After an entire year of playing it safe, taking no risks, interacting with no-one and trying my best to stay alive, I was rewarded with having the highest number of years in a row without dying so far: 3. That's right, 3 whole years without any excruciating pain, unexpected trips to Hell or Heaven, or notably dangerous situations. Sure, during the first couple years I wasn't playing it as safe, but I was determined to stay alive and have a normal life.
Except… I wasn't. Sure, I was still alive, but I wasn't exactly living, either. I cut myself off from all my friends, shut myself up in my room after school, and stopped talking for practically an entire year. It was around the start of this year when it occurred to me: this isn't natural. It isn't normal for someone to be this paranoid. And sure, my curse made me far from normal, but if I was trying to have a normal life, I was going about it the wrong way.
So a couple weeks ago, I got together with my friends for the first time in over a year. And I have to say, it was a hell of a lot more fun than being so paranoid all the time. We were messing around with Alexa, which is basically a more intelligent Siri for Amazon users. It was just like old times, saying all this obscene and messed up shit simply to try and get each other to laugh. It was the happiest I'd been in a long time, and I honestly thought I was starting to overcome my fear of dying, if only a little bit.
Well, that changed when PC Principal had us all meet up in the auditorium a few days ago. Tweek was doing a performance about the whole issue with North Korea. Now, I stopped paying attention to the news during the year where I shut down, (then again, I never really paid attention to the news in the first place) so it was pretty jarring to see Tweek slamming on the piano screaming "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" At first, I thought it was nothing. I mean, it's Tweek, he's always freaking out about something. But that didn't change the fact that his anxiety was starting to get me anxious, too.
I tried my best to forget about it. I turned my phone off for good measure, to distance myself further from any negativity and paranoia, and went to go sit with my friends at lunch. But not only did the topic of Tweek freaking everyone out come up, but I found out that Cartman got back together with Heidi because she threatened to kill herself otherwise. It turns out that he was full of bull, and there was actually a voicemail proving that Cartman was the one who was suicidal.
I found it fucking hilarious, along with everyone else, but for different reasons. Mainly because I thought it was ironic that someone like Cartman, who hurt and crushed so many people and has even mocked suicide before, was declaring that he himself was considering suicide. I knew he didn't have the guts to do it; even when he was brainwashed by David Blaine, he was unable to go through with it.
But I did feel kinda bad about it afterward, because nobody knows more about suicidal thoughts and intent more than I do. I'm familiar with that utter hopelessness, the feeling that there's no way out all too well. That one topic of conversation caused me to remember all the times I had killed myself, be it unintentional accidents, byproducts of sexual encounters, or self-sacrifice.
Maybe if I just died again, I'd stop feeling so paranoid.
I started having thoughts like that, that maybe, just maybe, if I died everything would go back to normal. I could stop being so scared all the time, because my streak would be over. But it wasn't just the streak ending, it would be the fact that if I intentionally broke it, all that effort I put into staying alive for the past 3 years would be for nothing.
No, don't think like that. I'm here, I'm alive, and I have a say. I'm in control.
I managed to make it through the next couple of days okay, but after I got to school yesterday, there was an announcement that put the possibility of death on my radar screen once again. Gary Borkovec, one of the kids who was spreading awareness about distracted driving, got killed by the very thing he was spreading awareness about. Now, of course, you'd expect me to think something along the lines of "That could've been me, thank god that wasn't me." Yeah, I thought so too. But you wanna know what I thought instead?
That should've been me.
I don't know how, I just… felt responsible for his death, even though I knew I had nothing to do with it. But in the past, that sort of thing would happen to me, and I would always come back the next day just like always. Here, because I was putting so much effort into staying alive, this sort of thing happened to an unsuspecting kid at our school.
It's because of me. I should have been the one to get run over, I should have taken his place. Yeah, I know I barely knew the guy, but that doesn't change the fact that I wish I could've been there.
We were all given candles to mourn his loss, and all the while I was thinking about what today would be like if I was the one who died instead of Gary. Would everyone be holding candles for me? Come to think of it, because everyone's memories get wiped each time I come back, I have no idea if they mourn for me or not.
Of course, Cartman, the self-centered asshole that he is, assumed that we were all sad and in mourning because of him, that we thought that he killed himself. When Stan and Kyle told him about Gary, his immediate reaction was that Gary had died on purpose just to spite him. And the very next thing he said?
"Put down the candle, Kinny! I bet you never gave a shit about Gary Borkovec!"
He was right. I hated to admit it, but he was right. Before today, he was just another face in the crowd with a name that I constantly forgot, a complete stranger. The only reason why I'm caring about him now is because he's dead. Possibly because of me. And then the idea occurred to me: how many others had died in the past 3 years because I wasn't there to die for them?
Immediately after getting home, I opened my laptop and tried to find something, anything to ease the guilt. But that didn't stop the thoughts from coming in, the possibility that if I died, all this shit would stop happening to other people and start happening to me like it used to.
Would everyone be better off if I just died? Would all of this… stop happening?
Dammit, I was thinking about suicide again. Why did I ever laugh at Eric for saying he was suicidal? Why did I go along with everyone else mocking him? I should know better than anyone that this shit isn't funny.
Then I remembered passing Cartman and Heidi in the halls, and hearing something about a webpage for suicidal awareness. I did some digging, and sure enough, there it was. An online gathering place for people thinking about taking their lives can talk about their feelings and hopefully find a reason not to.
Obviously, I went in as an anonymous user. I didn't care if anyone at school knew it was me, but my time as Mysterion taught me that it's a good idea to keep your identity hidden, especially on the internet. I didn't want any of the stuff I was about to say to get traced back to me so I could get put in an institution or some shit. My family wouldn't be able to afford to send me there, and it'd be hard to escape via suicide in a place where the entire goal is to keep everyone alive and sane.
Anyways, I just… let out everything. I just wanted someone, anyone to give me a reason that wasn't "You have so much left to live for," or "You only have one life, don't end it here." Because I knew full well that those statements didn't apply to me. No, I needed a reason why I, as an immortal, should put so much effort into keeping up this streak.
Guest: I've been afraid of dying for a long time, and I put in an extra effort to try and stay alive the past year. However, I can't shake the feeling that everyone would be better off if I died, and that others who died recently would still be here if I had simply taken their place. I'm trying to find a reason to not die.
It wasn't long before I got a response.
Heidi Turner: I'm sure you must feel alone, but I assure you, there are others here who feel the same way that you do. And all your friends and family would be miserable if you were gone. They wouldn't be better off if you died, if anything, it would probably make their lives worse. Just know that if you need to talk, there are people here who are willing to listen.
It was both the answer that I wanted to hear, and the answer I didn't need. I decided to present my… "unique" case in the form of a hypothetical question.
Guest: Let's just say that, hypothetically, I was an immortal who came back to life each time they died. Would my life still matter then?
Heidi Turner: Of course, everyone's life matters! And while immortality is impossible, I'm sure it would hurt a lot to die over and over, and people would at least miss you while you were gone. Besides, if you would just come back, wouldn't committing suicide be meaningless?
While it was nice of her to say that, there was one thing that she didn't understand. This wasn't about ending my life. While I would like very much for that to happen, permanently, there wasn't anything I could do about that. It was about standing up to my fears, accepting the fact I was immortal, and breaking the 3-year-streak by my own free will. Because I didn't want to leave her hanging, I wrote Heidi a reply before shutting down my laptop.
Guest: I suppose it would. Thanks, I feel a lot happier now.
It hurt to lie like this, but I knew what I had to do. I was sick of not being there for people who may have needed me, for being so selfish, cowardly, and constantly living in fear. Even if it ends up being for nothing, I had to try. My phone vibrated, and upon booting it up I saw that Stan had texted me.
Stan: Hey, dude. We're all supposed to meet in the auditorium by 6:00pm tomorrow. Have you memorized the lyrics yet?
That was when I remembered. They were hosting a memorial for him tomorrow which was also supposed to raise awareness for distracted driving. All our parents were coming, and a bunch of us were supposed to practice singing this song we were going to perform for them.
Kenny: Thanks for reminding me.
Then it occurred to me: the whole reason why Gary Borkovec died was because of distracted drivers. I didn't know how many, but there must have been a lot of people hurt or killed if Gary organized a group of kids to spread awareness about it.
Wouldn't the memorial hit home for a lot more people if there was another face among the deceased? Specifically, one that a lot of people know?
I went back to school, bringing one of my countless school pictures with me. I made my way to the office, slipping it onto PC Principal's desk along with a note.
"Kenny McCormick – Distracted Driver Victim."
I quickly made my way over to CtPaTown, knowing that the busyness of the place and the sheer amount of things to see would be enough to distract anyone. For a while, I just sat there, waiting for an opportunity, and mentally preparing myself for what I was about to do.
3 years… It's been a good run.
I distinctly heard the screeching of tires in the background. Someone was speeding, they wouldn't be able to slow down in time.
I don't care whether this makes a difference or not. Sure, it'll be awesome if it will, but that's not the reason why I'm doing this.
The car in the distance was rapidly approaching. Time for me to make my move.
I'm tired of being afraid, of closing myself off and distancing myself from everyone.
I dashed out in front of the car, right when I knew that they wouldn't be able to avoid running me over.
I just want things to go back to the way they were.
I closed my eyes and braced myself for the impact.
The pain… It was excruciating, no doubt, but it didn't last long. I felt my head break apart, the tire crushing my skull, and everything went black.