BY MARCY APPL
I killed myself at 11:54 PM on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. My body was not discovered until Monday, May 11--a full thirteen days after I had died. Method of suicide was a combination of several tricks: overdose of sleeping pills, alcohol consumption, with cause of death officially listed as asphyxiation.
That was because I stuck a small lid (hair gel, maybe?) on my nose and mouth and then wrapped my head in Saran wrap. I passed out before my body realized that there was not enough air to keep breathing for long. I didn’t die from lack of oxygen, which is what most people think when they hear "asphyxiation," but rather, died from carbon dioxide poisoning. There was too much carbon dioxide in the small pocket I left for air.
I lay on my couch for thirteen days while the world whirled by. The district manager at USA Today, Jon, got some complaints on Wednesday; customers said I hadn’t delivered their papers. Jon didn’t contact me until he got even more complaints on Thursday, but then it was just an email that I never answered. I couldn’t. I was dead. Finally, he sent Frank out to do my route on Friday, and they cursed my name and called me unprofessional. Jon put an ad up on Saturday, stating that my route was open--they needed someone dependable.
My new job, rotating bread for Sara Lee, was neglected Wednesday as well. Only Price Chopper in Platte City complained, and Brad texted me and then, when I didn’t answer, he sent out another pull-up person. No big deal. He texted me again on Friday to ask for my time sheet, and he even called when I didn’t answer, but then he just estimated and sent something over to payroll without talking to me. No big deal. There were two complaints on Sunday--one from the same Price Chopper and one from Wal-Mart. He tried to call me again, sent an email, got no reply, of course. So he put up an ad on Monday, stating that my route was open--they needed someone dependable.
My absence was noted in both my Wednesday night class and my Thursday morning class, but neither professor was surprised. I have not been the best at attending class this semester, and neither had a cause for concern. The weekend passed with no one even noticing I wasn’t around, and then Monday rolled around and I didn’t go to class again. It was the last class of the semester, and Dr. Whitney held it at his house. Pizza party. I missed it, but nobody missed me.
When I didn’t show up on Tuesday, Dr. Dean did send me an email, asking if I was okay. The paper was due. I have never missed a paper turn-in day. Until Tuesday, that is. I didn’t answer, obviously, and she still gave me an A in the class. I will never be able to write my book about her. I hope someone does. Her accomplishments are endless and should be noted. Someone needs to get on that.
Anna, my therapist, would have noticed my death on Monday, if not for the class at Dr. Whitney’s house. He told us we would have to stay late, so I had already canceled my regular 7:30 therapy session. Tuesday, I didn’t go to yoga, and Mara wondered where I was, and she told Anna on Wednesday that I hadn’t been there, and they discussed it a bit. Anna sent me a text asking if I was okay, but when she got no response, figured I was isolating, as I have been known to do.
By this time, I have missed: Sara Lee pull-ups on 4/29, 5/3, and 5/6; USA Today deliveries 4/29, 4/30, 5/1, 5/4, 5/5, and 5/6; Shakespeare in Film 4/28 (I couldn’t make myself get up the morning I killed myself), 4/30 (when the paper was due), and 5/5; Creative Nonfiction on 4/29 and 5/4; and yoga once, on 5/5. Fifteen places I should have been, and I still lay on my couch, dead, for another five days before anyone gets concerned enough to check on me.
It was Anna. She had been unable to reach me that week; she sent that one text on 5/6, then asked if I wanted to have an appointment Thursday at 4:30. I didn’t answer, for obvious reasons, but she assumed I was upset that she hadn’t gotten back to me about rescheduling sooner, so she didn’t think too much of it until I didn’t confirm my appointment for Monday, May 11. When I also didn’t show up, she finally called the police.
I had been lying on my couch for thirteen days by then, so I was pretty dead when the cops showed up. They started out knocking, then pounding, then one burly dude put his shoulder to my door and broke in. I can’t imagine the smell was great--I had been lying on my couch, dead, for thirteen days before someone bothered to notice I was missing.
I’m not blaming anyone. This is how I lived my life--I flew under most people’s radars. I didn’t matter enough for anyone to make a fuss if I didn’t show up. I didn’t have many responsibilities. I liked it that way. Easy come, easy go. Little high, little low. Anywhere the wind goes…all that jazz. Although "little high, very low" would be more apropos. My mother didn’t worry, because I was not speaking to her at the time. Some things had come up from my childhood, and I realized that she was as much to blame for my sexual abuse as my father, and I had not yet been able to forgive her. I died hating my mother. I don’t speak to either sister often. We all know--how could we not know what our father relentlessly pounded into our heads from birth--that we do not matter and that no one likes us. So none of us feels brave enough to call the others. Sad, isn’t it.
Teddy felt hurt when I didn’t show up for Saturday’s roller derby bout. It had been my idea, and now here I was, not showing up. I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t keep breathing. Sorry, Teddy. She drove by my house once and saw that my car was in the drive, but my phone kept going straight to voicemail. I hadn’t plugged it in since 4/26, so the battery had died by this point. She wondered what she had done that made me stop talking to her, but I did that to DJ, so she knew this was a thing I did. And she understood DJ a little better after that, even after she found out that I had killed myself, and that was why I didn’t show up to roller derby. Or answer my phone.
Tiffani called once, and was pissed that I didn’t call her back. Hurt, hid it with anger. Stephanie texted that she got an A on the paper, but I never answered, and she figured I was asleep when she sent it and then just didn’t see it. Or something. Amanda felt sad when I didn’t respond to the Facebook message she sent, but she is used to being ignored, so it never occurred to her that maybe I wasn’t okay. She knew I was upset about group, and figured maybe I was including her in the guilty parties or something.
None of those excuses made sense, but we are both, after all, borderline personality disorder nutcases, so she didn’t put too much thought into it. Julie sent one "Dinner?" text that never got answered. She heard about my death four days after I was discovered, and was aghast but not too surprised or even dismayed. She knew of my mental problems. She knew I hadn't been dependable lately.
Annie? She was too drunk to care when she found out, and when she sobered up, the enormity of the guilt was too much, so she pretty much just stayed drunk for a few weeks. And then she forgot about me and moved on. All those friends, all those responsibilities, ignored. Nothing mattered. I just felt useless, and was justified in that emotion when I lay on my couch for thirteen days before my body was discovered.
Thirteen days. And that’s if I’m lucky.
Marcy Appl lives with the best friends a girl could have - her two dogs. They live together in a 100-year-old house that needs lots of remodeling. Marcy hopes to find money buried in the floorboards or behind a wall somewhere. Marcy likes knitting, writing, and playing pinball at the local dive bar, where everybody knows her name. Shortly after writing this, Marcy finally accepted she is gay. It only took her 40 years to realize and accept herself for who she is and attain peace at long last. All is well in her world.