She's doing it again. I know; I heard her crying in there. She probably asked her teacher for a bathroom pass, but I know that wasn't why she was in there, really.

This is the third time I've heard her in there. The first time, I thought nothing of it. Plenty of girls end up crying in the bathroom; troubled by insecurity, loneliness, and sometimes utterly convinced that their lives are over. The second time didn't particularly worry me either. Today, I know that something must really be wrong.

Honestly, I'm a little intrigued. I know, it's horrible to be curious about the motives of another student's grief, but this is different; Melissa Harvey isn't the type of person you'd expect to find locked within a toilet cubicle, crying her eyes out on a daily basis. She must put on a braver face than I initially thought.

Melissa Harvey; always smiling, always helpful, always happy – Certainly not the first person that would spring to mind to be associated with the word "depressed". Bright and cheerful, straight A's; she was the epitome of a model student. Now, I can see through her glossy exterior; the cracks are visible in her façade, the walls she has so carefully built have been knocked down, and as she sits there, shaky sobs emitting from behind the closed door, her soul has been exposed to anyone who happened to be around to see it. Like me.

I resisted the urge to knock on the cubicle door and ask what was wrong; after all, curiosity killed the cat. Instead, I exited my own toilet cubicle, washed my hands with the soap accessible only by shaking the graffiti-stained, broken soap dispenser, and made to leave the bathroom – only to be stopped by the small, wavering voice I knew to belong to Melissa.

"Wh-Who's there?"

Melissa stuttered, evidently aware of my presence. I stopped, unsure of whether to answer or not, stared at my feet for a moment, and then shrugged in resignation. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

I backed up a few steps and stood a few doors away from Melissa.

"It's Jasmine," I replied tentatively, then realised she wouldn't have a clue who I was. "You probably don't know me, I'm not in any of your classes, I mean-"

Melissa cut me off mid-sentence, saving me from spouting any more verbal diarrhea.

"Yeah, I think I know you. You're-" a clicking sound ensued, as Melissa unlocked the toilet door and stepped out, "Jasmine Cooper." She finished, now standing before me.

Melissa sniffed and rubbed her nose with the back of her hand, eyes downcast. The smattering of freckles across her nose, usually so prominent, were now hidden beneath murky trails of mascara now staining her face, her eyes were red, and her cheeks were flushed.

I stared at her, and, slowly lifting her head, she stared right back at me unblinkingly. Her usually bright eyes were dull and bloodshot, and her cheery demeanor was replaced by a distant haze. An eerie silence fell upon the room. Of course, this may have had something to do with the fact that there were only the two of us in the room, and neither of us were speaking.

A few more painfully silent seconds passed, though it felt far longer, and far more awkward. I coughed nervously, which seemed to break the spell, as Melissa's eyes tore away from mine, and she walked towards the sink. Turning the cold tap, she cupped her hands to catch the water, and splashed it on to her face. She quickly wiped her face dry with the back of her sleeve, and turned to face the door. Not looking back, she muttered over her shoulder to me as she left;

"You'd better get back to class."

She left me standing there on my own, stunned, where I stayed for a moment longer, until I heard a toilet flush next door. I shook my head, breaking out of my stupor, and left the room hastily. There were no backward glances from me, either, as I walked back to my classroom quickly.

I had trouble concentrating in class after that. I found myself tapping the table with my pencil absent-mindedly, gazing out of the window at the trees waving in the wind. The teacher called on me several times, and was evidently annoyed at my lack of attention, or so the detention she consequently gave me indicated.

Lunchtime finally came around, and I surprised even myself when I didn't manage to eat everything that, under any other circumstances, I would normally stomach in a matter of minutes. A few of my friends asked concernedly if I was okay, and I forced myself to stop thinking of Melissa. Melissa and her "issues." Issues? Was there really something wrong with her, or was I overreacting? In any case, my mind wandered to other things, and I managed to forget about her the rest of the day.

Over the next successive days, I kept an eye on Melissa, from a distance; through the window of a passing classroom, across the hallway, in the locker bay opposite mine. She seemed much more composed than she had been lately. In fact, she seemed to have reverted to the bright, cheery person I had come to know her as.

It wasn't until Thursday, three days after our last encounter, that I saw Melissa up close again. Well, technically, I didn't see her so much as hear her.

As I walked into the room, I heard her sobbing immediately. Like the previous time, she was once again locked into a bathroom cubicle, the switch on the outside of the door indicating it was 'engaged'.

Quietly, I went and stood beside the sinks, careful that my feet wouldn't be visible to Melissa from under her door. I listened to her cry for a while, as I thought of what to say to her. Then, just as I opened my mouth to speak, the crying stopped. Confused, I hesitated, not wanting to say anything just yet.

I listened carefully, waiting for any clues. I could quite clearly hear Melissa whispering to herself, probably thinking she was alone.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."

The mirror above the sinks reflected my eyebrows shooting up in confusion, as I wondered why Melissa was apologising to herself. I considered the possibility of someone else being in there with her, then realised that was impossible; for one, there was only one pair of feet in there, and secondly, I found it difficult to fit myself in a cubicle, let alone another person. I realised she was saying something else.

"I don't know what else to do. I'll miss everyone. But, this is for the best."

Then, I saw her feet move, so I shifted away from the sinks quickly. I didn't hear the clicking of the lock, and I guessed that she was still in there. I crept back, and sure enough, she was still in there. I heard a noise that sounded similar to that of a knife being sharpened. I furrowed my eyebrows in disbelief; what on earth was making that noise?

Metal on wood sounded, then the squeaking of metal on metal. I gaped in disbelief as I came to realise that Melissa must have a knife of some sorts in there with her.


I heard Melissa whisper to herself. I could no longer hear the knife, but I heard her whimper as she flinched. My eyes widened in horror as I remembered that of course I wouldn't hear the knife anymore; because a blade wouldn't make any noise against flesh. She must have been testing the blade against the door. Still, I wasn't certain that my assumptions were correct, so I stayed where I was, hovering between knocking on her cubicle door and leaving for help. Then again, since it certainly wasn't my business, I considered leaving. That notion disappeared once I saw little crimson droplets hitting the floor, one by one, falling separate and then gathering together in a small puddle.

"I'll make it my business."

I whispered aloud in horror, and I rushed to her door. I pushed it desperately, then resorted to kicking it in vain to no response.

"Melissa!" I shouted, banging on the door. "Melissa! Open up!"

Getting no reply, I resolutely dropped to my knees and crawled beneath the door, flinching as I tried to avoid my skirt coming in contact with her blood. Even as I got under, more and more blood fell still, now increased from a steady drip to that of a tap left on.

I pushed under and stood up, my eyes going first to Melissa's unmoving face. I was too late; she was long gone. She had evidently researched thoroughly on the best way to end her life, judging by the expression on her face. The tiniest smile graced her lips, as though in her last moment, she had come to an acceptance of sorts. She had finally achieved what she had searched for in life; the exit to her pain, ironically discovered in death.

The knife lay loosely in her hand, covered in blood. She had sliced right through her neck, mutilating as much as she could. She had, in a gruesome sort of way, performed her very own tracheotomy, though for purposes rather different to the actual intent of the operation.

I stared into her lifeless, glassy eyes; now seemingly empty, as opposed to the cheerful way they used to look. It wasn't until I came to accept that the usual recognition wasn't going to appear in those eyes again that the cold, hard truth of the situation hit me; Melissa was dead. A student in my school had committed suicide.

I backed into the door, which, unsurprisingly, didn't open. I remembered that it was locked, and fumbled for the lock with my hand, all the while my eyes still on Melissa's. My hands found the gouges in the wood that Melissa had created seconds before her own death, before finally grasping the smooth, cold metal of the lock. Wrenching it open, I stumbled backwards, hot tears welling up in my eyes.

I felt a burning sensation in the back of my throat, and my nose began to itch as I fought not to cry. I fell to the ground, tearing my eyes away from the dead body, and clutched at my stomach. I felt the pain writhing in there, the pain of having seen a person die for the first – and, hopefully last – time in my life. It didn't matter that we weren't close. It didn't matter that she wasn't my best friend. All that mattered was that someone I knew had died. The burning turned to a cough, and I retched as I thought of melissa's dead body, lifeless, slumped over the toilet.

Giving a big, shuddering gasp, I let go, the tears pouring freely and fiercely down my face. My entire body shook as my mixed emotions surfaced; the shock, the disbelief, the utter horror. I sobbed loudly, bile rising up in my throat as the tears fell.

Even in my state, I knew that someone else should be notified. I took a few shaky breaths, and attempted to stand up; my face sodden, my hair stuck to tear tracks left on my face, and dug my fingernails into the wall for support.

I screamed at the top of my lungs, not forming any words in particular, tears still falling at a steady rate, little rivulets collecting at the end of my nose. Disregarding my undignified state, I hauled myself to the door of the bathroom, which was thankfully already open, and managed to walk a few steps outside before my legs gave way beneath me.

"Help! Somebody help!"

I collapsed in a heap against the wall. Students and teachers from nearby classrooms came rushing to my aid. I pointed them inside the bathroom. I couldn't get the image of Melissa's face out of my head. Those glassy eyes, that stony expression, the horrible gaping cavity in her neck; everything repulsed me.

I found myself on all fours, retching violently, still crying. Someone tried to help me, but I shook them off. I fell to one side, sobbing so hard that my vision became so blurry, I could legally be declared blind.

I wiped my eyes with force, and turned to the person who had dared to offer their assistance.

"There's a dead girl in there," I half spat, half rasped, "So why don't you attend to her instead?"

One event has many perceptions. As an outsider looking in, this is mine.