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‘Don’t say that, please’. ‘That I don’t want to kill myself?’ ‘Andy’. ‘I don’t. What’s wrong with that?’ ‘Why do you talk about it like that?’ My forehead involuntarily creases and my eyebrows raise, ‘Like what?’ ‘Like you don’t mean it’.

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‘I can feel your judgment from here’, I deadpan, my lifeless body as numb as I feel. Eithne sighs, that famed pitiful Eithne sigh that I just know is matched with her sorry look I’ve come to know so well. ‘Are you sure you’re okay? It’s just – Andy I thought you were better now’. I don’t even have the energy to be mad, or anything anymore really.

‘I am’.

‘No, you’re not’.

‘Well, I mean I don’t want to kill myself anymore, if that’s what you mean’.

Andy’. She sounds angry and, any other day I guess that’d make me angry too. Not today. Today I’m too empty to be angry. ‘Don’t say that, please’.

‘That I don’t want to kill myself?’

Andy’.

‘I don’t. What’s wrong with that?’

‘Why do you talk about it like that?’ My forehead involuntarily creases and my eyebrows raise, ‘Like what?’

‘Like you don’t mean it’. There’s a part of me that wants to tell her that I don’t. That there’s a part of me that still would - kill myself, that is. Okay, maybe not that far. Maybe just a coma. Eithne doesn’t want a coma. She wants me happy. Happy, happy Andy. Like I used to be. I shrug silently instead. ‘I thought you were better’, she repeats, whether for me or for her, I don’t know.

‘I am’, I say, because I know that’s what she wants to hear.

‘No you’re not’.

‘No, maybe I’m not. But I’m not sick anymore, so that’s good’. That’s a lie as well. ‘I don’t make myself sick anymore’, I pray to god she doesn’t go near the bathroom; that sickly smell of vomit lacing the air.

‘I know. I know. But I – Why aren’t you happy? I mean…’ Why can’t I make you happy? I know she wants to say.

‘I told you, I am.’

‘Right now?’ Not really ever. ‘Yes. I’m fine’.

‘Fine or good?’

‘Fine’. The sour look she wears tells me that was not the right answer.

‘I just want to help you’. That’s all she ever wants. Well, her and my therapist. Not that there seems to be a whole lot of difference between the two lately.

‘I know. I’m sorry’.

‘For feeling depressed?’

‘I’m not depressed’.

You are’.

I’m not’. I know she wants me to cry. Not that she wants to make me cry. She just wants proof that I’m feeling again. ‘I’m just…’

‘What? You’re just what, Andy?’ She takes a deep breathe in and makes her way towards me before settling on the floor beside my form.

‘I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m sorry’.

‘You don’t need to be’.

‘I’m sorry’. I’m not.

‘Andy stop’.

‘Sorry’.

She takes my hand and squeezes it slightly, ‘If you’re ill again it’s okay. I won’t care. I mean, of course I’ll care but… It’s not your fault.’

‘I’m fine’.

‘That’s not what I asked. Are you sick’? My hesitation is evident,’… No’.

‘If that’s a lie I don’t want to hear it’.

‘It’s not… I mean… No, it’s not really’. She grimaces, ‘What? What did I say now?’

‘Not really?’

It takes a while but she finally breaks me. ‘No. Not really. But, like I said, I’m fine. I don’t want to kill myself. And my BMI is up. I’m fine’. She groans, her frustration rising, ‘That doesn’t make you okay, Andy!’ No, I think, maybe not.

‘It’s just – Okay and please don’t yell at me or get mad or madder, I guess. Just please’.

‘Mad? Why would I –‘

‘You’re angry, Eithne. And that’s okay. Because I used to make you happy and now, lately all I’ve done is shit on that and shit on you. But please, just for once let me vent without having to look at that pissy disappointed look on your face’.

‘I didn’t realise me helping you was such a burden’.

‘That’s not what I meant…’

‘I know just… Just talk before I get pissy again’. She slides her back on the floor, taking my hand and urging me to copy.

‘I’m not sick, okay?’

‘Are you –‘

‘Please, you said you’d let me speak’.

‘Sorry. Continue’.

‘I’m not sick anymore. I don’t take tablets and I don’t go to the clinic and my counselling sessions have been cut back to once every two weeks and you can’t see my ribcage anymore. I’m not depressed and I’m not sick. I’m just not well either’. I roll onto my side and Eithne follows suit. ‘There’s this thing that happens when you’re over being depressed. The part that they always forget to tell you.

‘The part where you just feel empty for a while. Where you have to try and remember who you were – the you that people liked and liked to be around. You have to remember what makes you laugh and whether you make people laugh. Was I ever funny? Sorry, you can interrupt me’.

‘You? No. I mean I thought you were but you were never really vocally funny. You were an idiot – a loveable one, don’t get me wrong – but like a clumsy funny idiot’.

‘Yeah that was depression funny. The try-hard funny. The one where it’s like, ‘Shit. All I joke about is wanting to die.’ And that’s not so funny – so you improvise. So that’s what that was.

And, aside from that there’s interests. I used to love Salinger, remember?’

‘You read Franny and Zooey at least once a month’.

‘I haven’t read him or anyone else in a year. Remember that CD you bought me? The one I used to keep in my car?’

‘The Bowie one, yeah’.

‘My car radio hasn’t been touched in fifteen months’.

‘You counted that?’

‘It’s a depression thing. You get obsessed with the little things. Like germs’.

‘Germs?’

‘That’s why my hands were always red, I used to burn them. Not on purpose, it was just the mind-set like, ‘I have to kill these germs. I can control this. If I can control this I can get better. And if I get burned that’s okay. Because it’ll get better soon’’.

‘Uh… Right’.

‘You’re weirded out’.

‘No. I just don’t know how to react’.

‘Mmm. I don’t know how I want you to’.

There’s a silence. ‘So you are better then? I mean, better than you used to be?’

‘Yeah. Like I said, I haven’t attempted suicide in a year. I mean, I still want to’ – I see no point in lying anymore – ‘I just physically can’t anymore. And maybe that is better. Maybe that’s how normal people feel’.

Eithne shakes her head, kissing my fist, ‘They don’t Andy’.

‘Oh. Well, I wouldn’t know. I haven’t been normal in a long while’. 

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