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Reasons to Believe
I can’t do this.
The words echoed hollowly in the recesses of her mind, bouncing around like a rubber ball in a vacant cage. In the chaotic silence, they were all she could decipher. All she could understand.
I can’t do this.
It was so simple a thought… so concise and final. Yet, something about the mind numbing statement was incomplete. She could feel it in her heart and in her soul like a poison ebbing through the veins. Even as she drew her legs in against her chest and turned her grey eyes skyward, tears streaming black mascara down her pale porcelain skin—even as she begged the heavens for an answer, for strength to contradict her feelings—she knew that there was something being left unsaid… unheard in the forgotten corners of her mind.
The fire of frustration:
It tore viciously at her soul. Seared her for not knowing what was missing, not being able to decipher a path, a meaning, a purpose. Frustration at not feeling… and of feeling far too much.
Her slender arms drew her body in closer. Legs pressed against her chest, arms fastened protectively around each other, fingernails biting into the skin. She buried her distraught face into the trembling fortress of arms and legs, rocking violently back and forth. A pitiful painting against the backdrop of remorse.
As she trembled, body fighting the physical battle against tears and agony, her mind pleaded internally for a truce, for the raging war inside her soul to cease. To find a reason… any reason, to believe.
On the tile floor beside her figure, strewn forgotten on the ground, her silver time-worn phone blinked to life. The unexpected light fell upon her eyes and she stared… like some forlorn and lost animal upon the yellow screen. No emotion… No control… Just vacancy.
For a long time, she remained there, the seconds ticking by against the wretched silence. Frozen in her secure position, gazing emptily at the message notification. Not seeing, not feeling, not caring.
Slowly, her cold, shaking fingers released one arm, snaking their way over the cold tile and gently caressing the reflective screen. The name, she recognized. The words, she understood. But their relevance, she disregarded.
What’s going on?
Her fingers slid off the screen and she glanced at her other arm, draped over her knees, fist closed as if her life depended upon it never opening. The tendons stood out like strings on a broken violin, and the faded blue line of a vein glowed against her pale skin. Her fist relaxed and she examined its contents. Shining, reflecting, laughing… the reflective surface of a fragmented razor blade glowered back.
Unraveling her arms, she picked up the phone in her free hand.
What’s going on? The words chided her cold heart.
Her fingers danced over the keyboard as ballerinas cascade ever so gently upon a stage of facades, hovering above the truth for only a matter of seconds. She sent her response into the abyss of cyber space, closed the hard screen, and slid the device along the tile until it came to rest against the locked door in front of her.
Vacantly, she returned her gaze to the razor. Emotionless, no tears, no thoughts… nothing. Like staring in the face of death itself, she submitted. Placing her palm toward the ceiling, and her elbow against her rib cage, the inner side of her arm was fully exposed. She closed that fist and examined the bluish line of her life, the river pulsing blood through her veins, sustaining her presence and being. Slowly, the other hand brought the metal to rest lightly, barely touching, against the base of her wrist.
I can’t do this…
The words flooded through her brain once again, so familiar to her mind. She expected the whispers, echoing within her skull, melding together like insanity.
What she had not foreseen…. Were the images that accompanied them. In the flash of a single sustained second:
The bathroom… cold, hard, lonely… her head on her knees, throat burning from bile, stomach churning and heart pounding… the sour smell of vomit flooding through her nostrils… anger and exasperation welling up inside of her.
The voice echoing through her memories: “You looked really pretty today…”
A crowded bus ride, the back of a faded bluish seat resting against her forehead, arms tightened across her chest, elbows digging into her thighs… Vision flooded with the sting of black tears… a hand slowly unraveling her fingers, warmth spreading upon her frozen palm and the words brushing against her hair… “It’s okay…”
A reflection in the mirror… tired, grey, profoundly distressed and imperfect. Eyes the color of hurricanes and just as ravaged.
“Why didn’t God make me pretty?”
Tears sliding along her trembling lips.
“Because he wanted to make you beautiful…”
A stairwell. Vacant… lonely like the pounding of her heart in a seemingly empty abyss. Her body rocking violently and her mind racing to find a way out…
An arm around her shoulders and a hand holding her own, the warmth reminding her f a feeling she used to know.
The night… cold and black. The ceiling above her bed. Her pillow and hair damp with salty tears… body coiled together as a scared puppy retracts against himself in fear.
The light of a phone and the words “I don’t know what to do… I’d do anything”
An empty room filled with boxes, papers strewn upon the floor, her head in her hands, rocking back and forth… the fear of facing the world so eminent that nothing else seemed to exist… the warmth of two hands gripping her shoulders, and a third slowly seizing her palm… the pressure slowly melting into her soul.
“I can’t do this…”
“Yes… you can.”
His eyes… wet with tears. All of the beauty of his personality and friendship leaking through. The inability to touch him. To hug him… to let him understand…
I can’t do this…
The voice echoed, quietly, placidly in the recesses of her mind…
I can’t… do this…
Her hand loosened its grip, the blade falling untainted from her frozen fingertips, lightly clattering on the cold floor beside her feet.
I can’t do this…
Her arm slid from her knees, her body collapsing sideways, exhausted, onto the floor. The cool ground catching the tears streaming from her blinking eyes.
I can’t do this…