P is for Pause

Trigger Warning: Cutting

“Aren’t you coming down for dinner?” Dad asks, standing in the doorway of my room.

I stare into my video game and keep playing.


“Yeah, not hungry.” I work on killing the boss.

“Is your homework done?”

“Got it done in study.” I half-lie.


That is what he always says before shutting the door. Dad gives up easy now. I’ve trained him well.

“You know I love you.”

That’s new. I pause the game.

I look over at him. “Got a new relationship book or something?”

“Yes.” He leans against the door, the weight of the world on his shoulders. I envy him for feeling something. Well, as much as I can – envy is complicated and you need to actually want something badly. “But it is still true. I love you, kid.”

“Yeah, I know.” I restart the game. “Thanks.”

Dad quietly shuts the door. I play another few hours, until he shouts he is trying off the wi-fi for the night. I get in one last level before he actually does turn it off, after his second shout.

I wait to hear him stomp past my room into the master bedroom at the end of our ranch house.

Once I was sure he was down for the night, I pull off the clothes. After checking for bloodstains, I throw the old clothes into my hamper to take care of later. Can’t wear them three days in a row. The therapy doc said that is one of the things to look for back when I was in therapy. That, and lack of grooming.

I shower in the second bathroom, the one for children and guests, and rush back to my room. I lock the door as I go in, reminding myself to unlock it before going to bed.

Dad let’s me have private time, because guys just need to do some things without interruption. But I’m still his son, and he wants access to my room at all times. His house, his rules.

Still wrapped in the towel, I pull out a box under my bed and roll the numbers until the combination is unlocked. I remove the plastic sheet, and unroll it and the brown towel I had put together like a sandwich wrap. I rub my hand over the spiky towel. I need to clean it soon. Next I take out a box of bandages and a box of razors. I replace the one in my hoodie, as it was getting dull, and toss the red jacket to the side.

Getting up, I check my two hiding places in the room. Those blades haven’t been found yet and weren’t rusted. I have thought to hide a couple more in other places in the house, just in case, but a five-year-old made that a bad idea. Don’t want Cheryl to hurt herself.

I sit back down and lay out everything carefully.

Some days, I think it might be easier to kill myself. It wasn’t like I was alive now.

Just haven’t figure out how yet. Dad keeps his guns at the range since Cheryl was born; no guns in the house until the kids are old enough to know how to treat them right per Mom. And hanging was out. I played monkey when I was nine and tore a fixture out of the ceiling. If the plaster couldn’t handle me at nine, it sure couldn’t handle my weight now. Poison, well, that was too close to what happened with Mom. I can’t do that to Dad.

Not that I want Dad or Cheryl to find me.

Besides, I really don’t want to kill myself. I don’t want to live either. I just … well … don’t want anything.

Except to feel. To feel something.

I pick the blade and cut myself.

The End


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