Myself and I

"I don't care about who threw up, broke up, made up, lit up, or hooked up at the party over the weekend!" Fingers curling around the edge of the creamy ceramic sink, a tear splashes onto the back of my palm. "I don't care about them. I just want them to shut up."

With uneven, shaky, gasps of air, my ears are filled with sound. Between the tiled walls, the dirty floor strewn with soaked clumps of brown paper towels, and open navy stalls scrawled with permanent marker, my own breathing has never felt so loud. "It hurts so much."

"I know," her voice comes quiet, so familiar, so sad.

I wonder how she found me. She should be in class, but here she is. She probably knows she's the only friend I have and if she didn't come, no one would've.

"I shouldn't let this happen," I murmur, roughly smearing the tears across my cheek with the heel of my palm. "This is so embarrassing."

"But it's their fault."

Her voice is so much sharper now, angry almost, that I look up at her for the first time. Her eyes are rimmed with red; she's been crying too. I try to read the writing on her t-shirt, but my vision is so obscured with tears that the letters look backward.

A low whine and a muffled thud from the door, and we are quiet.

I turn my face away from the door as the footsteps reverberated on the hard floor, letting my hair fall from behind my ear to veil my face. Holding my breath is all I can do to keep quiet.

I can hear the sigh of a bag being sat atop the ceramic counter, the clink and jangle of a make-up bag being pulled out, the pull of a brush through hair, and we stand in silence. Together? I don't think so.

She probably doesn't even see us.

This girl zips up her bag, slinging it over her shoulder, and she accidently smashes a wet mash of paper towel with her shoe on the way out.

My shuddering exhale sounds like the rush of the hand dryer and I brush my hair back behind my ear with my fingers. Their nails are torn so far down the skin is a painful red at the tips of the uneven ends.

"One day at a time, okay?" There's a small smile at the corner of her mouth, her eyes sadly hopeful.

"Yeah," I take a deep breath, slowly letting the air out. "One day at a time."

"You ready?" she asks, looking straight at me.

"I think so."

Slowly my hand presses against the cold glass of the mirror.

"Here," we say. "I'll hold your hand."





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