Contagion

“I can’t believe this thing is back again. It must have just been lying dormant”. There was a real buzz among the locals, and I’d never heard it talked about that way. Like an illness, a contagion. I couldn’t quite believe it. But this all feeds into it. Its spread by talking about it you know? Hype, media attention, sensationalism. It tells the kids that it’s ok to do it. That they will gain the love and attention that they so craved in life.

I had to admit this was an unusual instance. It’s so often boys, because they choose not to discuss their problems, and favour violent means that prove successful… but this case was a 19 year old girl, an A grade student, popular, she sang in her own band. She was one of the cool kids, you know? ‘With everything to live for’. They found her dressed like her favourite rock star, with perfect make up – like she was about to go on stage – even the school tie would have looked edgy and cool. That is, if she wasn’t hanging by it. The note pinned to her shirt said “Muse sick = Sick Muse”. Not much by way of an explanation.

It always happens in January. It only takes one to start it and the rest follow suit. No body seems to know why or what sparks it off. Perhaps some places are just prone to it, you know? It seems to happen here virtually every other year. And it’s not just teenagers who are affected… although they are in the majority. Perhaps they have an epiphany of what the rest of their life will be like in this dead end town and they decide to end it now than deal with it. Who knows what the next person finds unendurable? Or when one person realises the high point in their life is already over? Suicide it seems, is catching, and how can you discourage it without talking about it? How can you talk about it without making it appear dangerous and taboo? You are just adding to the appeal.

It’s strange; there is one thing I noticed that connects the victims here. A small thing they have in common, it’s probably nothing. They’d all been aspiring musicians at some point in their lives. Perhaps they were frustrated? All that talent with nowhere to go. Although I’m sure its just coincidence. Of the two friends I lost, one was a composer and the other played bass. It just makes you wonder. You know?

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