Breaking Bits Off Your Soul This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 16, 2010
By , Ithaca, NY
It’s the middle of the night, I’m standing on the very edge of the 9 story parking garage watching the empty streets below. My careless, drunken laugh is swept away by the wind. I turn to my friend “We belong here,” I say, with such emotion, such delight, such ecstasy. My voice chokes up, my eyes glisten with water. “Me and you, we belong in this place. We belong to this night and this world and this fugging cheap vodka. We belong to the thrills…” I start to laugh and laugh and laugh. I lay down on the pavement spread-eagle, enjoying the feeling of the cold, hard concrete beneath my back. My friend, Samantha, follows suit and lies down beside me. This is the beauty of liquor—alcohol—booze—it makes you feel on top of the world. Whatever insane, stupid, downright idiotic thing you think up is the most brilliant idea. And, for once, you love yourself.


I’m somewhere else now. I’m in a cemetery. School just got out and the sun is hot and shining bright. We—me and Karl—are sitting beside Jonas Bradford’s grave to protect us from any breeze that might come along to blow out our cigarettes. I love smoking cigarettes. I love the smell, the taste, watching the smoke come out of my mouth in gusts and puffs and trickles. Watching it leak, despite my best efforts, out of my nose. True, cigarettes kill you, stain your teeth, yellow your skin and cause cancer. True, they don’t do much; you don’t get the high that you do with weed. I guess I just don’t care anymore. I’ll use and abuse my body until it breaks—I don’t think it will ever break.

Now I am in a small room with large, expensive televisions covering the walls. They are playing live video feed from the supermarket that I have been stealing from for months. I knew that this was inevitable; I knew someday they would catch me. Yet, even as I sit here with a scary, official looking man asking me what color my eyes are, my height, and my address as he enters it all into a computer, I know this will not stop me. I will still steal spray-paint from the art supply store. I will still shoplift candy from Target. I will find another place to steal Mike’s Hard Lemonade and 30 packs of PBR from. I’m shaking, afraid, I’m fighting to not cry, my inside fills with dread at what my mother will say when she finds out, my voice is quivering as I answer the security guard’s questions, but I don’t, not even for a second, consider changing my ways. This life is too tempting. I am resolute.

The scene changes. I am in the bathroom at my house. The clean, white surfaces and bright over-head lights temporarily blind me. I am holding a miniscule razor tight between my thumb and pointer finger. Blood leaks down my wrist and leaves little droplets on the floor. I am drawing designs on my skin. The ink that flows through my veins is the most beautiful shade of crimson. I love the contrast—my bright red blood, and this eye-stinging white bathroom. I don’t like cutting, I really don’t. On some lonely nights I’m just in such a drowning, strangling agony, that I feel the need to hurt myself, because it’s all my fault, you see. It’s my fault that I am alone in this moment, it’s my fault that I’m too annoying, too ugly, too depressing, too depressed—scared—damaged—unpopular—intense—jealous—boring—out of control—stupid—awkward—uncomfortable—consumed with self pity—possessive—generally Not Good Enough—too gay to ever be loved. It’s my fault that no one cares enough to stop me from cutting myself, slapping myself, biting myself, giving myself ice burns, hating myself. And I should never expect that out of anyone anyways. I know that.

I’m on the parking garage again, but this time the drug I am on is one with THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE SMOKED. DO NOT INHALE SMOKE. written prominently on the back. I still smoked it. I feel like I’m on meth, or heroin. Something everyone’s parents never wished their kid would do. It’s below freezing, but I’m taking off my clothes. I don’t know why, I just feel the need to be naked. I take off my belt, and slide off my pants. I rip off my shirt. I am left shaking with cold wearing a bra and boxers. I had gotten some coffee from Starbucks before the wild effects of this unknown drug had kicked in. It was scalding hot. I poured it all over my hands, then took the paper cup and lit a fire. I ran back in forth from one end of the parking garage to the next, watching the ceiling as it moved. I kept hearing a car drive up, but there never actually was one. I was laughing, giggling insanely. This was it. I had gone crazy. I knew it. I knew my maniacal laughter and rocking back and forth and the words coming from my mouth as I called my friends and left them 10 minute messages were all the work of a person out of control. The kind of person you cross to the opposite side of the street when you see. But I didn’t care. It felt too good to care. Only a small little part in my mind was afraid, a tiny piece of my heart whispered my terror.

I open my eyes. This is real. This is now. A machine next to me beeps, announcing to the world that I’m still alive, that I have survived my latest antic. I am in a hospital. My mother is next to me crying. I know she has not slept; I have been lying unconscious in this bed for days. My entire body is sore. My teeth are so sensitive that the slightest tremor in my jaw muscles is a horrible pain. My vision is fuzzy. My pupils are the size of nickels. There is an IV on the back of my left hand pumping fluids into my body. There is a bandage on the crook of my arm. There are wires connected to my body in numerous places to monitor my organs. I cannot walk. I am in intensive care. I do not know what has happened, only that it was self-inflicted. And finally, after all these years, I start to cry. It feels so painful, but I know the tears are the first step towards my salvation. I think of all the little steps, all the events that have lead to this moment. I am over-whelmed, exhausted, battered, broken, guilty, fucked up, confused and sorry, but, for once, I appreciate my existence. I am glad that I am alive.





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SickImage said...
Feb. 15, 2011 at 8:55 pm
I'm glad I found this article. Seems to me we have a bit in common ;) Hope you're doing well. Good work, I like you're writing.
 
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