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Baking Through It

Essay by   •  June 11, 2011  •  1,321 Words (6 Pages)  •  912 Views

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"Suicide," I say, "is the easy way out.

"No," she says, "the front door is the easy way out. This is a lot more difficult."

I hear the wind down the phone I'm speaking to her on and I wonder where she is.

"Suicide is not the answer," I continue.

"Who's asking questions?!" she retorts, getting angry.

I'm cradling the phone on my shoulder as I stir the cake mix. Even my sister's imminent suicide can't stop cake.

"I think you need to talk to someone," I say, trying to calm her down.

"Well I'm talking to you right now and all it's doing it pissing me off," she shouts, "I don't think talking is doing a great deal of fucking good right now."

Not that I'm an expert in suicide intervention, but I figure you need to strike a good bond with the person. Like hypnotists and conmen. Not that there's much of a distinction between hypnotists and conmen.

I need to build a link, I'm thinking, something she can't just stop talking about so she can jump off a building. Something more interesting than the unholy departure into what counts as an afterlife these days.

"What's the weather like up there?" I ask.

She snorts down the phone. "What're you doing, Suicide Intervention 101? A crash course in saving the damned? I bet you're just making it up, aren't you?"

She's sharp.

"You're just fucking bluffing your way," she says, "into stopping me jumping off this building. I bet you're watching TV or something."

"I'm baking a cake," I say.

"Oh fucking brilliant! Here I am, your only sibling, on the verge of oblivion--"

"You're at Alton Towers?" I ask jokingly. It didn't go down well.

"Fuck you! Jesus, I'm gonna be dying here and you're baking a cake and cracking jokes? What the fuck is wrong with you?!"

I begin greasing the cake tin with lard.

"There's nothing wrong with me," I reply calmly, "I'm not the suicidal one in this conversation."

She's quiet for a moment. "Touchй," she concedes.

She's still quiet. I decide to press on.

"So what's bought this on, anyway? Why are you going to end it all on this lovely Saturday?"

"Oh," she sighs, "there's a few things. Not that you fucking care."

I'm tearing the greaseproof paper and lining the cake tin.

"I care," I said, "you still owe me twenty quid's worth of petrol money."

She's furious. At least I'm driving her away from the edge.

"Hey fuck you, I paid that money back and you know it!"

"Did not!"


"Did not!"

"Did did did!"

And suddenly we're seven years old again and she's not on the edge of a building somewhere and I'm not checking the oven temperature.

The moment passes.

"You know why I'm not dead yet?" she says, bringing the conversation back.

"Because I'm such an awesome suicide intervener?"

"It's because some kids are eating burgers on a bench below me. I don't know how old they are but I know only kids eat like that."

She's thinking of the children.

"Maybe you should go get a burger," I venture.

"Nice try."

I give the cake mixture a final few turns with a wooden spoon and take the bowl to the cake tin.

I hear her moving and suddenly it seems a lot less windier. She's gone inside?

"I've not gone inside," she says, "I'm just having a lie down."

I start pouring the cake mix into the tin slowly.

"This isn't a call for help, you know."

"It is. I read it on a website. You don't really want to kill yourself."

"Fuck," she says, adding darkly, "the internet."

The cake mix has been poured and I'm spooning the last of it out of the bowl into the tin.

"I went on this website earlier," she says, "in the library. I just typed suicide into google and this was the first thing that came up. It's all about stopping me committing suicide. I'm reading this site and then I scroll down and there's a diagram. A fucking diagram."

I smooth the cake mix flat in the tin.

"It's some fucking scales and it says PAIN on one side and COPING RESOURCES on the other side. And the PAIN is outweighing the COPING RESOURCES. It's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever seen."

"Tone down the language, I was once young."

"Fuck off. So I'm on this page designed to stop me killing myself and it's giving me this patronising stupid diagram bullshit. Go to the site. Fucking look at it."

"I will," I assure her, "if you're not dead, I will."

"Shut up, I'm not finished. I go further down the page. There's a list to some fucking books. They're



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