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A Way Out

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“It’s been a really bad day, Cory. Please, just let me have some peace.”

“Nyssa, if I can help, I’ll be here,” he said softly.

“I’m just going up to my room. I’ll be back down soon. There’s food in the kitchen and feel free to turn the television on,” she said, heading up the stairs to her room.

She heads to the dresser with plans to drive the pain away. When she can’t find the things she needs, she knows her parents have gone through her safe place. Tears begin to flow down her face and she finds a hidden knife. The blood flows as she cries, alone in her pain she forgot about the boy downstairs. She’s tired of always pretending and ignoring her problems.

Growing more worried about his best friend, Cory leaves the kitchen and heads upstairs. All day, he tried to protect Nyssa from the hostile stares and jeering words. He didn’t understand how people could be so cruel to such a kind girl. They had taunted her about fashion, about being a know-it-all, anything they could, just to crawl under her skin, to tear her down because they were jealous and she was new to the town. He’s careful as he goes up the stairs, making sure to skip the fifth step up that squeaks. He knew she struggled with cutting, and he had been trying to find a way to tell her that he knew.

Nyssa had curled up on the floor, crying and trying to find a way to pull herself up and keep going. The knife offered her relief, but that quickly left her, leaving her wishing for something more. What one doesn’t say is that the pain that is supposed to be gone by the time you’re done is only multiplied. It’s stupid. She never should have started. If she had talked to someone and done the right thing, she wouldn’t be in the mess she was in. She needed to find someone who could help her be better and guide her back on track.

Cory stood at the doorway of her bedroom door. This stopped now, he made the decision. He walked in, his steps silent like a cat, and leaned down to comfort her. She is weeping as he wraps his arms around her like a steel cage. His arms create a nest that she can be safe in and heal in.

“The deeper you cut, the deeper I hurt,” he whispers into her ear.

“How long have you known?” she asks, her voice choppy like an engine just starting up.

“Long enough to know that you need help and it doesn’t just happen occasionally. I’m here to help you, Nyssa. If you keep going, it only gets worse. Let me help you.”

She sits in his arms, leaning on him and drawing warmth from him. She knows he’s right and that from here, it would only decline. She needed help to open new eyes. With his help and support, she could begin the process of slowly opening new eyes. It occurs to her that he has moved her while she was contemplating accepting his help to the bathroom. He takes out the white gauze and begins wrapping her arm, covering her past with white, a clean slate.

“I’ll let you help me,” she said, finding relief through his eyes.

“Thank you. You’re all cleaned up, now we just have to clean your room up.”

“I’ll start. You put this stuff away,” Nyssa replied, jumping off of the counter and walking back into her room.

There was a small spot of blood where she had sat earlier, and her knife was where she had thrown it after she realized with disgust what she was doing. Going over to the knife, she picked it up and examined the blade. Her dull reflection only served to make her feel sick and glad at the same time. She was sick because of what she had done, but glad that that phase was over and now she could begin anew on a healthy path.

“Nyssa, what are you doing?” Cory’s voice sounded like an alarm.

She turned, looked at him with a new spark in her eye and then she put down her knife into the trashcan.

“I’m starting over the right way, the healthy way.”

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