|A Novel By Max Rabinowitz|
|I think that the very first time I ever tried to kill myself was when I was nine. For no other reason than to cause my own death I jumped into the path of an oncoming automobile and hoped it would just end everything.
The large black car wasn't moving very quickly, although to a child my age it was going a million miles an hour. Behind the wheel was an elderly woman and as soon as she saw my form hurtle in front of the car she must have immediately jammed on her brakes. I was only hit the gentlest of bumps.
I lay there for awhile as the woman knelt by my side and kept asking me if I was hurt badly. Later, she put me in her car and drove me to my house, after I gave her the address. She turned me over to my mother and told her that I seemed to leap in front of the car.
My mother told the woman not to worry about it, although she did take the woman's name and address in case it turned out to be something serious.
After the woman left my mother laid me on the living room couch and pushed a silver dollar against a large bump on my forehead. It hurt worse than getting hit by the car. I groaned a bit, but that very afternoon I was up and playing around again.
My next attempt came when I was thirteen. I had already been in the hospital for sometime and it looked to me like I wouldn't ever be getting out. I stood up to it as long as I could, but eventually it became too heavy and I decided that being dead was better than living in that damned hospital. I was much more sophisticated by this time so I didn't try anything as crude as jumping in front of an automobile. Instead, I unscrewed a light bulb from the ceiling of the attendant's office, since that was the only place light bulbs weren't protected by a safety screen, and snuck it back to my bed. I pulled my sheets and blanket over me, broke the light bulb and proceeded to slash away at my wrists. I lay there in pain for quite some time, not losing one bit of consciousness to help me along. I never imagined it would take that long to bleed to death. Anyone who's ever seen a movie knows that if they slash a wrist, poof, a little bit tired, then sleep. Not so.
About fifteen minutes later the night attendant came around for a bed check. I thought I was really being cool in containing my anguish and faking like I was asleep but fate had more years for me to travel. The attendant spotted a small pool of blood by the side of the bed.
If I'd known it was there I would have dropped my pillow on it. This attendant, Mr. Reiser, immediately opened the door, threw the covers off and exposed my bleeding wrists. Then he grabbed me up in his arms and rushed me off to the emergency treatment room.
By the time we got there I was sort of dizzy and so the pain of a nurse picking out all the glass and stitching me up didn't bother me too much. The thing that did annoy me was the fact that I had failed again. I mean, damn, was I too stupid even to kill myself?
The net result was a stronger medication, a seclusion room for ten days and a dozen lectures about the foolishness of my act.
Several other attempts at taking my own life failed also, yet at various intervals I would still try to do myself in. There was one time I almost succeeded, but even then the bastards wouldn't let me go.
At seventeen I'd had it. I took a piece of rubberized canvas and tied it around my neck. I got up on top of a radiator and tied the other end around the bars of my window. After making sure that the knots were tight, I jumped off. There was only a split second of pain and a choking feeling that disappeared almost as soon as it began.
I returned to consciousness in a bed on the hospital Emergency Ward. There were two doctors looking down at me. One of them said they had to stick a needle full of adrenalin straight into my heart to get it going again because it had stopped. I fought the straps holding me to the bed for a second, then after I burnt myself out I wept futilely.