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The crowd around me giggled with excitement, unaware of the negative aura that seethed from my flesh. I was completely withdrawn, a hermit in its shell. No one saw the difference in this me and the person I used to be. This made me wonder if there even was one. As I poured over this thought I felt a light nudge on my shoulder. “What’s
wrong with you?” The familiar deep voice spoke in a harsh gesture of concern.
Anxiety boiled deep within the pit of my stomach. A lump formed in my throat which made it difficult to swallow, much less speak. I chanced a glance at his face knowing my eyes betrayed the words that formed in my mind and dribbled off of my tongue. “Nothing,” I heard the insincerity in my voice, saw it in his face. I knew he didn’t believe me, but I never expected him to. I felt as if everyone’s gaze was concentrated on me, almost like they knew it too. As I turned around I saw that they were all occupied with their own lives. Adults nearby sat with one another, engrossed in their conversations, briefly pausing to make sure the kids were alright. Teenagers played and gossiped together.
Rough, uneven wood pinched my skin while I fidgeted restlessly. Tears formed in the corners of my eyes, threatening to spill over. I desperately hoped he wouldn’t figure out my secret, but how could I not tell him. He was my best friend, he had been there and I told him so much. I couldn’t keep this from him now.
“Walk with me, talk with me,” he took my hand in his and pulled me alongside him. Reluctant as I was, I took my place beside him. I pushed myself to walk faster, compensating for his longer stride. “Sooo…” he urged me to tell him everything.
“I’m... umm...” I stuttered, unable to form a complete sentence, finally spitting it out I said, “If I tell you something, will you promise not to say anything.” I knew I shouldn’t ask that of him, especially for something so serious, but I did, I had to, and he gave me at least that.
“Mmhmm,” he slowly nodded his head. I could see him assessing what he could possibly be agreeing to, “Yeah, what’s going on?”
I looked down at the grass. I couldn’t dare look him in the eyes as I told him what I’d done. “I’ve been cutting myself.” The words stuck in my mouth. They tasted sour, almost acidic. I managed to catch a glimpse of his face and wished I hadn’t even done that. The looks of hurt, betrayal, anger, and bitterness that I saw there made me feel worse than even my own acts did. The last word I heard him say before everything turned to mere white noise was “Why?” A question I would continue to ask myself so many times in the future.
I’d never given much thought of hurting myself before. It had never been a problem. Never had been something I struggled with. I sat silent on my bed, running through events that had occurred throughout the day. I knew he would be disappointed in me, what I didn’t know, was that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. As I contemplated another night with the razor, my hand flinched toward a pen. I reached for it, grabbing a
flyleaf as well. My hand flowed across the page. Words erupted from the pen, like it had a mind of its own. Only when the sheet was filled did I set the pen down and read what I had written. “Forgotten is how she came and forgotten she will leave. She has never known a love that heals, for she has never known love at all. She waited for you, but you never came. So she sat and cried just because you lied. But it wasn't your lie that took her breath; you didn't love her that caused her death. Before she passed on to another life she took a blade to handle her strife. She needed that person she never found. So in her blood she has drowned.” Moved and horrified by what I had just written, I reread it again, and again, comprehending what my own thoughts had formed. I knew I loved him, even he knew that. But how far would I go to keep what wasn’t mine? I became exhausted with emotion and drifted into a blissful abyss of sleep.
Waking up the next day pieces of my conversation from the day before flooded my mind. I remembered him saying that what I was doing was stupid. As soon as he said it I fumed with anger, but later I couldn’t even recall why I had been mad in the first place. I always hated that about him, he gave me so many reasons to be furious, especially towards the end of our friendship. He soon became very detached, only talking to me through text messages. I became a tool, an object for amusement when
boredom arose. I told myself that if I stayed, then he would come to realize that he loved me too. He knew me so well, almost better than I did myself. I relied on him. I lived for him, and he ruined me. Perhaps I ruined myself, always living in that illusion that one day he would come to his senses, but I never bothered coming to mine. I saw the myriads of signs, but I refused to believe that one person could hurt another so badly.
I went through the motions day after day, never completely feeling. I continued to talk to him, only involving myself further. When everything got too much to bear I consoled myself with the razor. It told me everything I wanted to hear. Showed me the blood I wanted to shed. Let me feel the pain I longed to feel. I felt that maybe if I could experience this pain, it would counteract the others and somehow make it easier to cope. Then I would proceed to write. This became my ritual, my way of life, and I was too afraid to get out of it.
That’s when everything came crashing down. He left me without a word of goodbye, or even just one last glance. Days passed and I expected him to turn back just as he always had, but this time he didn’t. The last day I talked to him was the last time I consulted my razor. It was almost as if they were a pair. I couldn’t have one without the other. Or maybe he was just the cause that made me pick it up to begin with.
I pushed the cold, sharp edge of the razor into my flesh, feeling the bite. Blood pooled around the cut, a crimson stain against my pale flesh. I forced the blade deeper, satisfied in the pain that it caused. It was as if all of the numbness I had felt for the past
several months had faded into oblivion.
I was entering a whole new world, but I knew I couldn’t do that with this little addiction beside me. I pulled the razor away from my freshly opened skin, willing myself to get rid of this part of my life. I knew I couldn’t live like this anymore, this secret life that controlled my mind. I tossed it in the trash, and with it I discarded all my fears that came so often with talking to him, that I wasn’t good enough or strong enough, even when I knew I was. I turned away from my old life without a second glance.
Now, six months later, I sit with pen in hand and write the words that are so dear to my heart now, “My scars don’t define me, they are not who I am.” These words have become a part of me, my saving grace. I can’t say that this road has been easy. In fact, it’s been incredibly difficult. Cutting had become my addiction, almost like a necessity for life. There have been numerous times that I’ve looked back on memories burned into my mind and think of what I had left behind, but looking towards the future and what I have become in the here and now, I can see that I am a better person for it. I cling to those words that will never leave me. So many times
I turned to him and he wasn’t there. But these words will always be there, telling me I don’t need him, I don’t need a razor. It doesn’t matter that I’ve cut or that I’ve done it this number of times for this number of years. What matters are the words I write on this page, the heart within my body, the soul within me. What matters is that I’m alive today,
still writing, and able to tell my story.