blood on my lip. I lay there kissing the dirty floor for about four seconds. I tasted the sour blood and felt the dirt particles. I was weeping now. I propped myself up on one arm. I was so weak. Not from the fall. I don’t know why I was so weak. I didn’t feel anger or pain. I just felt. I felt everything at that moment. Like every emotion managed to rape my brain at the same time. I didn’t know what to say. What was there to say? How do you stay calm while somebody you love is convinced that the only way they can coexist is to not exist? When they are convinced that there is nothing else they can do to make life better? Emanuel loved life. I know he did. There was something else that was making him act this way. But what could be so bad? What could lead a person into a situation like this? What heinous being would ever want to inflict such pain onto anything living?
Then the guilt hit me. I looked away from his eyes. I tried to look back. I couldn’t. My sight was focused on his closed fist, which now had blood dripping from it. Each drop hit the concrete with such distinctness. Each splash its own fireworks. It seemed like each red sphere took hours to finish its journey. One drop had a deep darkness to it. Maybe I was looking at life itself. The drop was alive. It took its own form, it finally escaped. Its cells would have traveled through Emanuel’s veins and arteries and constantly delivered oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout. Why? Because that’s all they knew. That’s what they were made for. Then they all got an opportunity to get out of the cycle. They rushed to the open wound. Some weren’t strong enough to liberate themselves; but those that were, did so in little drops. As they flew through the air they panicked. They regretted ever leaving Emanuel’s body. They died, one after another. The drop hit the concrete and they scattered. Their bodies dried up on the cold concrete.
I grabbed Emanuel’s fist. He only clenched his fingers tighter on the blade. I jammed one of my fingers into his fist and tried to pry it open. He let his grasp loose and the blade dropped. His hand was cut in four different places. The blood dripped even more so now. I reached for the blade but he quickly grabbed it with his other hand and held it behind his back. His head was hanging. His eyes weren’t closed, but I could tell that his mind was elsewhere. Who did this to him? I couldn’t lie to myself. I knew who was to blame and I wanted to put my foot up his ass. But by the laws of physics and the way the human body is designed, it is physically impossible to put your foot up your own ass. I could only watch. I could only cry.
September 19th, 2012
I’m bored. Now I’m angry because I’m bored. I storm into Emanuel’s room.
“Emanuel you bitch! What the fuck’s wrong with you? Just gunna sit in here and do homework all fucking night you nerd? Like fuck.”
“Get the fuck out of my room!”
I know that he’s having a bad day. I do it just to make mine more amusing. I want to see how far he’ll go.
“You’re the reason that Mom and Dad hate each other! Mom told me! She said that she wishes that she got an abortion!” Mom had said this to me earlier that day. Not about Emanuel, though. About me.
“I don’t give a fuck– get out! I’m trying to do work!”
“Why? What’s the point? Eman-tha-shit is going to become a big time doctor?”
Emanuel throws his books aside and jumps off his bed. He lunges at me. I catch him and push
him to the ground. He’s older than me but much smaller. It’s like throwing a child. He falls with a smack. He gets up immediately. He punches my face. In shock I grab his arms. We both struggle for about two minutes. Now out of breath he gives up and lies on the floor. He’s crying now. He looks at me.
“You don’t know what it’s like… You hate me. Leo hates me, Mom and Dad hate me. I can’t take it.”
He puts his hands over his face and lets out a freakish whelp. I don’t feel any guilt.
“You fucking pussy.”
I spit on him and walk out of the room.
December 7th, 2013
I was still on my knees. Emanuel just stared at me. Gravity had finally hit me. This wasn’t a dream. This was real. My brother was about to off himself. I crawled backward and sat against the wall across from him. I ran my hands through my hair. I focused on my feet. My socks were dirty. There was a hole in one and my big toe poked out. It wiggled at the delight of fresh air, but my whole foot would never escape the confinement of my sock through that hole. Just part of it. I wasn’t sobbing anymore. I thought that I had strength. I crooked my head upward and met Emanuel’s dead stare. My eyes were locked on his. I couldn’t do anything. Beware the stare of the ghost face killer. I couldn’t breathe. I tried my best. I was turning to stone. I tried to move. I couldn’t. I tried to bite my tongue. I couldn’t. I tried to cover my eyes. I couldn’t. Finally I let out a gasp of air. My larynx communicated “WHY!?” But my brain knew that he wouldn’tanswer. He just looked away from me. Drool dripped from his concentrated face onto his lap. He didn’t care. Was he thinking up something to say? Was he just patiently waiting for me to leave so he could do the deed? Or was he just now a brain-dead product of a species cursed with the gift of sociality? Then I heard his voice. It was strong and deep. It was a tone that I’d never heard from him. He was ironically confident in his words. As if he had known exactly what to say to me at that exact moment. My ears twitched like a rabbit in the jaws of a wolf when he spoke. His words crushed me.
“I’ve seen it all.”
He was looking down now.
“I’ve seen what I can do. I’ve seen what I have done… I see what I will do. I don’t like it. There’s no good that can come out of it. I just can’t do it anymore. We had good lives. Remember when we were close? Don’t remember me in these days, remember me in those. I know this will make all your lives better. Imagine not having anybody to hate. Nobody to deal with. I can end it all so easily. I won’t have to put up with Mom and Dad, I won’t have to study so hard anymore… It’s bound to happen, so why not do it now? Speed up the process? I’m curious. If god is real, why would he make everything in the world so dreadfully complex? I’ll ask him. I’ll ask him why people change. I’ll ask him how a mother and a father hate their child. And how someone’s brothers can hate him. And how it can be possible for the child to not connect with one soul on this fucking planet… That is if I meet god. Maybe Satan will have answers just the same. Maybe I will just die. I’m happy with either of the three possibilities.”
He passed the razor blade from hand to hand. He did it so fluently. How often had he been down here with his killing machine? It seemed like he didn’t even notice his bleeding palm. Like it was just a pimple or a scratch on a car; something that if you ignore it long enough, it will disappear. But it kept bleeding and throbbing. He couldn’t ignore it for that long. Surely he would have to get bandages eventually. If not mended it would hurt until he died. He would hurt until he died. I thought for a second. We sat in silence. This wasn’t about me. This was about him not being happy with the way that others perceived his life. Who taught him that it was okay to beat yourself up over the criticism of others? That you should bind their words to your body with a razor blade and a sacrifice of blood? How could Emanuel not be good enough? That’s my fucking brother, and if he’s not good enough, then tie me to the fucking gallows along with everybody else who makes mistakes. I didn’t hate him. I loved him. Both made from the same organic material. Both destined to walk this hellish sphere together. We got stuck with each other. It was me, him and Leo. Leo has always been insensitive, so it was usually just me and him when it came to problems. I thought that I meant so much more to him than this. But that’s when I realized that I was wrong. I watched him play with the razor blade. He tilted it back, and then forward. Then back again. Then forward again. He studied the light reflecting off of it. The beautiful shine that reflected off it. I wasn’t the one who meant the world to him. He was the one who meant the world to me. It was about time that I let him know.
June 17th, 2010
I’m playing basketball in the backyard with Emanuel. He lets me win and I know it. I have too much pride not to laugh in his face and tell him he sucks at sports. He laughs with me.
March 14th, 2015
I show Emanuel a rough draft of a short story I’m working on. He loves it. He tells me that I should focus on writing. He is the first one to believe in my dream.
November 4th, 2009
Mom only buys two advent calendars. Emanuel gives me his. I don’t say thank you.
August 6th, 2011
Emanuel teaches me how to shave. I don’t cut myself.
June 18th, 2014
Emanuel catches me smoking. He rips the cigarette out of my hand and stomps on it.
December 7th, 2013
I don’t remember what I said to him. I remember him standing up and hugging me. I grabbed the blade. He walked out of the room and I sat down on the floor for the last time. I looked at the mysterious shard. The only other witness to what had happened. Was the razor blade the victim or the killer? No. It was the instrument. Emanuel was both the victim and the killer. I was both the victim and the killer. Mom and Dad will never know about this. Years from now they will be proud. They think it’s normal that we lock up our feelings. That I hesitate every time I use the word love because it reminds me of the stench of liquor. They think that we are tough. They think that we are built to last because we don’t seem to have emotions. We don’t seem to get mad, we don’t seem to get too happy. They describe us by using phrases like ‘nerves of steel’ and ‘down to earth’ to justify the way they treated us. Little do they know that each one of us is a time bomb, just waiting to explode and watch our emotions rip others to shreds. They are so ignorant to the fact that we think and feel. The first time I told Mom I loved her was when I was eighteen years old, and she didn’t hear me. My grandmother lay in her deathbed and I couldn’t thank her for the time she had spent in my life. My brother took a blade to his wrist, and I can’t take credit for his survival because I would have done the same if he hadn’t tried first. I drove my car into oncoming traffic once and pushed the throttle. The headlights came closer and closer. Then I remembered what I said to Emanuel that night: Emanuel. No. You can’t. If you’re going to kill yourself, then kill Mom. Kill Dad. Kill Leo and Kill me. Because that’s all you’d accomplish. We live for you and if it would make you happier we’d die for you. But not like this. This doesn’t need to happen. I can’t sit here and wrestle the razor out of your hands. But if I end up sitting here and watching you scream, then I’ll pick up the blade and do the same to myself. I don’t know what else to say. I swerved back into the right lane. The car honked at me. I honked back. I smiled.
A Place Where Time and Space Are Not a Concern
“We did good buddy.”
“That we did.”
“What do we do now?”
“We just sit and enjoy eternal happiness.”
You Saved My Fucking Life.