I must have been nine years old or was it later, I couldn’t say. It’s about my memories and my apartment, it’s not tidy. We had just moved to Sainte-Croix-de-Lotbinière, from a small countryside town. One morning, I arrived at this new rural primary school. Everyone in my class was crying. “Mario is dead” as I’m told. I look at people and ask who he was. I too am in shock, a boy our age was found hanging in his room. But I don’t show any emotion, because I didn’t know the boy, and, as I was new, I didn’t yet have these emotional ties with the environment.
My own hell, so to speak, was beginning. My future “comrades,” at least some of them, but again, it’s so vague in this memory, quickly got on my nerves, because I hadn’t cried. As a result, I looked like a heartless man. Yet I was happy to arrive at this school because I was actually running away from the first one, the one in my hometown where I was the one we liked to beat after school hours, the one we used to laugh at and harass. In my memory, this breach of the whining etiquette earned me another setback at school.
So I was for a long, long time the laughing stock of my companions. Young people in the countryside are just as hard as those in the city, if not harder. I was, moreover, the teachers’ favorite, I had good grades, I was successful. I still survived and later, even though my notes became fair in high school, CEGEP, and university, I still earned my adult credentials. My journey is a roller coaster ride. I have my problems and pleasures, like all of us, and I may die of my stress. In the end, we can draw all the conclusions we want, I’ll be dead anyway.
It’s only this morning that I learned of Marjorie’s suicide. I read his farewell letter that appeared briefly on the newspaper. I think it’s a shame, a little piece of a young woman who seemed friendly. However, I will not cry, this story is too far from mine. However, a lot of ideas are hot. I am thinking of this specialist who says that we should not look for one or more culprits. I agree with him. The problem is always more significant than the causes.
And I am thinking especially of all those who survive and who, on a daily basis, succeed in raising this burden of failure that threatens them. At a specific glorious time of some kings, a simple word could be enough to put you in disgrace. It was necessary to use intelligence and finesse, and surely a lot of dishonesty, to reach the top. Now, words cause so much pain and injury, as if our species was playing its survival by this Darwinian exercise of becoming the strongest, by crushing any head that wants to stand out.
Our species is ill-suited; its intelligence produces as many stars as volcanoes, beauties as ugliness (hence this morning’s photo…). I will not surprise anyone by saying that our world is not yet in the black.
Marjorie didn’t have that strength. I know of others who, despite the lies, have forged themselves either neuroses or weapons or shells. And they continued their existence. I’m not sure there are more suicides among young people than before. Nothing is documented, and it is enough to dig into our memories, however imprecise they may be, to realize that violence has always existed. It seems to be part of the “game.” Fortunately, we may be becoming more aware of this (as with many other things). It is dangerous, however, to look for the easy cause so that we can move on. Just because it is complex does not mean that we should give up.
So we need to remember our path more to understand what happened to Marjorie, and maybe to this Mario (was that his first name?). It is through dialogue that we succeed in undoing tragedies. In her letter, Marjorie apologizes again for hurting everyone’s feelings. Her letter is surprisingly lacking in drama, or one is tempted to read in it only the ordinary anxieties of a teenager in the process of adapting to the very harsh world of life.
That doesn’t excuse anything, of course. And, of course, we must dialogue, silence this intimidation. Although the battle will always be between us—the survival of our species depends on it—, I hope for more beautiful nobility than unjust victories. But to do so, we will need all our will. I dare to remain optimistic.