Trigger warning: suicide
Since I was a child, I always wondered what would happen to me when I die. Would I simply be ashes? Or would somebody notice my absence? Sometimes the scary idea of disappearing from the memories of everyone I loved was what made me think twice about some decisions that crossed my mind. I learned the hard truth of humankind: we are inevitably afraid of oblivion. I learned that in a way that nobody could ever imagine. I was so afraid of being forgotten by everyone that I did something terrible.
I was in my twenties and I had a friend, Rose. She was kind and cheerful, and she was like my own sister. She loved writing and had a black notebook that she would carry everywhere.
“Can I take a look at it?”
“Sure. Go ahead.”
When I finished her story, I couldn’t stop smiling. I didn’t know that she was that talented!
“Is it good? Do you think it is a good idea?”
“Of course! It is wonderful!”
“Thank God! I thought you would hate it!”
“Why? This is seriously good!”
“Because I want to publish it. I’m really excited because I’ve never tried doing anything like this before and I want to try. My father would’ve liked that, you know? His dream was to be a writer and I want to make him proud.”
At that moment, everything changed. I’m not sure why but I couldn’t look at her eyes. I know it was stupid but an idea crossed my mind. If she published that story, she would easily become a famous writer. Everyone would love her and she would eventually forget about me. I would simply become a lost memory, the shadow of someone she used to know. Thinking about that made me realize that I could never allow that to happen. There was rage boiling in my veins and I just felt uneasy and jealous. She would not only forget about me, but she would also be loved and remembered by everyone.
Of course, I couldn’t tell her that. I had to pretend that I was happy with her plan.
“You’ll do well! I’m sure they will publish your story, Rose.”
“Thanks, Linda. You’re the best! I’ll send my story tomorrow.”
I couldn’t sleep thinking about her plan. But what could I do?
“If I simply take it, she won’t be able to send it to the publishing house, right?”
An evil idea appeared in my mind and I couldn’t help but smile. I sneaked into her bedroom and I saw Rose sleeping. She looked like a princess, beautiful and calm. Next to her, there was her beloved notebook.
I was simply fascinated by that notebook. Never had I wanted something more in my whole life.
I took it away from her and I look at Rose one last time. For a moment, I regretted my decision and I was about to leave the notebook next to her. But when I remembered what she would do to me, I couldn’t do it. I wanted to be remembered and it didn’t matter the cost. I just wanted to be loved and respected by everyone, and I was about to have that.
I closed the door and I simply walk away.
I’m sure most know what I did. I went straight to the publishing house the next morning after I read repeatedly her story. I wanted to know it by heart because that way they would believe it was my idea. I won’t lie and I will admit that I was totally nervous. Fortunately, everyone believed me and from that moment on I was a writer. I was so excited that when I went back home, I didn’t remember that Rose was still there.
“Linda, have you seen my notebook? I can’t find it. I was supposed to go this morning but it’s nowhere to be found.”
“It must be here. Maybe it’s in your room, as always.”
“No, I’m sure it’s not there. It’s really strange. If something happens to that notebook, I would—”
“Calm down, Rose. We’ll find it together. I promise.”
I decided to help Rose even though I knew we would never find her notebook. Weeks passed by and Rose looked paler and sicker. It was as if she was no longer the happy girl I’d known since I was a child. Rose was desperate and sometimes I could listen to her crying at night.
“It’s over. I’ll never find it. I failed.”
“Don’t say that, Rose. It’s a pity but you can write better stories. You’re talented and you can do whatever you want.”
“But that story was special. My father gave me the idea and I wanted it to be a way to remember him. When he died, I was devastated. I didn’t know where to go and that’s when you told me I could live with you. If it wasn’t for you, I could’ve died.”
“You’re like a sister to me and my grandma loved you! Now that she is gone, you’re my only family.”
I hugged her and at that moment, I felt dirty. She was my sister but I had betrayed her.
One week later, I received one copy of my story. When I heard that everyone was reading it and that they loved it, I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy. Finally, I was getting the recognition I deserved. I was in the spotlight and everyone loved me.
But there was someone that wasn’t happy and she confronted me in the living room.
“Why did you do it? Why? Why?”
“I’m sorry, Rose. I just…”
“You can’t even excuse yourself. Why would you do something so horrible to me? What have I ever done to you?”
“Nothing. You know me. I’ve always wanted to be popular, known by everyone. It’s not something I can control. But they now know my name. It’s everywhere, Rose! I will never be forgotten. We did it!”
“We? No, you’re wrong. You did it. Congratulations. You stole what I loved the most and you made it yours. How can I be unhappy?”
“Oh Rose, don’t be overdramatic! It’s just one stupid story. You can write more.”
“I didn’t deserve what you did! It was my story and now… I can’t even…”
“You know what? If you had published it, nobody would’ve liked it, Rose. You aren’t good enough to be a well-known person. You are just some air-headed girl that knows nothing about life. At least I have an education and money, but you? You can’t even survive on your own! You’re nothing, Rose, and you should never forget your place.”
She looked at me completely shattered. For a moment, she closed her eyes and nodded. When she opened her eyes, I could see sadness and disappointment.
“You were never my friend. I was right… I’ve always been on my own.”
I remember she simply left the house that day. I was angry and I didn’t even call her. It was two days after when I received the news. I couldn’t believe for a moment what they moment and I just wanted to cry and beg for forgiveness. But there was nothing I could do: Rose was already gone. She decided to take her own life and she drowned in a river. Someone saw her and tried to help but it was too late.
There are times when I regret what I did. I was immature and greedy, and it was my entire fault. It’s true that I became a famous writer and that I’ve published several books that gave me money and recognition, but that’s no excuse for what I did. However, nobody will ever know about this. It’s my darkest secret and we can say that I’m trying to repay Rose. I was inspired by several of her stories to write my books and I always mention her in them. I committed a sin but I would never confess what I did to my public. I rather die than tell everyone what I did to Rose. I guess karma will come for me one day but for now, I’ll enjoy what I have.