Suddenly, I was awake. It was just a nightmare.
I wasn’t surprised that I had this nightmare. This week marked the twentieth anniversary of the day I found the body of Scott, my roommate, after he killed himself.
Twenty years. Twenty years! It seems almost like yesterday—but it also feels like a lifetime ago.
I started getting up. It was nearly time to get up. Plus I really didn’t want to go back to sleep and risk another nightmare replay of finding Scott’s body.
As I prepared for my day, I thought back to the day I found Scott’s body. It was a month into the first year of college for both Scott and me. I was coming back from class, and I decided to make a fast, routine stop by the men's bathroom at the end of the hall. Only to be greeted by the sight of his body, hanging from a beam near the showers.
I never heard why Scott killed himself. There were rumors and speculations, of course. Doing poorly in class. Pregnant girlfriend back home. Financial trouble. Family trouble. Unable to form social connections at college. All of these things. Or none of these things.
It was horrible finding his body. I had nightmares for weeks. I spent weeks wondering if I should have noticed something wrong. Even though I hardly knew him. I kept wishing I could have done something—anything—to stop him.
Eventually, the horror of finding his body dimmed. The few sessions of therapy my health insurance was willing to pay for helped. The passing of time helped.
But it’s not something I’ll ever forget. I still have an occasional nightmare about it.
Part of me wishes I could forget the horrible experience completely.
But a bigger part of me wishes that Scott hadn’t killed himself. That he were still alive, well, and happy.