It was Basil’s turn to speak now.
They all turned towards him and waited silently. Nadia thought it was better to follow this order, Mick always had a terrible story about his dead brother, and she knew that, somehow, Basil reminded Mick of him. Besides, you should never end on a such a terrible note, that had been lesson 101 of the many classes she attended. She had noticed the way Mick always looked sideways at Basil; it was not malicious, not contemptuous like it usually is with the others. He often took the seat next to him and even waited for him to finish a sentence before interrupting. There was some sort of weird fascination going on, and Nadia quickly put that on the dead brother’s account. The circumstances of Leonard’s death remained mysterious and blurry, but its presence felt like a heavy burden on Mick’s shoulders, until the moments he entered the room and saw Basil.Mick was looking at her, a silent sign that, perhaps, the younger fellow needed encouragement.
“Go on Basil, what is this thing you care to talk about?” she said with a toothless smile.
It was not an easy job – helping others. It was already such a difficult task to learn how to help oneself, but fortunately for Nadia , she quickly figured out that helping others was actually helping her. It was all a matter of helping for a bit of it in return – which eventually ended in this particular occupation that she had chosen for herself. Benevolence, that was what mainly characterized her she said to anyone willing to hear it. And she was giving Basil her most benevolent look. The young man never truly felt like he belonged anywhere, not even there. He knew the people there also had stories; old, bloody, traumatic – never forgotten. What he did not know, however, was whether or not going there and saying things out loud to total strangers actually helped him get better. But he had made a promise, and though she was gone now, the promise remained. As much as people tend to underestimate words, with everyday greetings and texts and emojis, they still held that considerable power, so much so that they sometimes seemed to be floating over one’s head for eternity. The others were all waiting for something now, some of his words, or some more general, it did not truly matter. That was the world now – waiting for your turn to speak, never really listening to what anyone has to say.
“I … hum, I, I have suicidal tendencies. I think.” Basil said.
They nodded, one cheered. Nadia looked at him with a severe expression, his face turned red. She turned back to Basil in a single and swift movement, and smiled one of her smiles.
“Okay. Would you care to elaborate on that?” she asked.
“Not really” Basil answered.
Mick cracked a smile, and Nadia immediately wrote down on her sheet that it had been the first time he smiled since the third session, some seven months ago.
“Please?” she asked, her voice slightly higher than usual.
“Well I … I almost cut my wrists yesterday” he stated.
They nodded again, one showed the scars from his own attempt on his fourteenth birthday. They were still there, the scars. But nobody really paid attention to him.
“Okay. And, why would you do such a thing?” Nadia asked.
There was a moment of communal silence, everyone inside the room seemed to ponder on that question. Why? Not that it had more implications than met the eye. It just felt tremendously overwhelming – never knowing why.
“Because; well, because I’m… I don’t know. I’m a failure, I guess” Basil said, his voice going up and down, as did his eyes.
They nodded, several cheered. The feeling was a common one; self-esteem was not even in play. It was all a matter of being realistic, pragmatic even. They all knew that, to know that one is a failure, to be fully and utterly aware of one’s inabilities to get the tiniest of wins, was one unavoidable truth that anyone meets at some point in their lives. That realisation simply made everything worse, but knowing they were not alone, somehow, for some unclear reason, made it a little bit better. They were losers, but a group of losers. Some talk about the joys of shared knowledge, others of failure of relativity. Nadia thought they were all desperate, and it made her feel tremendously better about her own self.
It was Basil’s turn to speak now.