General Fiction posted February 29, 2024

This work has reached the exceptional level
Because he knew how it felt

My Brother's Selfless Act

by Debi Pick Marquette

His name is John, and he is my little brother. He is almost 15 years old and is old enough to stay home alone. But after the ordeal with him going crazy in the school cafeteria that day a couple of months ago, Mom didn't want him to be left alone.
 He has been going to counseling, and I am responsible for getting him there a couple of times a week. With Mom and Dad working, they told me not to worry about working out after school if I would help out with John. So when I do have to go somewhere during the day, I take him with me. 
I hate to say it, but I almost see why kids sometimes pick on him. He drives me bananas at times. No matter where we go, he bugs me to take him to the mall, the movies and always wants to go to the Dairy Queen for a shake. He knows that is my weakness, and I am trying to stay clear of sweets right now because I don't want to gain any weight before graduation. 
I know he has been going through some issues with depression. Even though Mom said his counseling seemed to be working, but he has a long haul ahead of him.
I wondered what in the world a fifteen-year-old boy had to be depressed about? Because a few kids were picking on him in the cafeteria? And yet, it seemed there was something they were not telling me. 
I promised my friend, Sherry, that I would come to her party since she was going off to school in Paris right after graduation. She has a brother whose name is Jeremy, and he is a little more than a year older than John, so I took him with me so the boys could hang out together. 
Soon after we got there, John asked Sherry where Jeremy was, and she said she thought he was out by the pool. So John said thanks and headed outside. 
We were laughing and having a good time when suddenly through the open windows I heard John yelling at someone outside. My first reaction was to go out and give him a piece of my mind. How dare he go to someone else's place and make a scene. His counseling obviously was not working as well as mother said it was. 
I ran outside to grab him and get out of there as fast as I could before he embarrassed me further. A crowd from the party had gathered around the pool, so I was astonished at what I saw after I pushed my way through. 
Jeremy was on the other side of the pool with a gun pointed at his head. He had been drinking and from what I could see was quite intoxicated. He kept yelling that nobody cared about him and the only way out was to blow his head off. 
At first, I thought to myself what a selfish thing this was for him to do, that he would use his sister's party to get drunk and make a scene and threaten to kill himself.  Surely he wasn't serious? I would later regret those thoughts, as it turned out he was quite serious.
He had warned if anyone came any closer or called the cops, he would end it before they got near him. I heard a woman say that John had yelled for everyone to be quiet. That must have been what I had heard from the house. 
I was becoming more nervous by the minute as I started to fear for my brother's life. As John slowly inched closer, he talked to him like he truly understood what Jeremy was going through. It was so quiet that you could hear a leaf drop from a tree. I could hear John's soft voice telling him that was how he felt just a few months ago; that he had contemplated doing the same thing. 
 I could not believe that this was John talking. His voice was calmer than I had ever heard, and he almost sounded like our father. Yet, what was coming out of him could have been our pastor talking. 
 Jeremy kept yelling for John to back off, and then I saw tears stream down my brother's face as he told this poor boy that if he pulled the trigger, he might as well shoot him first because he knew that he wouldn't be able to live with a friend taking his own life when he knew there was another way out. 
My heart sank as I heard him make that statement. Many questions were going through my mind. Was John telling the truth when he said that he had contemplated doing the same thing?  Is this what my mother wasn't telling me? Had John, too, been close to suicide?
Jeremy screamed at John,  "What other way out? Even my parents don't care about me. I just get yelled at for everything and feel like I am a burden to them and the entire world. They only care about their daughter going to Paris and the party life. I am just in the way here."
By now, John was within a foot of Jeremy, and I heard John say, "did you ever ask them to listen to you about how you feel about things? Tell them! I have a feeling they are ready to listen." 
Jeremy started sobbing and handed the gun to my brother, and from behind came the parents of this troubled boy, both crying and now hugging their son. 
They started to take him into the house, but first, the father took the gun and said he was ashamed that it hadn't been locked up. Then he hugged John and thanked him. These parents had most definitely heard their son this time. 
I told John how proud I was of him and would always be there if he needed someone to talk to.  I then grabbed my brother, and as I embraced him, I could feel his shaken body still trembling.  
So I said, "Hey bro, how about we go to the Dairy Queen and get us a couple of shakes?" He just smiled and nodded as if to say, "It's about time!"


988 Suicide and Teen and Adult Crisis Lifeline

This story is completely fictional. However, I wrote this after watching a couple of News programs about how the suicide rate had increased so much in the last few years. Children as young as 6 years old have committed suicide. As a mom and grandmother, I was so distraught I couldn't get it out of my head, and wanted to help somehow. It is my hope that writing this could make a difference in at least one child or teen's life.
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© Copyright 2024. Debi Pick Marquette All rights reserved.
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