O is for Open

Trigger Warning: Cutting

I survive through educational haze/hazing of the first half of the day, waiting for the moment I’m released for lunch and rush to the bathroom.

Not the one everyone uses by the cafeteria, but one over behind the music room in the old section. You know, the part of the school shut down because the roof leaks. It’s not fully shut down; a couple classes are over there for the senior class since they are the product of a winter with three blizzards. As soon as they push the bump through, the school is either going to rip the roof off or just tear everything down and try again.

Anyway, that bathroom is always empty during my lunch break. It smells of pot from the people on break just before my lunch time, but for my lunch break, it is empty.

I go into the biggest stall, close the door, and sink the floor, pulling off my hoodie. From a little pocket I sewed inside, I pull out my razor box. It’s small, only holding a single razor at a time so it doesn’t set off the metal detector. I snap open the case and stare at the blade.

I’ve been cutting on myself for a while. It helps me feel. To focus.

Nothing matters, but people want you to interact with them. This gets me there.

I unbutton my long-sleeve shirt. It is a plaid flannel, rust brown and black. Rolling up the sleeves I see the history of scars on my arms, some thin white, some angry red, and some crusty with scabs. The scabs are the most recent. I debate just digging into them a little.

No, I need new pain.

I pick up the blade and cut a line about two inches on my right arm. I’m right-handed, so that arm doesn’t have as many lines. The blade cuts deeper since I can’t control it as well, causing a deep ache. Holding my arm over the toilet, I watch the blood drip into the porcelain altar. Each painful drip reminding me I am alive.

That I am not just going through the motions.

The blood drops bloom in the water, spreading in a fog but taking mine away if only for a moment. I’m real. The world is real. Red is life.

The cut stops dripping after a few minutes. I want to scrape it open to bleed more, but I hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I needed to get some food into me.

I clean the blade and put it away, then roll down the sleeve and button up, finally pulling on the hoodie.

I flush the toilet, watching my life blood go down the drain, like everything else in my life. Meaningless in the end.

The cafeteria ladies pile on the food. My lunch is the last one of the day, and it isn’t as though they can store the food as leftovers. No, they don’t give me the bags of chips and stuff they can sell tomorrow, but I do get three dogs for the price of one.

I take it to a table and shove the food into my mouth robotically. When I was thirteen, I guess about four or five months after Mom died, I fell over and they took me to the hospital. I hadn’t been hungry and forgot to eat, I don’t know, maybe two weeks?

The shrinks diagnosed it as depression with disassociation or detachment or something like that. Whatever.

Anyway, they made me stay a little while and do tests and stuff. Afterwards they put me in an out-patient program. It really put Dad through the ringer thinking his kid was mentally ill. After a while, with therapy, I figured out the answers they wanted and got out of Dodge.

Yeah, I know. I probably should still be in therapy. But it wasn’t helping, and it was a big hassle. The secret now is not to fall over again. Because if they take me to the hospital, they are going to see my scars and all hell will break loose. So I force myself to eat regularly. There is no one talking to me at the table, because by the time I sat down most people had finished eating and gone off for their cliques.


A to Z Short Story List Breakdown

Rainbow Spectrum (A to F)
Marathon Party (G to M)

Trigger: Cutting (N to Q)
4/16/2019 – N is for Nihilism
4/17/2019 – O is for Open
4/18/2019 – P is for Pause
4/19/2019 – Q is for Questions