It’s eight oh five in the morning and something’s wrong.
I received a message from my friend Jeremy that I needed to come around. His housemate’s friend was on the brink of killing himself and they had spent the whole night with him trying to cheer him up.
The friend, Kevin, was not the type to want to talk to any sort of hotline, and I was the closest thing to a psychologist any of them knew, so I got dressed and came over.
They had been drinking all night and during the course of it, Kevin had broken down and admitted that his life was shit and he’d tried to hang himself recently. That he’d written a suicide note, gotten rope, tied a noose and gone out to his backyard at home to tie it to his tree… But that his sister, who he didn’t know was home, had come outside at the same time. Kevin had frantically hid the noose and note behind the couch… But the desire lingered.
When I got there, Jeremy, his housemate and Kevin were on a couch in the garage, surrounded by empty beers and with music blaring. The vibe of the room was strange. I knew what had happened, they knew what had happened, Kevin knew what had happened, and yet we didn’t directly talk about IT. But we did talk.
We got to talking about how when Jeremy went out with Kevin, Kevin looked at him like he was some sort of God for just being able to talk to girls he didn’t know. Kevin made good money, was funny and decent-looking… But he told us that he just had sex with prostitutes instead. He’d slept with probably over two hundred and fifty prositutes, usually going for the girlfriend experience with them. And that the money he made each year, over a hundred thousand dollars, largely went to fund this. The owner of a local brothel knew him by name and would ask him to be the first client of new prostitutes they had working there, since they trusted him and knew he was gentle. The mere idea of going up to talk to a girl in a club was unfathomable to kevin, and he paid a high price to avoid it.
Kevin’s girlfriend, who he had been with for a number of years and who he was going to marry, had recently been exposed to have had a couple of kids from previous relationships, which is where a lot of the money he’d been sending her had been going. And that she had lied to him this whole time. He told us that she was the bartender at a brothel that he’d go to in the Phillipines… But Jeremy told me that this was probably a lie. She was a prostitute. When you’re terrified of rejection you have very few options for relationship partners. For a guy who was already lonely and afraid of rejection… This girl… Who represented his soul-mate and his solution to all his fear and frustrations, someone for him to love and trust… Had lied to him. He was a cuckold. He had been made a fool. And he didn’t want to be alive anymore.
We all shared stories of shit we had been through, and Kevin began to really open up. He began to smile and tell us repeatedly that this was the best day of his life.
He told us about how his father, whilst drunk, had once stabbed him, because of a silly argument, and never apologised about it. We were beginning to discover the underlying problems which would have led to this crippling lack of confidence that he’d want to directly address to overcome. The event had happened years ago, but he still regularly thought about it and was bothered by it.
We steered him towards coming up with solutions to his crappy life and he started talking about the things he’d need to change, and that it had been far too long since he’d hung out like this. He started to see hope. He made commitments which we were going to hold him to, and it seemed his long rut of stagnation was ending.
And yet, his solution was that he would simply forgive this girl… He still wasn’t willing to explore the world of possible rejection… Because a conversation isn’t enough to equip someone with confidence, it takes time. When this girl came by later on, she was fat and unconcerned. She was playing him for sure. But… How do you tell that to a guy who just nearly killed himself?
Hundreds of thousands of dollars… Years and years of doubt, frustration and shame… Settling with a fat, lying whore who had two kids that were not his own… These were the costs of his lack of confidence.
I eventually lost touch with Kevin, was afraid of what I’d discover. I hope he’s turned over a new leaf. But I just don’t know. The path he was on, if he didn’t deal with his issues, had a predictable destination.
(The characters in this story have had their names changed for privacy purposes)