It's November. In a few days you will have been dead one year. 12 months of not seeing you, not hearing you, and still the question is unsettled in my heart.

If I had called you like I said I would, would you still have killed yourself?

We hadn't known each other long, a few months at maximum. But I held your hand in the women's resource center when you sobbingly confessed to a counselor the 15 years of sexual abuse you'd braved with your father as a child. I sat on the steps of the welfare office and smoked with you as you desperately tried to get some food for your children. I spent the night on your couch once when the demands of motherhood and self-discovery became too much and you needed to hide in your bathroom for a full day. The differences between us were many - you were 34, I was 21. You had four children and two ex-husbands; I had no children and was happily engaged. And yet from the first time I saw you I felt a bond, a pull of sameness. We laughed, we cried, we held hands and ate luncheons together. It should have been priceless; it should have lasted so much longer.

Suddenly you pulled away. You didn't return my calls and you didn't answer the door when I knocked. There was no explanation and it hurt. So I stopped knocking, stopped calling.

Then out of the blue, you called me. Sobbing. You asked me to come over later that week - I was uncomfortable after the weeks of non-communication. I said yes I'd come over Friday. You asked me to call you tomorrow. I said - "I'll call you tomorrow." And I never did.

A month later I got the call that you had been found dead, suicide by overdose, leaving no note, in your apartment.

It's been almost a full year now since I got the phone call about your death. And yet - the question still remains. One that may never be answered....If I had called you, would you still be dead?

I'm sorry, Mikki. If it makes a difference, I return my phone calls now. I know the price that may be paid if I don't. I'm so sorry.

See the truth all around
Our faith can be broken
And our hands can be bound
But open our hearts
And fill up the emptiness
With nothing to stop us
Is it not worth the risk?

A man, younger than he looked, sang loudly enough to be a disturbance to those around him. There was an almost U2-like quality to his voice, and he was smiling oddly. He seemed exceptionally happy, something exaggerated by a recent stint of depression. Everything he did, he did with unexplainable zest. Anyone would think he was about to go on a date or something. He had slept well during the night, and had gone to bed relaxed after doing something that required significant mental exersion.

As the sun continued its way to the centre of its parabolic trek for the day, the man's hyper-happiness gradually wore off. He began to become increasingly jittery, like that time he'd pulled an all-nighter and eaten a cup of coffee with a spoon at 6am. Every time a car drove past in the street outside, he dashed to the front window. He froze at every approaching siren. Was that the doorb...? No. He left his handheld computer where he could see it at all times, subconsciously watching the notification LED in the corner from his periphery vision. Every shadow made him jump. Never before had he been so on edge, not in life-or-death situations, not during the most fear and apprehension inspiring moments of his life.

It was almost 10:30 when his phone buzzed on the bench where it was charging. "Nothing's impossible. If it can be dreamed, it can be done." The quote from Night At The Museum rang out, and the man leapt for the phone. His heart rate shot up, the beats getting louder and louder. He saw the message was from a number not in his address book, and panic took hold. The "boom boom, boom boom" from his heart turned into a single continuous growl, resembling that of a V8 supercar. His eyes couldn't read fast enough, and there were tight pains in his chest. It took a full minute to read the handful of words in the message.

It was only a mate informing him he had a replacement hard drive ready for him. The realisation hit the man, and he tried to breathe again, something he had forgotten to do since hearing the phone. Suddenly he realised that he couldn't breathe. Not only that, but his heart was no longer doing anything. The man had used to be able to hold his breath for over three minutes years ago, so he wasn't overly concerned yet. His attention was now fully focussed on his own survival in a more immediate way than it had been before. The situation he found himself in was an unexpected one, and one he had only experienced once before. With an excruciating all-out lunge, he threw his weight forward, sprawling headlong onto the carpeted floor beneath him.

There was an odd noise from his heart as it restarted on his chest impacting the floor. He was barely breathing, but could still just manage to type. "Yo dawgs, so I'm just having a heart attack, right" An MRI scan of his skull couldn't keep him off IRC, you'd have to be kidding to think a cardiac arrest could. All his vital systems were back online, so there was little point in paramedic assistance. He lay motionless for two hours, able to do little more than breathe and type out updates on his condition. Slowly he returned to being fully functional, eventually acting as if nothing had happened.

In retrospect, the arrest was completely predictable. Recent abnormal physical stress had added to extended psychological stress, stretching the limits of his body, and causing a forgotten heart condition to surface. FWIW, the cliff-hanger communication arrived at 19:30, the most relieving thing he'd heard in the fortnight.

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