A 2004 high school snapshot:
“I’m addicted to hurting myself,” I said with a dry voice. Dry eyes.
“What do you mean?” My friend said.
I lifted my sleeve as high as it would go. They eyed the burns, the jagged cuts.
“Fuck.” they said.
“I don’t know what to think of myself. I think I might be suicidal.”
“The hell you are!” They said.
I saw the anger steaming from the top of their head.
“Fuck you!” They said.
The words worked into my brain.We sat together in their car near my parent’s driveway. It was our space for honesty, a closed off sanctuary.
“I’m telling your parents right now!” They said, jumping out, violating our rule of secrecy.
“Please don’t.” I said. “I can’t handle them knowing.” I pulled on my hair to make my scalp sting.
They walked toward the front door, my mind capturing it all in slow motion.
I leaped out too. I ran. After a mile of a full sprint, I jumped into the woods of familiar trees and familiar scopes.
I hid. My parents were going to disown me. I knew it.
I watched the world fall dark. The woods began to turn on me. I walked away from the road, hearing the wind rattle the dead leaves around me. Hot, stinging tears fell from my face. My eyes worked against my brain, as it tried to squelch the pain.
As anxiety began to surface, I started singing.
“So this is odd. Painful realization that all has gone wrong, and nobody cares at all.”
The dark accepted my words. The cold air whisked them away.
My skull throbbed, echoing the scream rising in my throat.
I wandered, blindly. The trees became ghosts, wailing shadows for monsters ready to pounce. I heard the wind playing its sad melody with a creaking door in the distance.
“Follow me,” it sang. “Find me.”
I walked on. Sharp chest pains begged me to stop.
“So you buried all your lover’s clothes and burned the letters lover wrote, but it doesn’t make it any better. Does it make it any better?” I said
“You’ll never know,” something said.
I kept on. “And the plaster dented from your fist in the hall where you had your first kiss. Reminds you that the memories will fade.”
“You aren’t worth the memories.” I felt claws.
“So this is strange. Our sidestepping has come to be a brilliant dance where nobody leads at all.” I said, softly.
“Yes. You are lost.” A heavy weight landed on my shoulders. I cried out, falling hard.
With a ragged breath I said, “And the picture frames are facing down and the ringing from this empty sound is deafening and keeping you from sleep.”
I stood up.
“Stay lost, empty one.”
I ran away. I didn’t look back to see what had tried to catch me. I pushed my lungs as hard as they could muster as I saw the edge of the woods ahead.
I sprinted out, came to a stop, and doubled over. My mind hit its no return zone. The urge ground myself with pain welled beneath my skin. A haze fell over my brain.
I grasped for reality as my mind hung on to the song. “And breathing is a foreign task and thinking’s just too much to ask and you’re measuring your minutes by a clock that’s blinking eights.”
I spied the screeching door in the distance. My mind focused, and walked toward it. I closed my eyes for long stretches of time as my legs continued on autopilot.
I reached an obstacle. I touched the wooden fence blocking my way. Numbly, I put a food on the bottom rail in an effort to raise myself over it. I heard an abrupt sound, scarily close to me. I looked up to see a white figure brush past me at full speed. I slipped, knocking my chin on the fence as I fell sideways. I cried out, from pain and fear.
I looked up expecting to see Satan standing above me. Surprised to find nothing, I looked around and my mind came into focus. I heard galloping steps and saw the horse moving alongside the fence.
“Well, this is incredible, starving, insatiable. Yes, this is love for the first time. And you’d like to think that you were invincible.Yeah, well weren’t we all once, before we felt loss for the first time? ” My voice project into the open space.
I noticed the horse’s agitation as I realized that the air felt right for a storm. I backed away from the fence toward the woods, feeling braver.
“Well, this is the last time,” I said, laying down next to a dense tree. I covered my body with leaves and closed my eyes.
A little while later, I called a friend to help me.
*lyrics by Chris Carrabba