Wasting Away

I struggled for a while with whether or not I wanted my completed book to include the following excerpt. I ultimately realized that I had to include it. Too many LGBT teens are lost to suicide. And too many more have attempted it. With the family life that Cinnamin had growing up, there is no doubt in my mind that she struggled with thoughts of suicide at one point or another. Years later, as she is dealing with intense grief, of course those thoughts would return to her. Leaving them out of the book would be inaccurate to the emotional construction of the character.

So without further ado, here is the beginning of Chapter Three of Finding ‘Ohana:


All I did while I stayed at Lucas’ house was go through my memories. That, and torture myself with the “what if” game. What if we had not run out of flour that week, and I had not seen that toddler who’d dropped the sprinkles? But on the days that I was honest with myself, I knew the flour was not to blame. What if I had ignored the exchange Naali’d had with the toddler? Or even if we had decided to have a baby, what if only I had gotten artificially inseminated instead of both of us? What if I had gotten pregnant instead of Naali? What if I had not been relieved when it was Naali who’d gotten pregnant, when I knew I would be the birthing coach instead of the one giving birth?

But we did run out of flour, I did suggest we have a baby. I did not get pregnant. And I was relieved. I was selfish enough to be relieved that I would not have to go through the pain of childbirth. And so now I was being punished with a worse pain. I was not at home with my new family. Instead, I was a burden in my friend’s home.

I spent most days alone while Lucas was at work and Julie was in morning preschool and afternoon day care. I would not have been able to tell how long I had been there if it were not for Lucas and Julie’s weekends at home.

I thought that maybe if I did nothing, not even eating or sleeping, maybe I would waste away. I might have done more, if I had not promised Lucas long ago that I would never do anything intentional to hurt myself.

When I was in high school, once the rumors about me started, I stole half of Mom’s sleeping pills from the medicine cabinet. I assumed there were more than enough to do the job. But Lucas found them in my bedside table.

“What are these?” he had asked.

When I saw what he was referring to, I froze. The look on my face was enough of an answer for him.

“You were going to take these, all of them?” He sounded angry now.

“No. I mean, not necessarily.” Tears filled my eyes. “I hadn’t decided yet.”

“Then why do you have them?” He was almost yelling. His voice shook with fear.

“Just in case.”

He jerked the whole drawer from my bedside table and stomped into my bathroom. I heard the toilet flush. He came back holding the empty drawer and dropped it. The wood made a hollow echo in my room as it hit the floor.

“You can’t,” he said. “You can’t ever.” His voice was barely a whisper, but I knew he meant it. “Maybe it’s selfish, but I just couldn’t do it without you.”

I nodded.

“Promise,” he said.

“I promise.”


3 thoughts on “Wasting Away

  1. The part with Lucas finding the pills is really intense. I can imagine how hurt he would be looking at them. I wonder, though, if a teenager would even think or admit he was being selfish by demanding his friend stay alive.

    • I see where you’re coming from, that a teen wouldn’t really say he’s being selfish about such a request, but I think I added it because at first it seemed a little too harsh. Like, “I don’t care what you’re going through, I’m going through a lot too, and I don’t want to go through it alone.”

      Lucas and Cinnamin are kind of supposed to be not your average teenagers. They ended up growing up too fast, partly because they are each other’s only friend. So I figured Lucas would be self-aware enough to realize why he wants Cinnamin to stick around, but he would also not deny her pain.

      I’ll keep thinking about it though, since you do make a very good point. Thank you!

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