9:00 pm – continued
“Always, sweetie. Are you ready?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” Jenna gave a shaky laugh. “Let’s just get this over with before I lose my nerve.”
“Just remember you always have an out if you want it.” Sylvie paused for a moment, just to make sure Jenna was ready. “Okay, sweetie, you can start.”
Taking a deep breath, Jenna slipped into a chatty mode, just as they had agreed on. This was going to be harder for her, being so much younger than her aunt, than it would be for Sylvie. Sylvie, at least, had been idly waiting by to join her husband in death. Jenna had no reason other than avoiding pain for committing suicide.
Earlier in the day, at her grandparents’ party, Jenna had let it slip to her aunt that she intended on committing suicide rather than wait for midnight to die. She was afraid of the pain the explosions might inflict, afraid it might take more than a split second to die. Sylvie had admitted to having the same plan, to have been preparing for the past few weeks. They had conspired to do the deed together so neither would be alone. They would chat like old times, talking about their lives, their dreams, their life goals, as they choked down pills and syrups one after the other. They had thought to be together, under the same roof, but both had wanted to die in their own homes, Jenna in her childhood bedroom and Sylvie in her window seat.
Finally, everything had gone into their stomachs and the bottles were either empty or half empty. Jenna knew there were tears that now covered her cheeks and had splashed onto her clothes. Her hands were shaky and she felt a little dizzy, her vision blurring as she looked around her bedroom one last time, clasping a teddy bear close to her chest. Her water was gone and her mouth felt parched, but she didn’t think she would make it to a sink for more water.
“Are you okay?” Sylvie asked, her voice sounding distant to Jenna’s ears.
“Yeah,” Jenna replied, squeezing her eyes shut. “You?”
“I’m okay. I love you, Jenna.”
“Love you, too,” Jenna managed.
As planned, both aunt and niece hung up. Jenna turned and swept everything off her bed, but kept the bear her parents had given to her when she was born close to her body. After turning out her light, she laid herself out on her bed, folding her hands over her stomach, her bear lying beside her. She was left in near darkness, the moonlight and starlight streaming across her bed and body being the only light in the room.
Jenna could feel herself growing even dizzier with each breath she took. She closed her eyes and evened out her breathing, willing herself into a deep sleep. She hoped it wouldn’t take too long and that she soon would be in the warm embraces of her loved ones. She was ready to pass through death’s gates.