"Under the Bridge" is a wonderful song by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, chronicling the thoughts of lead singer Anthony Kiedis as he contemplated suicide. Whenever I hear that song it reminds of the individuals in my life that have taken their life, and I kind of feel guilty because in hindsight there were clear signs that they were crying out for help.
Ben: Ben was a cat that I used to skateboard with as a kid, he was always a peculiar guy. After High School I didn't see Ben until 2001 in a nightspot at the beach. It had to be the most awkward reunion ever because for one thing Ben was 1) Talking extremely black, which threw me for a loop. 2)Had a two huge knots of money that would absolutely choke a horse. When I told him to be careful flashing that money around in public he 3)Showed me the loaded 357 Magnum tucked in his pants pocket. Ben was about 100 pounds soaking wet, I just imagined someone taking his gun and beating him with it. We kept in touch, primarily because I found out that Ben was a big time pot dealer and a brother can always use a hook up. We hung a few times and the fact that he talked black really bothered me. I can see if you are a white guy that was raised around black folks, or spent a great deal of time with black folks, but this guy was Lilly white for 25 years then all of a sudden he is DMX?? It just pointed out that he was searching for something in his life.
Anyway, I had inquired about some weed, didn't even ask for a hookup, and Ben tried to overcharge me. I don't mean because we were cool, I mean overcharge me period. I was offended but I didn't give him shit about it, I just refused to pay those inflated prices and that was that. About a month later me and my friend Danny were playing pool in a bar and Ben walks in. He looks shook, but he insists that that he is OK. He begins to apologize profusely about trying to overcharge me, I mean the guy was apologizing all night. I told him don't sweat it, but he started apologizing for shit that I didn't even know that he did to me.
Ben invited me and Danny to his house to get high and drink some more, so Danny and I agreed. The problem was Ben kept asking us if we were going to his house later, after we already said yes, which started to freak us the fuck out. After the 10th time of him asking us we declined and went our separate ways. A week later I had learned that Ben had shot himself on a beach early one morning. Looking back, maybe Danny and I should have chilled with Ben. Maybe he just wanted to be around friends? Who knows, but it reminds me of "Under the Bridge" where Anthony Kiedis sings "It’s hard to believe
That there’s nobody out there/It’s hard to believe
That I’m all alone"
Miles: Miles was a dude that I met in college. He was from Raleigh North Carolina, and from day one I thought of him as my little brother. We were the same age, but it seemed that he had a giant magnet for people to pick on him and make his life hell. He was a great kid, quiet, smart, and didn't hurt anyone, but the signs were there from day one. Sometimes he would say to me, "man, I wish I was dead", or "My life isn't worth living", but he said it in such a sarcastic tone I didn't take him seriously. I tried to be the best friend I could be by 1)Beating the shit out of this dude that made his life hell, and making the asshole in question apologize to him in front of a group of people 2)This is going to sound bad, but these girls had played a trick on Miles by one of them asking him out on a date. When he arrived at the location the girl stood him up, and they found this wildly hysterical the next day in the cafeteria. Not to be outdone I poured the contents of a Big Gulp all over them while screaming, "Is that funny bitches??!!"
I could momentarily cheer Miles up but it seemed like a constant uphill battle. We had planned to hang out during the summer when I came to NC, but at the end of the semester before he left he said "Maybe you shouldn't worry about coming to NC man." I asked what was up and he said that he might be tied up. But he said some things that will always follow me, "HumanityCritic, you are a great friend and you are the only person to ever have my back. I want you to remember that you are a good person and god will definitely bless you." Looking back that was his way of saying goodbye, because a month later I showed up at his parents house to surprise him and his mother had informed me that he had taken his life. The part that makes me sad is that his mother said, "Miles always talked about you and what a great friend you were to him, you were the only source of joy he had for years. Bless you son". Then she gave me a big hug. Apparently Miles had left some items for me in a box. Contents: Hip Hop Vinyl, some drawings, a letter telling me that I was a good friend, and a Run DMC poster that currently hangs above my computer as I type this.
I remember that I was trying to find solace in the fact that I treated him well, to make myself feel better, which reminds me of the following lyric. "She sees my good deeds
And she kisses me windy/ I never worry, Now that is a lie"
Lynn: A person that I had met during my High School years. She was a beautiful bi-racial sister, but the funniest thing was that her father was kind of racist, even though he is her natural father. I always said to her, 'His ass wasn't racist when he was giving your mom the "rough and rugged". Lynn was a knockout, but she had the lowest self esteem of anybody I had ever seen. She would go on and on about how ugly she was, and that no man would date her. See, I tried to date her but she wasn't having it since I dated her friend and she found out what kind of asshole I was.
Again, she was constantly depressed so I would do what I could to make her happy. We used to act like we were dating and go by her parents house. Her father hated young black males, so I used to come there with her on my arm with my pants hanging half way off my ass, using broken English, wearing a doo-rag, and talking about all the kids I had just to horrify the fuck out her father. Suffice it to say it worked marvelously. Good, because he was a racist prick.
She used to have the darkest sense of humor, but I loved that about her. We used to laugh at all the racial slurs her dad would use and she used to say, See HumanityCritic! Racism can be fun!" There was one fateful night that Lynn confided in me that her dad sexually abused her for years, and that her mom didn't know about it. Her stories were so horrific I started to cry when I heard the descriptions of what he did to her.
Like most friendships ours unfortunately faded away, and I didn't hear from her in years. A couple of years ago I had learned that Lynn had taken her life after a long bout with depression. She was such a unique person, it is a shame to lose such a precious life. A few months after she passed I saw her father at a bar getting drunk, don't ask me how I knew it was him and i did. I walked up to him and proceeded to...Well, I won't go there this time but lets just say that Lynn was somewhere laughing. Thinking about the time we cried together when she told me of her father's abuse, I think of Anthony Kiedis singing "..Lonely as I am,Together we cry"
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
Prevent Suicide Now
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention