Mandy stared at the cold marble stone in disbelief. She steadied herself against the ground in front of the grave, feeling like she was going to heave again. She looked again at the stone with Sean's name on it and couldn't believe it was real. This must be some horrid nightmare that she would wake up from, and feel relieved it didn't really happen. But it did, and she knew that she'd never be the same. This is the sort of event that bent and twisted you for the rest of your life.
There were grief counselors at the school who tried to help, but their platitudes of "you'll get over this eventually." and "life must go on" were absurd and useless. How could stupid statements like that help when the grief hit you physically, like a bat to the stomach, which takes your breath away. You gasp for air, but you're throat is closed. You cry until your sobbing becomes dry heaves racking every fiber of your being. She even thought he soul was hurting.
It wasn't the same as the other seniors at her high school who lost a classmate or even a friend. For her it was losing her soulmate. The man she was going to marry. The man she was going to spend the rest of her life with. The man she was going to bear children for. A whimper escaped her mouth as she started crying all over again. This was the man who had been her childhood sweetheart since the third grade. Now they were seniors, about to truly start their life together. When he dies in a car crash, and it was her fault.
Sean wanted to do it bareback, and she refused. For those who don't know the slang, bareback is having sex without a condom. They had been sexually active for years, but neither of their parents knew it. As with most teenagers, finding a place and time to "do it" was an ongoing challenge, even when you had a willing partner.
Mandy had planned their life together pretty much through college, the wedding, the children, the empty nest period, to their old age alone time. Taking a chance of messing up her well laid plans by having sex bareback, just wasn't responsible. Getting pregnant would have thrown everything out of order, so she refused. They argued. Sean stormed off and got drunk, and died on his way back to apologize to her. God, what she would give to be carrying his child now. How could she have been so stupid and trite. The faucet of tears let loose again.
Sean had become a statistic. One of fifteen other teenagers who died each night from drunk driving accidents across the United States. Death by a car accident involving alchohol is the leading cause death for children aged 15 to 20. Mandy couldn't bear the thought of living a whole life without Sean. She couldn't stand the thought of another man's hands on her body. She decided to become a statistic too.
Teen suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds. You may find it surprising but girls in that age group about twice as often as boys, but boys die about four times as much, because they chose more lethal methods in their attempts. Mandy was aware of those statistics and was determined to be successful in her first attempt.
She said a little prayer asking for forgiveness for what she was about to do, and begged God to let her be with Sean.
The shot echoed against the cold marble stones in the empty graveyard.