Romeo and Juliet Suicide Watch

Romeo and Juliet Suicide Watch

Everyone carries childhood scars of one kind or another. The events behind them, their nature, how old a person was when they happened, how long they carried on for, all have great influence over a person's ability to emerge relatively solid later on. Not all do so.

Sandra, in Shivers, Slaps and Silence, has been through some very dark times. Despite the abuse she had suffered, she had -- at first glance at least -- managed to come through full of smiles and sunshine. It was only once we had become closer, with that tentative but raw, open and sometimes brutal way of communicating that teenagers know well, that her real story had begun to unravel. As a 15-year-old, hearing your first love talk about hard drugs with near-admiration, watching her show her first needle "tracks" on her forearms, can be a very destabilizing experience. For me, it was the end of one world, dancing blindfolded on the cliff-edge that my own childhood had been, and a plunge into a new, completely unpredictable adulthood. Sandra was sweet, a darling girl from an apparently good family, a new "project" or "art picture" for the inventive kid I was. There was no question of letting her die, in any case.

What makes some guys walk away, and others, like that early me of those days, stick around -- sure that they can "repair" the situation, "make things right" or "save" the person from those big life-threatening demons? In my case, it had a lot to do with low self-esteem. It may, deep down, be the same reason that most others would have for doing a similar "rescue" project of a loved one.

Have you, or a close friend or relative, walked that road? What were your reasons? How did you come out, on the other side? Did you emerge unscathed, or was your life etched by those events forever as well?