There wasn’t an exact action that led to it. Not when he screamed at her, calling her a whore, pushing her out of his room, his face snarling and spit flying onto her face as his fingers dug into the flesh of her upper arms, leaving bruises that would not go for days, physically dragging her out. Nor when, a week later, the whole thing was repeated, this time, the fire of the battle not burning quite so bright, yet the hurt and pain still so palpable. Not when the files on her desk seemed to procreate while she slept, to return to the office to find they had almost doubled and with every breath she took, the tears threatened to consume her whole making it almost impossible to even concentrate on one of them. Not the constant downpour of rain, the grey clouds that hung over her head but felt as if they hung over her entire life. It was not a single action, but a combination of these, each weighing down on her so heavily when the moment actually happened.
Just another glass of wine, another swipe of the iPad, staring at it and seeing nothing. Looking up at the faces of the people she lived with, feeling them judge her, scorn her. Feeling the emptiness in her heart and the actual physical pain of loss as if somebody had died. But somebody had died, hadn’t they? Even if that somebody was only something in her heart and in her head.
She cut her nails to the quick, regretting it the minute it was done, but at least now, they were all straight again, most of them having been torn and broken from the battle the week before. She wondered about painting them and realised she couldn’t care. She wondered about straightening her hair and realised she didn’t care about that either. She wondered about her life, and realised she couldn’t give a damn about that either. She wondered how she had got to this point in her life, and realised that it was years of ignoring what had been slapping her in the face. The masochist that she was, had not stepped back to see what was hurting her, but rather, had taken each blow as it had mounted over the years and buried it.
Now, here it was, staring her point blank in the face. Her life a mess, her nails and hair a mess. Her heart a mess and that was the moment, the precise moment she broke.
She killed the cigarette that was only half smoked, downed the rest of the wine in her glass, put her iPad away and got up. She didn’t say goodbye to anyone as she headed out the door and it didn’t matter because nobody really noticed her leave. The endless drizzle that rained down on her head went unnoticed, as did her car as she walked past it. She headed east, towards the cemetery which she knew would be coated in darkness, quite and empty, aside from the dead, who she knew, would remain silent and not stop her from what she had to do.
As she walked, she gathered speed, her mission clear in her mind, her only objective to do it. She passed the usual street litter and didn’t even realise she was looking for anything until she bent down to pick up the glass bottle that was lying against the curb in the street, holding it tightly to her body. The tears had begun to roll silently down her cheeks again, mingling with the rain that was falling but she didn’t notice. The lump in her throat bobbing against her skin, but she swallowed it down as she had been doing for days and gripped the bottle tighter. Crossing the bridge into a darker street, her feet began moving faster, almost running now, eager to get to it, to feel something, to feel pain, to feel hurt, to scream…to be.
Arriving at the cemetery, her wet hair plastered to her face, her clothes damp, she ran through the parking area and past the newer graves, heading towards the back where the hills sloped higher and the graves were spaced wider apart. It was full dark, and the only light that she could see was that of the keeper of the cemetery, who was clearly snug in his little cottage, dry and warm.
Running to the top of the hill, she finally stopped, wiped the tears and the rain from her face and tried to catch her breath. Placing her hands on her knees she leaned forward and a sob escaped her mouth. This time though, she did not try to stifle it. The sob rolled out of her chest, quietly at first, but then gained volume as she pushed it out of her. Finally free of people and those that judged her, those that would good naturedly ask her if she was all right, and her having to say that everything was just perfectly fine with her, when all she wanted to do was scream that her life was over. The pain that gripped her kept her doubled over and she allowed herself to finally let go. The lone sob was soon followed by another, then another until she was stood there, weeping uncontrollably. A guttural howling escaping from her throat that she had not only never heard before but didn’t recognise as coming from herself.
Raising her face to the sky she screamed “Oh my god it hurts so much!” dropping the glass bottle on the ground next to her before she once again bent over and sobbed. The slow drizzle continued to fall on her as she stood there. Finally letting all the pain and the hurt out. Finally letting go of all the emotion that had been building up in her for not only days, but for years. Finally being able to be herself, to let the mask slide and to be raw and true to herself.
Nobody noticed her as she stood there, nothing but her shoulders moving as she cried, her feet firmly planted in the wet grass, until eventually she raised her face once again, and once more wiped her tears. She squared her shoulders, looked down to find the bottle and picking it up, attempted to smash it on the grass. The bottle bounced off the ground, rolling down the hill still intact. She let out a howl of frustration, chasing after it and reached it just as it clattered on the gravel pathway. She picked it up again, bringing it down hard on the ground, once more howling from the pit of her stomach as she did so, but this time, being satisfied as she heard it burst into many glass pieces. There was no moonlight to illuminate the pieces and she felt around, picking a few up, discarding those that weren’t sharp or big enough, until finally she held two jagged pieces of glass, each with sharp points, able to slice through anything.
The girl stood there, running her finger over both pieces, feeling the edges and finally, for the first time in days, smiled as she felt one of them slice through the skin, a droplet of blood immediately beading on the tip of her finger. She threw the other piece away, not noticing or caring where it landed and headed back up to the top of the hill, this time sitting down on the wet grass, holding the glass tightly in her hand.
She continued to cry, much softer now though, the worst of it finally spent, but the feelings of angst and sorrow in her heart still very much present and as she sat there crying, she realised that nothing would ever make her happy again. That the hurt in her heart was too great, that the person she had been presenting to the world was not who she was, and hadn’t been for so long now she had no idea how to ever come back from that.
And then, from nowhere, a strength came over the girl. She bit her bottom lip, stopped her crying and once more, wiped her cheeks with her hands and wiped her nose with the sleeve of her wet shirt. A slight smile forming on her lips she rotated her arms around so that her wrists faced upwards and looked down at them, the smile on her lips getting broader. The girl didn’t think any further, she merely brought the hand that was holding the piece of glass towards her left wrist and dragged the jagged edge over her skin, slicing her skin and her wrist wide open. The pain was nothing like she imagined. It was merely a biting sting and then nothing. Disappointed, she took the piece of glass in her other hand and repeated the process to her right wrist. Not hesitating as the glass bit through the skin and started slicing, forcing the glass deep into her arm. Even as she did this, she remained numb and realised that her empty life was only a reflection of her empty mind. The pain she had hoped to feel, a bitter disappointment that hadn’t materialised, she saw as a sign that she was doing the right thing. That her heart had truly shut down, and that she would no longer be able to feel anything. That she was empty.
Blood poured from the gashes in her arms but she only stared at them for a few seconds before she lay back, closing her eyes as the rain beat down on her face, spreading her arms out to the side. The girl felt nothing as she stared up at the dark sky. She felt nothing as her blood bled out into the grass, soaking into the already wet ground. She felt nothing as she closed her eyes, softly whispering ‘Please make the darkness go away’.
She no longer felt the rain as it softly caressed her and finally, felt nothing at all.
A sad, gentle, heartrending, wonderfully written story…so much going on at once, and you did justice to each integral piece of it all. Extremely well written & had me from the get-go!
Such wonderful words of praise from someone so talented as yourself. Truly means so much you stopped to read and even more that you took the time to lavish it with such kind words. Thank you!