Depression

By Shawn LaSota

“I guess you heard about Jane, right? Shocked the hell outta me when I heard about it.”

“Yeah.”

“Never woulda expected it. Not from her in a million years. Course I didn’t know her all that well in the end. To tell you the truth, I can’t remember all that much about her except that she used to wear those tight, pink undershirts. Didn’t matter what she was wearing over it, but she was always wearing that pink. She said they were like jeans or the color black. That everything went with pink on a girl, and I’d have to agree. She always pulled it off well. I didn’t think she’d be capable of doing something like this, did you? I just can’t see her doing it.”

“I didn’t know her that well.”

“Like I said, I didn’t either towards the end. I remember her in college. Man, she was always so full of life. Like, you hear people describe other people as being full of life all the time, but every time you hear someone say that, you never know what the fuck they’re talking about. But with her, man, I’m serious. You take a look at her and you think to yourself, fuck, she’s got things going on in her life. Why can’t I have things going on in my life like she does?”

“She doesn’t anymore.”

“Don’t be so fuckin’ insensitive. Fuck’s sake, man. She was a good girl, you know? I took her out for a drink once, and she was the happiest girl I’d ever seen. Full of life, like I said. She was gorgeous. I mean, she was no model, but beautiful all the same. Had that red hair and was able to hold a tan. She was a natural red too. Now, you know how rare it is for a ginger to be able to tan? She was one in a million, man. And she was so hot, or at least she had those amazing looking tits. Thousand guys were hitting on her, and she took them all in stride.”

“She fucked them?”

“No, I mean she took it in stride like she didn’t get bent out of shape. Lotta girls get hit on and they act like it’s a fucking curse that they’re drop-dead gorgeous. She took it as a compliment every time. If a guy bought her a drink, she would be polite and drink it. She must’ve had a dozen free drinks that night because she was fuckin’ hammered when we left the bar. Not together, I might add, but together in that I helped her and drove her home. And if a guy only offered to buy her a drink, she wouldn’t lead the poor bastard on saying, ‘Oh sure, sure, buy me a drink and maybe you can get in my pants.’ She didn’t do shit like that. She’d say, ‘No, thank you,’ or, ‘Oh, that’s very sweet of you, but no.’ She was a real classy girl, and I respected the hell out of her. You know how rare that is? For me to respect a girl? Usually, I only respect a girl to the point that I nail her, and even then, it’s not really respect, but just part of the game. I’m just playing the game, biding my time before I fuck her, and then I’m out the door and she’s worthless to me because there was never anything there to begin with. But Jane, shit man, she was something else. Even after we screwed, and I can’t remember how many times we screwed, but even after we screwed, I still stuck around because she was something more than I ever saw before. She still smiled around me. She didn’t get pissed off that I didn’t call or that I didn’t stay until morning. It was like she expected it, understood it, and was okay with it, and that was sexy as hell.”

“So you did fuck her?”

“Well it wasn’t really fucking at the end of the day. Like, when you fuck a girl, you fuck her, get done, and that’s it. You leave. With Jane, yeah you started fucking her, but she had a way to slow you down and be more deliberate with your fucking. She turned your fucking into something more like…I don’t know…some kind of intimacy.”

“Wait, so you made love to her?”

“What? No. I’m just saying it wasn’t fucking, but it sure as shit wasn’t love. Okay? What I’m saying is that I would have stuck around, and I did some nights. She was the sort of girl that I could see myself ending up with if it weren’t for all the other ass I was getting on the side. I mean, how could I pass that up, right?”

“So was she good?”

“Are you listening to a word I’m fucking saying? Yeah, she was good. But it wasn’t the sort of good that you’re thinking. She was good like forever good. She could make you feel stuff that you didn’t think was possible, man. She was special, and I’m not just talking about her looks. She had that personality thing that people are always going on about and saying that it’s so fucking important. I never really agreed with it before or since, but Jane had something. I just can’t see her doing something like this. Maybe I should have called her over the past year or something. Fuck, I didn’t even know she was depressed. You look at a girl like that and you would have no idea that she was depressed. What happened in the last year that made her so fucking down on herself that she would do it?”

Clinical Depression by Yuliya Libkina

Clinical Depression by Yuliya Libkina

“Maybe she lost her job.”

“You don’t do it because you lost your job. I don’t understand people who do this shit. I mean, yeah, I get down. I get depressed. We all do. I remember you telling me like last year or something that you were depressed for like two weeks straight. It happens.”

“It happens.”

“You wanna know what I think?”

“Sure.”

“I think depression is a pretty white thing. Like, I’m not being racist. This has nothing to do with race. But can you name a famous black person that killed themselves?”

“No.”

“Neither can I. But white people, sure, no problem. You got David Foster Wallace, Jack London, Sylvia Plath, Hunter S. Thompson.”

“Kurt Cobaine.”

“Right, and that’s just hitting the fucking tip of the goddamn iceberg. And what do they all have in common?”

“They were all tortured souls or artists?”

“They were all white. That’s it. They’re white and Jane was white. You and I, we get depressed and we’re white. And I think the reason is because no one was around in history to kill off the depressed white people. Think about it, you know how in those commercials it says that depression is genetic? Well think about this. In America, how many genocides against white people have there been that you can think of? I may be off on this, but think of this. When whites brought Africans over to be our slaves, there might have been a depressed one or two in the bunch. How do you think white farm owners treated their depressed slaves? If the slave was depressed and just fucking along doing half-assed farm tilling or cotton picking or whatever the fuck slaves were doing back then, then the farmer probably beat the slave to death just for working so fucking slow. Now, I’m no doctor, but if you’re a dead slave, you can’t really fuck other slaves and have depressed slave babies. But all the happy-go-lucky slaves are all singing and jangling, playing the fuckin’ spoons on the porch. They’re happy and fuckin’ like rabbits, making more singing and spoon-playing slaves. So it’s not survival of the fittest anymore, but survival of the happiest. But if you were a depressed white guy, you weren’t getting beaten to death by a fuckin’ land owner. Instead, you wrote some shitty poetry, and people paid you a ton to read it. Other white, depressed girls wanted to fuck you and bear your depressed babies. So there is suddenly a fuckin’ influx of depressed white people because it’s so fuckin’ attractive to be white and depressed.”

“My white guilt needs to donate to an all-negro college fund.”

“Fuck off. I’m just saying that white people seem to have a monopoly on depression. When was the last time you saw a Zoloft commercial or Prozac and there was a black person in the commercial?  I can’t remember a time.”

“What does this have to do with Jane?”

“I’m just saying that she was probably destined to do it because of the color of her skin. This is our white guilt finally taking revenge or something. We kill thousands of blacks and Indians, and now we’re going to feel fuckin’ bad about it forever.”

“They prefer to be called Native Americans.”

“Fuck off. What do you know about what they prefer to be called? I prefer to be called ‘Big Dick Dave,’ but you don’t hear anyone calling me that. So fuck ‘em.” He takes a drag off of his cigarette. “It’s just on my mind, man. Every time I stop to think, all I see is her wearing that damn, pink undershirt thing. And that was tight too. I saw her in those without the over shirts, and damn, you couldn’t believe her tits were that nice. She had an awesome body. Gorgeous. Full of life too, and you know how much I think that adjective phrase is bullshit, but it’s true. When you think back on the way life could have been, you just get blown away by the thought, you know? She’s what could have been for me. We got along great. We would have done well together. You know how I feel about redheads. And here, I didn’t even know she was depressed. I should have called her. Three weeks ago, before any of this shit, I found a letter that she had written me in college. It was when we were going hot and steady and all. We were starting to feel something for each other, and I didn’t want to admit it because like I said, I had all this fine ass on the side. But I’d be lying if I didn’t feel something for her akin to what some people might call love. She wrote me this letter, and it had a bunch of jumble in it. Like, shit that doesn’t matter, but in one of the lines, in the middle of a paragraph, she said that she could see a future with me, she loved that future, and she thought in that future, she loved me. See, she didn’t say that she loved me, but that she could love me in the future. But me, I was too young and fuckin’ stupid to really think about the future, so of course I freaked, fucked two girls, and completely put her in my rearview. I think I broke her heart. I never done that before. I sat there thinking for a really long time with that letter in my hand, thinking about what could have been, or at least I think I did. After a while, I folded the letter back up and put it away and pushed all thoughts about calling her out of my head. She wouldn’t remember me. That’s what I told myself. She’s probably changed. I’ve changed. There’s no way we could make it work again. I told myself all of this bullshit because I was still too stupid and immature to think of a possible future in which she was involved. She saw the future with me. I bet it was nothing like this.”

“Sure. You want another drink?”

“No. I think I’m going to go home. I don’t feel so upbeat anymore.”

 

Shawn LaSota is a 2011 graduate from Pittsburg State University in southeastern Kansas, and has been a high school English teacher for the past three years. He has previously been published in Cow Creek Review. LaSota is the recipient of the Charles Cagle Fiction Award for his short story, “Deep Penetration.”

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