Evolving Emotions: Sadness- Short Story

Content Warning: Suicide, self-harm, depression, strong language


Last Night

“Why won’t you just talk to me?”

“I am talking to you.”

“No, Bram, you’re not. You’re pushing me away again,” Elexa said, snatching a cup from the cupboard and slamming it on the countertop. 

“Well, what do you want me to say? That I’m sorry for calling? Because I am.” The two lock eyes.

After a moment, Elexa slumps her shoulders, the aggression in her arms falling away. “No, I just-.”

“Look, I knew this wasn’t going to work.”


“What? It’s what we were both thinking, right? I never should’ve called you. It was stupid of me. I don’t know why I thought that I could-.”

“Bram, I’m glad you called me,” she says, reaching for his arm. He swiftly pulls away. She continues with stress building behind her eyes, “I care about you.”

Rubbing his face roughly, Bram says, “See? That’s the problem. I don’t need you or anyone else to pick up after my shit,” he declares with an exasperated smile and wide eyes.

Heat grazes Elexa’s cheeks at the comment. “That’s really cruel and you know it.” Her stance stiffens as she observes him.

“Elexa, don’t cry over this, okay?” he says, practically laughing. 

“Bram… if you hadn’t called me-.”

“I know,” Bram says, his smile fading slightly, “But maybe it would’ve been for the best.”

“For the best?” Now she was the one with the smile, perked up by the absurdity falling from his mouth. “Not having you on this Earth is for the best? Are you hearing yourself right now?”

“Can you stop making such a big deal over this?” Bram asks, aggressively waving his hands in the air.

Elexa presses her palms into the edge of the countertop, displacing all of the weight she feels onto the granite. “Bram, it is a big deal.” She stares at him as if she could show him what she sees. Her heart sinks, knowing it won’t. “I think you should see someone.”

“Elexa, I don’t fucking need someone, alright?” His firm tone dissipates into a cracking jumble. He looks to the floor, tilting his head as far from her gaze as his neck would permit.

“You could’ve died last night, and you don’t want to see someone about it?” Lifting her hands to her head, she rests them there, elbows outstretched, awaiting a reply. 

Bram opens his mouth, then stops short. “No,” Bram finally mumbles. “I don’t.” His speech is monotone, utterly void of appropriate emotion.

“So what are you going to do then, huh?” Elexa asks, taking her hands from her head to the nape of her neck. 

“I don’t know,” Bram whispers. He wipes across his face and looks back to the tiled floor.

Tears begin to well up in Elexa’s eyes, swirling around in her vision. She chokes them down, causing her throat to dry up. “You don’t know?” Her throat clenches harder, holding back everything he means to her. 

After a few steadying breaths and an unsatisfactory swallow, she says, “We both know you aren’t okay. Especially after last night, but even before that. To see you struggle night after night is fucking torture. And I see through it every time you’ve tried to hide it.” She pauses. “Either you get help or I have to leave.”

“I want you to leave,” he says bitterly. “I’m done. Just go.”

“You know you can cut the ‘high and mighty’ bullshit. You are a coward. You’re scared that I will judge you. That the world will judge you. You’re scared to be known. You’re scared that now that I’ve seen you like you were on that bathroom floor that you’ve ruined the disguise that kept me around. I know who you are and I’m still here. I still love you.”

Bram falls silent. With glossy eyes and a clenched jaw, he resumes his previous position, memorizing the cracks and patches of dust on the flooring. 

“I’ve said what I need to say.” Elexa backs up from the countertop and crosses her arms. “But just promise me-.”

“That it won’t come to that again?” Bram interjects, lifting his head up to face her. “That everything will be okay? You know I can’t promise that.” His voice is tinted with that dullness again. 

“Then stay,” Elexa says in a whisper. 

“I can’t. I shouldn’t have gotten this close to you in the first place.”


“Goodbye Elexa,” Bram says, exiting the kitchen, twisting the doorknob, and, with a simple click, separating them for the final time.


Please reach out if you or someone you know is in immediate danger or experiencing suicidal thoughts. You are not alone.


988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

CAPS After Hours Urgent Support: 734-764-8312

UM Psychiatric Emergency Services: 734.996.4747

UM Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness: 734.936.3333

Department of Public Safety and Security: 734.763.1131

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.TALK (1.800.273.8255)

The Trevor Lifeline: 1.866.488.7386

Crisis Text Line:  741741


Erin Knape is a University of Michigan junior majoring in psychology and minoring in creative writing. Her greatest passion has always been the arts, whether that be writing, painting, or photography. Capturing Campus, a weekly installment of poetry and photography, aims to capture campus life through artistic expression. Dive into Capturing Campus every Sunday!

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