Her bare back lies on the cold floor of the bathroom. Holding a knife in one hand, she tries to figure out where it all went wrong. When pain became her best friend. She lets the blade sit on her wrist like a king on his throne. Though this knife was no king, it was her death. Letting the knife meet her flesh, she closes her eyes.
It wasn’t always this way. I didn’t always come home to their red eyes glaring at me from a place of hate. I didn’t come home to their face pointed towards me with genuine disgust. What had I done? Blood trickles the floor. This house used to be filled with laughter and smiles. The silence, the darkness is new. The locked cabinets of my daddy’s liquor is now always open and mommy’s wine glass is always full. There’s a puddle now. Mommy used to sing to me at night and daddy would stroke my hair. Now mommy sings alone and daddy is never home. I don’t understand what happened. When did their individual selves become more important than us. Us all together. We used to be so happy. Dry blood cakes the floor like a velvet blanket. Why can’t we go back? Tears fall from her grey eyes that don’t shine anymore. Eyes that used to glisten with life. When I cry, no one is here to wipe those tears and when I scream, no one hears. So why am I here? To tend to their suffering? To put them to bed when they can’t themselves, to clean up the mess, to make peace with the words left unspoken? They used to tell me they loved me. If we could only go back… She sits alone and lets all the blood drain out. Every last drop. Every drop that held the pain she can no longer sustain. Bye mommy, bye daddy.
She wakes up to the metal straps hard and cold against her skin. She looks around to see that she is no longer in her bathroom, but in a room with no windows, white walls, one door. This is not what was supposed to happen. I was supposed to be gone. I was supposed to escape it all. A tall woman with delicate features walks in slowly and explains why she’s here, “Hunny, your mother…” Mommy. “Found you unconscious in the bathroom. You are very lucky to be alive.” I wanted to be dead. “So you’ll be staying in the Westwood Psyche Ward. We will monitor your sleeping, eating, and regular living. This may seem like a lot to handle right now but we are trying…” I don’t want to be here. “Your mother…” Mommy. “And father…” Daddy. “Could not make it here today but I know they want to see you get better.” I can see them right now. Mommy in the living room, with several wine glasses. Daddy in the den, with liquor breath. They are not sad, they are not worried. The woman leaves but she is left with the thoughts in her heads yelling louder than ever. Day after day she sits on this bed. Gets fed. Gets walked to the bathroom. I hate this. Day after day she gets more frustrated, more tired, more sad. She’s lost everything. Her words, her heart, her thoughts. She’s slowly dying inside, out. It wasn’t suppose to happen this way.
Her body shudders awake and grey eyes storm open. Her back lies bare on the bathroom floor and her hand grips the knife. It’s not going to happen that way. She gets up, drops the knife, walks through the door. There isn’t a blanket of blood, there is barely even a drop. And there never will be. They may have ran from the nothingness, to avoid the pain set deep within, to depend on the alcohol to feel satisfied. But I won’t, I can’t, I won’t depend on the knife to escape it. I’ll be strong. I’ll make it. I’ll have to.
Kayla Burke-Ozuna, Age 13, Grade 8, MS 245 the Computer School, Silver Key