Suicide in the Bathroom

John asked why he was thinking night before of killing himself in the bathroom. I didn’t know. He didn’t, he said, because it wouldn’t be fair on me, who was asleep at the time and when I got up to pee in the dark would’ve stumbled on him and asked ‘what are you doing down there?’ in front of the pan, impeding access. Since I’m used to his not replying, I might not have put on the light but sat down to contain the pee without waking up too much and rested my feet on his body which I would not know was a body as such unless it was already cold, in which case I’d say, ‘You’re cold. You should get to bed,’ and when he didn’t move continue, ‘All right!’ and gone back to bed myself, unless of course I had an apprehension about it and did put on the light to see what was what, his hanging by the neck from the towel rail while sitting on the floor. He’s tried twice before in prison. “I’ve never seen a dead body,” I said. He concluded he felt like killing himself in the bathroom from general depression.

When he said he was going to the bathroom, I said, “try not to commit suicide.” He took offence. “I told you that in confidence.” Who else was there? “I’m not breaking confidence,” as I now am because I did not regard it as given in confidence, “I was making a joke – if you can’t make a joke of death, what’re you going to do when something serious comes along?” But I did have a sense of doom, as if I’d been given too big a mouthful to chew. I can’t be expected to live to keep from suicide somebody so prone to it, can I? He’s already threatened if he goes back to prison he’ll commit suicide or take an overdose and throw himself off Richmond Bridge. What is it with Richmond Bridge? Another friend thought of that too. What is it with me! I’m a flame attracts suicidal moths.

In the event what would I do? I’d phone Richard on John’s phone which hasn’t any credit but maybe a permitted text. Failing that, I’d try Leslie again, to phone if not the police then for a paramedic to ensure John’s dead. Before that I’d’ve unknotted or cut whatever cord attached John to the rail. No point asking me to try resuscitation. Even if I knew how, the bathroom’s a most confined space. It would save a lot of bother if he felt like killing himself to also feel like going out to do it as far as possible from me. I might suggest that. It would be less selfish of him. More of me? Yeah, well.

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About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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