Randoms

I hear the high-pitched screams from the other room, the crack of fist on person. I curl up in bed and look at the bruises that cover my own arms, touch my cheek, tender from Jack’s fist. Why Mom lets him do this, why she lets him treat us like this, I don’t know…

I unfold myself and get out of bed to kneel in front of my dresser, opening the bottommost right hand drawer. The belt sits on top of its assorted contents. This had become the Random Drawer, for items without anywhere else to go, for things without a home. Tights, which I rarely to never wear, are the primary residents. A few pairs of fuzzy socks, a few home-knitted scarves, and several pairs of knee highs make up the rest of the population, along with the belt.

We had bought the belt at Old Navy. I don’t remember how old I was - probably about ten - when I got a hand-me-down pair of jeans. I had been always been uncomfortable in other pairs of jeans due to the too-high crotch, but these jeans were perfectly comfortable, so I wore them. I felt cool in them. When I was on the bus wearing them, I would count all the people also wearing jeans on the bus. I don’t know if there was a purpose to it; I guess it made us all part of the in-crowd. Because I had jeans, I wanted to buy a belt too. We looked for one in Old Navy, and found a cool black one with diamonds and studs. I remember Mom was originally leery of the price (the number 25 comes to mind), but she bought it for me anyway. (That was when Dad still paid child support.) I only ended up wearing it a few times afterward. We only really got its money’s worth at Halloween in eighth grade, when a friend and I dressed as Goths. I wore a totally hot outfit. Black fuzzy boots, long black denim skirt, cap-sleeved black shirt, sleeves made out of cut knee highs, black eye shadow, purple lip gloss, and black nail polish, plus the crowning effect: the black studded belt wrapped around my neck. It was awesome. I felt sexy. If my bra size had been a little bigger, I would have been sexy.

And now, after its short life as belt to hold up jeans, long life as dust collector in drawer, and day of glory as Goth chain around my neck, I take it out of the Random Drawer.

I had coiled it into a circle to take up less space. I unroll it, but the ends still curve inward. Some ingrained habits just don’t change, I think, as I hear another high-pitched scream.

I stroke it, examine it. Do I have the…the…initiative to wrap it around my neck, not as a costume ornament, but to take my own life?

I sit on the floor in front of the Random Drawer and wrap it around my neck. I pull it tight. I feel my face tighten, my cheeks redden. I loosen it, take a deep breath, then do it again. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, the feeling of the belt wrapped around my neck, sitting in front of my dresser, nose stuffed from allergies. Would it feel different if I stand on the bathtub’s edge and tie one end of the belt to the shower rod, the other buckled around my neck, and step off?

Or would it be an easier end to cut myself, slit my wrists, bleed to death? Which way requires more courage? Certainly cutting. When you cut you do the actual killing, you take the knife and run it across your own skin, make yourself bleed, let your own life ooze out of you, control yourself not to chicken out. Hanging is a coward’s end: take a belt, tie it to a shower rod, step off the bathtub, and boom! You’re gone, neck broken, airway restricted. No, cutting yourself has more risks, much more risks, and requires much more courage. The only way to go is the belt.

I coil the belt and put it back in the drawer. I hear more of Mom’s screams, but all I can think is: when? When can I do it?





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