Paths of Agency

It was a night in early March. My husband of just seven months and I were at an institute dance, acting like silly newlyweds and having a carefree time. Amidst the loud music, dim lights, and cheap decorations, my husband held out my cell phone to me. “It looks like your mom is calling you.”

On a Friday night? At 10:30?

Instantly my stomach clenched. My parents never call after 9:30.

In the quiet of the Institute hallway, my mom’s worried voice came through the phone. “We can’t find your brother. He sluffed school this afternoon, came home and got his snowboard, and we haven’t seen him since. We’re worried about him and I thought you should know.”

The rest of the night was a back-and-forth battle in my mind...The safe, naive world I had known until then came crashing down early the next morning with another phone call from my mother, this time in inconsolable tears. “We’re at the hospital. They found Jake* last night… he tried to overdose on pills. He’s really sick, but he survived.”

My little brother tried to commit suicide.

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