Short Story: “Hanging Out”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I must preface this short story with a most strident warning – this is a controversial topic at best, and reader discretion is advised. No responsibility will be accepted for any adverse result from reading this story or subsequent discussions. This story was written with the intention of raising awareness there are more aspects to the topic of suicide than might “ordinarily” be discussed. This story might be set in Australia, but this problem is world-wide and in many places is still not given the attention it requires or deserves.

How joyous a thing
Life would be,
With respect and kindness
And love set free.

These loose trackies’ll be better than my skinny jeans when they need to take them off later. Loose T-shirt. No graphic. Just a plain cheap yellow P.E. one from school. Easier to take off as well. Nothing with a logo on it – don’t want to taint a cool brand with what’s going to happen.

Hair still wet from the shower, but it’d be dry by the time they’d find him. Didn’t want to look at himself in the mirror to see if anything else had to be considered, but it didn’t matter anyway.

The closet. So appropriate. Instead of coming out though, he’d be going in, and no coming out until afterwards, and that would be someone else’s problem. Or they could leave him in there to rot. It wouldn’t matter to him.

He shifted his clothes up one end and grabbed the pole with both hands to see if it would hold his weight. Yup. Sweet.

The extension cord was long, but wrapped enough times around the pole it hung high enough to provide plenty of clearance.

Well that’s a relief. It’ll make things so much easier and better since it’s my own bedroom instead of somewhere cold and impersonal like the garage or the garden shed.

Today had been bad. Maybe the worst yet.

Maya had genuinely smiled at him before being dragged away by Grace, Nicola and Fiona who’d all glared at him with equal parts anger and revulsion. Steve and Anton saw to it he was very unhappy. The shoving and teasing, gut-punches, soft-drink poured over head. He was meant to be sad because they were angry.

Maybe he could help make them happy again too. He was fed up with the misery. He just wanted everyone to be happy. Good grades didn’t seem to make anybody happy. For a long time his parents had been angry at his choice in clothing. Fellow students were angry at the way he spoke or styled his hair or the way he walked or carried his schoolbag or choice of music playlists or whatever else they could think of. Some were especially angry at him getting better grades than them, but most seemed angry at him for simply being trying to be nice to everyone.

Grace and Fiona had pointed and laughed, labelling him “pin-dick” when he emerged from the school swimming carnival change rooms wearing his brand new and expensive racing jammers. Fiona’s boyfriend Jason had even tried to dack him in front of everyone as he was about to mount the pool starting block. No teachers seemed to pay attention, but still so many students laughed even when just a glimpse of buttcrack ended up getting exposed. He wasn’t sure how at fifteen he was supposed to make his voice break or have a package as big as Jason’s, but he apologised red-faced anyway and people laughed at him even more.

Maybe that was what they needed to feel happy. It didn’t make him feel happy, but nobody seemed to care about that. He didn’t even remember what place he got in the race until he spotted the gold medallion resting on top of the handwritten note lying on his bed.

Mum’ll like the medallion. She likes that kind of thing. Maybe not the note, though.

She wouldn’t be home before six, and Dad by around seven. There was still plenty of time.

At breakfast Mum had been so angry about spending so much money on my jammers and the repairs to my clarinet and those replacement textbooks, and then when I mentioned Simon she started to yell, but I couldn’t work out what she meant.

Dad had shouted at him about something else again, leaving for work calling him a “pain in the neck”, but then Dad was angry a lot anyway.

Maybe now Dad’ll be happy. Now all his pain’ll go away. Maybe Mum’ll be happier without Dad being angry all the time, too. That’d be nice.

He loved his parents, loved his school, loved his school work and wanted to be friends with everyone, but instead he felt completely by himself and totally unloved.

Was it because last night he’d admitted to Mum and Dad about him and Simon? Mum had cried and Dad was furious, demanding to know what had happened with Karen.

We broke up ages ago ’cos I wasn’t really happy with Karen and she wasn’t even really into me and then I met Simon and we really liked hanging out and we felt good being with each other and maybe I felt something like happiness, but then Simon disappeared and Maya’s mum told Mum Simon had been sent to boarding school away from me because someone said we’d been spotted kissing in the school locker room. I miss Simon. Maybe after this his mum’ll be happy and Simon can come back to normal school and he’ll be happy again too. That’s it. Make everyone happy by getting rid of the problem that doesn’t even have brains to work out what’s been done wrong, the rubbish that must have done something really bad otherwise everyone wouldn’t be so angry and try to hurt me all the time. Mister Pankhurst had told me to work it out for myself but I’ve tried my hardest and nothing makes sense and nobody else even seems to care.

The extension cord clasped around his neck, its cool plastic insulation warming with his skin, slipknot working just as the instructions had said.

I hope this won’t take long.

Ha! Now I know what Dad means about “pain in the neck”. Here you go Dad! I hope this makes you less angry and more happy.

Making you happy makes me happy.

Happy Daddy makes a happy Mummy.

I love you Mummy. I love you Daddy.

I hope you feel happiness soon.

So this is happiness.

I feel happy.

I feel.





AUTHOR’S NOTE: If you are feeling anxious or depressed and are considering self-harm, please contact the suicide prevention organisation in your area.

In Australia:
Beyond Blue:
or call
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 65 94 67
BeyondBlue Support Service: 1300 22 46 36
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 18 00


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