Today Carol told me a secret.
I had to swear high and low I would not tell anybody, before she told me and then I could not wait to get home to try it for myself.
The day dragged by too slowly. The bus taking me home took longer than usual. When it stopped and I stepped down the stairs, I barely noticed that the lawn had been mowed or that my mum had planted new flowers along the pathway leading up to our front door.
When I walked into my house, I acknowledged my mom’s cheerful greeting with a distracted, “Hi.” I was hoping she was not going to ask how school was, but she did. I did very well at school, probably because they showed so much interest in my achievements, I did not really want to disappoint them. I was a well-balanced fifteen-year-old girl, and I was marginally popular at school. I was not tight with the populars, but then again I was also not one of the un-populars. In a world where every kid I knew came from a broken home, I was dysfunctional because my parents had been married since forever and they were still together - happily married.
I rushed through the lunch my mum placed on the table in front of me, while she sat across from me, holding a coffee mug between both hands and making idle chit-chat, which I was barely listening to.
At last, I scraped the last forkful of peas into my mouth and still chewing, I pushed my chair back. I swallowed the mushiness in my mouth and smiled. “Thanks, Mum. As always it hit just the right spot. Have lots of homework, so I better get a head start.”
She reached for my empty plate across the table and returned my smile.
Walking up the stairs to my room, I felt excited and guilty all at the same time.
When I closed my bedroom door behind me, I considered turning the key, but then thought that if my mum should come upstairs, she might get suspicious.
I sat down on my bed and nervously, tentatively I folded my hands around my neck.
Carol said, “It’s the new drug of choice. It’s safe and it’s free and everybody is doing it.”
I squeezed my hands tighter around my neck, and then a little bit tighter until I blocked off my air pipe. The plan was to release the pressure at just the right time, before passing out.
After a few seconds, I started to feel light-headed and then I quickly released the grip around my neck. I gasped as I took a breath of air and the blood rushed back to my brain all at once.
How was I to know the sense of euphoria that wrapped itself around me, was directly caused by the demise of thousands of my brain cells? All I knew was that I wanted to experience that feeling of ecstasy again, and maybe this time I’ll block the air flow off for just a little bit longer.