Murdered His Guilt

Contributor: Allie Coker-Schwimmer

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“I heard it was murder.”

“It wasn’t murder, it was an altercation. Self-defense if anything.”

“Wait, what happened exactly?”

“Well, the Daniel guy was trying to get out of drugs, trouble- you know what I mean. Trying to get his life back together. He never really was the same after his sister passed away.”

“Yeah, I heard about that! That was so shocking and sad.”

“Yeah it really was. So, he had this party and a few of the guys showed up with stuff. They were trying to shoot up in his bathroom or something, and he didn’t want them to. One guy got really upset- said he was “disrespecting” them or something, can you believe that? Just because he didn’t want them doing drugs in his bathroom? So the fight between them just got bigger and bigger.”

“Wow- well, what did the rest of the people at the party do?”

“I don’t know…you would think there would be some interference.”

“Yeah, really. I’d be scared shitless if I were there though.”

“No kidding. So then the guy pulls a gun on the Daniel guy, or there was a gun near them, I’m not sure whose gun it was or where it came from but I just know Daniel shot the other guy first.”

“So it was self-defense. Kill or be killed.”

“Pretty much. The bad part is that the Daniel guy felt so bad and freaked out about shooting this guy that he yelled to his girlfriend to call an ambulance, and then while she did that he went into the other room and shot himself.”

“You mean he’s the one that killed himself?”

“Yeah. What a horrible situation to be in….”

“So he murdered himself.”

“You can’t ‘murder’ yourself.”

“Then he murdered his guilt.”

Walking around the neighborhood and hearing people talk this way, I know they have it all wrong. Sure, they may have the story down more or less- but not the details. Nobody living knows the exact details. They may know the story, but they don’t know a damn thing about my cousin Daniel or the reasons why he probably shot himself. And they never will. For some reason it makes me bristle to hear people conjecturing, discussing things in such a calm manner. And every time I hear someone proclaim that suicides go to hell, I go red and think, “So will you.”

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Currently, I am obtaining my MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University in Charlotte and live with my husband in Durham, NC. I also wrote a book which is due to be released later this year.
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