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Sticks And Stones
The walls in my bathroom were cool to the touch as I backed into a corner. Slowly I slid down the walls until I hit the ground, the cold of the floor seeping through my jeans. A violent shiver made its way up my spine, sending a jolt of energy throughout my body. My hands felt as if they were on fire as I placed them on the cold floor.
Hot and cold danced to two totally different beats, both looking to find a happy medium but coming to no alternative. As their tango ensued I closed my eyes and exhaled, I will get better. I want to get better. This can help me get better… It has too.
Without opening my eyes I began to rub the skin on my hip, letting the cool air kiss my heated skin. My right hand grazed the fragile skin on my hip; bumps, lines, and scabs rubbed the soft skin on my fingers. Scars hid under the flimsy fabric of my pajama pants and when revealed they were as ugly as the reasons why I had harmed myself in the first place.
Terrible words left jealous mouths, crawled behind unknowing backs, and were whispered to my innocent ears.
The dirtiest words you could possibly conjure surrounded my name, a name that until that day had never been in a sentence with such words.
He had changed everything. He thought I was pretty, he wanted to be with me. I didn’t want anything to do with him but he wouldn’t have it. He dumped his girlfriend to be with me, a girl he would never have. His girlfriend wasn’t having any of that though. Why would her boyfriend, a senior, leave her for me, a baby freshman? There had to be a reason, any reason besides the real one.
Words leaked from her mouth like oil into the ocean. Vile, rude, hurtful words spilled into the rest of the school’s ears and of course they had to be true, because who would you believe? A senior or a Freshman?
As the rumors increased I would hear people say “Did you hear..?” And on countless occasion I recall thinking, No? Well I did. Those words killed me. Those simple words were causing my life to spiral downward.
Weeks passed and nothing got better, everything seemed to worsen, until one day in the shower my razor slipped and I sliced my ankle. For a second, a brief second, I had no thought of that boy or that girl and what they were doing to me. All I could feel in that instance was the pain of the cut on my flesh, that sting of skin being cut like paper. For just a moment, my head wasn’t crying from all the blasphemy that was swimming through my mind. For just a moment my ankle throbbed… And that was all.
An idea flashed through my mind. An awful, terrible, disgusting, beautiful idea squirmed it’s way past my head, and grabbed onto my heart, pleading for something, anything to take away some of the pain.
And so it began.
Once a month turned into once a week, which turned into once a day, and sometimes more. Cut’s littered my wrist, my elbows, my hips, my ankles. Anywhere I could reach, I made use of.
I would get better. This would make me better. It had too. I had no other choice, these small incisions into my skin, into my being would heal me. That’s all I had wanted, all I’d ever craved. To be better, to no longer be sad, to wake up in the morning and be excited to see my friends, not terrified to know what I’d hear on that day. These cuts into my physical being would help the ones inside of me. They’d make me better. I would be better. I refused any other options. I would be better, and it would all be thanks to these small slashes in the tender skin on my body.
All this had happened in a matter of months, a slow decline to the mess that I was: scared, alone, willing to turn to almost anything to fix my self. As I slid down that wall, moved the band of my pajama pants, grasped the only constant in my life at the time, and made line after line on my already broken skin, tears left my eyes and pain left my heart.
What started out as a normal day, ended catastrophically.
One cut went too deep and I bled, more than normal. My heart raced, which couldn’t have helped the situation at all. As the red liquid slid down my leg and stained my pajamas, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was it, if I had made the one mistake that had always haunted me. Did I go too deep? Hit something too large? What if…? Thoughts and images raced through my mind. Slowly I got band-aid after band-aid as the blood leaked through each one.
As I became lightheaded, I sat on my bed with a wet towel pressed to my hip, salty tears mingled with blood on my sheets.
I don’t know when I fell asleep, or when I woke up, but I can tell you that when I woke up that morning? I had never seen a sunrise so pretty or so red. Blood stained the sky, but as the time passed it faded, it disappeared and never came back. Slowly the sky became bright, light flooded my room, and as I removed the towel from my hip I noticed it, the cut, along with all the others, had clotted. I was going to be alright.
I crawled through my window to sit on the garage roof and watched as all the pink faded from the sky, as yellows glowed proudly down at me, and as blues encased the world in a cool gentleness.
I stayed up that night, thinking about everything I could muster, but falling short of internal conversation. There was nothing to think about. I had done nothing, I had thought of nothing, achieved nothing, in a sense, I had become nothing. As blue’s changed to orange and the sun yet again came up, there was no red, the blood was all gone, the pink of the scars was there, but that was only to be expected.
I was going to get better. I would get better. I would heal myself as a whole, pain was not equivalent to happiness, and I would never go back.
Today I am a senior, my scars have all disappeared with the exception of the one on my hip. All the red has faded from my sky, except for one strand of pink, a constant reminder of what was and what never will be again.
To this day, I have never seen a sky as red as the one on that morning. The rumors and nasty words still poke fun at me when they get the chance, but now I laugh and shake them off. I know who I am, I know what I have and have not done, I know what I’ve been through to get to the place where I am now, and I’ll be da**ed if I ever let anyone make me feel the way I did when I was a freshman.
“Did you hear?” Because I did, and you can’t hurt me anymore.