168 Hours

Exhausted, she fell against the maple siding of her bed, the poster child for a drug addict. Her bronze skin was damp with sweat from the warm, ebony night, and the salty tears that raced down her raw cheeks. But instead of a needle clenched in her right hand, it was a small pocket knife with red handle, blood splattered on the head. And where there would have been an injection site, there were two twin inch long slits in her shoulder, blood leaking from the gash, a red river swimming down her taught arm. The girl paused, her green eyes closed as sobs racked her bony rib cage.
It was just like any other night, the willow tree outside her window dancing in the summer breeze, the crickets chirping their forlorn songs among the reeds, the frogs bellowing their deep, trumpet melodies. In her room, Otherside by the Red Hot Chili Peppers played. As she leaned her weight against the bed, she softly hummed along, and then formed the words on her lips, making it appear as if sh e was praying to the rock band to take a nway the pain, to make the agony stop.

Why?

She stood, folded the knife up and placed it back in the hidden drawer that lay within her old cupboard, its battle scars reflecting the light. Standing, the girl walked into the bathroom, and began to run a bath. As the hot water filled the spotless tub, she pulled out a washcloth form the closet, a clear bottle of rubbing alcohol from underneath the sink, along with some cotton swabs. Expertly, she watered the cloth and wiped away the pooling crimson tide. Using the cotton swabs to absorb the rubbing alcohol, she washed the wound and put a band-aide over it. All the while, she was coming up with excuses to explain away the new cuts on her body.

Why?

After the slits had been washed and cleansed, she replaced her medical aides and cleared away any evidence of her crime. She then shut of the steaming water and hit the switch on the white wall, turning on the fan. Instead of climbing into the tub, she returned to her room and placed herself in the ready position for push-ups. Up, down, one. Up, down, two. Up, down, three she thought, the soundtrack to her [P.E.?]fitness test playing in her head as her ears absorbed the guitar solo to Californication. After she had completed five sets of ten, she moved into the sit-up position and did 150 in sets of ten and twenty. Finished, she lay on her rough carpet, the day playing through her head, a private movie only visible to the inside of her lids.

Why? Why? WHY?!

Why did her days usually end in this pathetic scene, tears falling from her verdigris eyes? Why did the littlest things set her off? And why, just why, did she feel the need to resort to this form of torture? Slicing apart her skin wasn’t the answer, and she knew this. How many friends did she know who had done this to themselves, how many friends had she helped escape from this hell? Countless, countless. Sam, Michael, Jessica, Lily, James, Madison, Fawn, Aurora, Virginia, Carolina… so many people that had been in the same place she was in, this concrete cell. They had gotten help at least. She had noticed, she had cared, she had helped fix the situation. All of them were better now. So, why wasn’t she?

Ah, but that was the problem. No one noticed the red drawings on her shoulders, her wrists. No one noticed how she winced when slinging her pack onto her back. And if someone did notice they didn’t say anything or just wrote it off as some kind of accident or a foreign type of acne. She had noticed the marks on her friends, and understood what they were. And when her friends noticed that she had gazed their pained expressions, seen their guilty visages, they had also seemed slightly relieved that someone did care, that someone they trusted knew their secret.

That was another problem: no one cared. That was why she peeled off her epidermis, cut through it. If her so called “loved ones” truly cared for her well-being, then how had they not noticed this? How had they missed the tell-tale hours she spent locked in her room? Had they honestly not heard her sobs? Were they just too wrapped up in their own lives that they didn’t notice how she was drowning in her own?

The day continued to swim in her eyes, a slide show of hell that she had to continue to endure over, over, over, again, again, again. Her ex-boyfriend calling her fat, ugly, unlovable, how the boys looked at her, as if she was a piece of meat, their eyes roving over her body. Her friends--they all earned higher grades than she. There was also [can you change also to always?] someone who was faster, or more talented than she--a better writer, a better reader, a better whatever.

The girl rolled onto her side, her ribs sticking out, branches from an under-fed and mal-nutritional tree. Her collar bones poked out from underneath her tight skin, the bones of her sternum were blades. Yet, she felt over-weight, fat, just like Damien had said she was. There was that miniscule ring of fat around her middle, the chain that would never go away, no matter how many calories she burned, no matter how many miles she ran.

Nights like this, Violet felt alone, isolated, bonded to this underworld. No one ever cared, no one showed her compassion. At least she was away from the critical eyes of her friends. Oh, sure, around them she put up a false façade, pretending she was alright, never letting them enter and observe her real world. She chuckled at their jokes, joined in their political debates, discussed classes, all the while planning the end to this sick, cruel world. All the while, wishing that someone would notice, someone with a heart would reach out a hand, help her, drag her out of the waves that were pulling her down.

But the days continued to roll, the date she had decided to end it all inching ever closer, hovering, looming.

Why, why, why, why, why, WHY?!

“Please, please, please….” Violet whispered, the words releasing from her pierced tongue, mixing with her russet colored hair, a spectrum in the emptiness. “I only have a week, seven days, 168 hours…. Someone, anyone, save me…”

Save me, save me, save me, save me, save me, save me, save me…





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