Still Sane This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Fulton, TX
The sterile building housed many people, categorized into ages and genders. The workers lead me through questions and doctors, the end leaving me here. I sit in my new room, and count. Four walls to lock me in. Two doors to hardly open. One bed for my new roommate. I count the voices in my head. Only one, so still okay.

I count my clothing in my new drawer. Two bras, wires cut out. Three pairs of socks, for my feet must always be covered. Three shirts as bland as ever, for standing out is no good. Still no sign that I’ve gone crazy. I thank a god I didn’t believe in.

My new roommate walks in. She is as hesitant as I am. We talk of meaningless things, of our family, and play stupid verbal games. An hour passes, or maybe fifteen minutes. There’s no clock. We look at each other, and Christina assures me that she’s not crazy—that the cuts on her wrists aren’t a sign that her mind was a jumbled mess. But my cuts aren’t on my skin. Am I crazy? I assure her that I’m not. It’s silent. And I wonder if she believes me.

I interlock my fingers and begin to count again. Ten fingers. Ten toes. Zero cuts. Zero inflicted scars. I look back at Christina’s wrists. One. Two. Four on her left. Three on her right, more jagged and deep. She doesn’t notice my eyes. She’s lost like me. I want to say something; to help her latch on to the present reality. But I’m already struggling. A lady pops her head in, the woman who cut my pajama drawstrings. She tells Christina that she has a phone call. And with that, I’m alone again.

Or maybe I’m not alone. I contemplate going back inside my mind to escape this boredom. I lay my head on the pillow and stare at the ceiling. One. Two. Three.

I try to think of happy memories, the ones with my sister or friends. Why I’m here—those memories come. Weak willed, but methodical. Planned every detail. Gave away belongings. Said good-bye without a trace of my plans. The letter was already formed in my mind long ago. Too weak willed to live, but too weak to follow through.

My chest felt hollow, but my heart a heavy stone. Everything kept coming.

The stupid people from school. Their insults, and the pushes, and the shoves, and how I questioned my self-worth.

That guy. His hands. The bruises on my breasts, and the red crescents on my neck. Face collapsed on rocks. Safety lost until my savior found me.

I think farther, and deeper, because I’m not crazy. I think to when I was little. To when my parents divorced, and it was me, my little sister, and Mom. And mom was lost to low blood sugar, her mind not right and horrifying Kaitlin. Looking at my sister, I knew I was supposed to be the strong one.

Then it was just me and my six-year-old self. The small girl who didn’t know what was going on. But that girl. Such a strong will—unlike me. I wonder what she would do.

Christina comes back inside, and the little girl vanishes as if never there. I counted the people in the room. One roommate on the opposite bed. One man, saying dinner arrived. My self walking outside. A little girl, waiting for me to return.

Because I am weak, not crazy.





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