I am worthless. No one cares. I have nobody. I AM nobody.
The words repeated over and over in my mind. I stared at myself in the mirror. I looked down in the sink; little scarlet dots sprinkled bright on its white background. She hates you… I hate you. The blade lay bloodied on the edge of the sink; I felt so relieved. I washed a line of blood from my wrist and cleaned the inside of the sink.
I made my way down the stairs and to the kitchen. It was an early Saturday morning. Before I entered the kitchen, I could hear my younger brother eating breakfast. His back was turned to me, he didn’t notice me. I crept up behind him with my arms outstretched. I quickly grabbed his arms and shook him. “What are you doing?” I yelled.
“Lily!” Chase yelped as he dropped his bowl of cereal onto the counter. Milk sloshed over the rim and pooled onto the smooth wood of the counter top. “Look what you did,” he said as he turned to face me.
I rolled my eyes and moved to the refrigerator. “Clean up your mess, punk,” I grabbed the milk carton and undid the cap. Without grabbing a glass, I chugged a good portion of the liquid inside.
“Lily stop,” Chase said. “That’s disgusting.” He always complained when I drank from the jug. I stuck my tongue out at him and continued to drink straight from the container.
Footsteps approached behind me and a hand placed on my shoulder. “Stop messing with your brother,” my mother said. “And get a glass; no one wants to drink after you.”
I returned the lid to the milk and placed it back in the refrigerator, mocking my mother silently while her back was turned. As I closed the cool door, I heard a soft knock come from the front of the house. “I’ll get it,” I mumbled under my breath as I exited the kitchen.
My heart sank as I opened the door. Silvia, my best friend and only friend in the world, stood in front of me. A small box was gripped in her delicate hands. A grimace showered over her face when her eyes set on mine.
I could feel my stomach churn as we stood there, I felt like I was going to be sick. “I brought over your stuff,” she said as she handed me the box. It was filled to the top with many things of our friendship. “You can have it all back.” Her voice was cold; a shiver ran down my spine.
I opened my mouth to talk, but no words came out. I could feel the mute take over my body. Without hesitation, she turned on her heel and walked away. I could feel the hot tears stream down my flaming cheeks as I watched her leave. The salt burned my eyes. I thought we could salvage our friendship, but now it’s gone. She wanted nothing to do with me. I could see it in her eyes.
The box slipped from my grip and crashed to the floor, a break was heard from inside. I ran from the living room as I heard someone enter to see what broke. I hurried up the staircase and slammed the door as I entered my room, making a picture frame from my dresser fall over. I locked the door behind me and bent down to pick up the broken frame; a picture of Silvia and me from last summer was placed in the shattered glass.
I traced my index finger over the cracks, a tingle shot through my finger and I jerked it away. A trickle of blood raced down my finger, leaving a drop to seep into the cracks of the picture frame. It was my fault she felt that way, my fault she hated me. I knew she would feel this way, but I hoped so much that she wouldn’t completely leave my life.
I stayed in my room the rest of the day. My mother came up occasionally to see if I was alright or to tell me dinner was ready. I wasn’t hungry. I heard her place the box outside my door on one of her trips upstairs. No one else bothered me that night. I grabbed the blade that I took from the bathroom and flipped it between my fingers. She wouldn’t care if I did it, she wouldn’t even notice. “Benny, I messed up,” I said as I sat on my bed and grabbed my teddy bear. “I am messed up.” I lay there and cried with the blade in my hand and Benny in my arms. I fell asleep that way.
The sun shone through the window blinds and woke me up. A sharp sting shot through my hand. I looked at it and saw the razor blade still placed in my palm with two cuts on either side of it. I examined my bed to make sure no blood smeared onto it and then rushed to the bathroom to clean the wound, tripping over the box outside my door.
“Lily,” my mom called from the bottom of the staircase. “Get ready for mass.”
I looked at my face in the mirror. I didn’t like what I saw. My eyes were sunk in with dark rings around them, dull and cold as ice. I couldn’t see myself the same way anymore. All I saw was a broken piece of a puzzle that would never fit back in place. I washed my hand and wrapped a bandage around it, put the box in my room, then got ready for church.
I pulled the long sleeve of my cardigan down to cover the cut, on my wrist self-conscious and worried that someone would see and comment on it. The preacher talked but I paid no attention to him, like always. I continued to sit, even when everyone else stood. I looked up at the clock and was happy to see that mass was almost over. As my gaze drifted back down to the floor, a person caught my attention. As soon as our eyes met he looked away. My cheeks grew hot as my eyes bolted back to the ground. A boy was staring at me. Is my hair messed up? Do I still have some of my breakfast on my face? Does he know about my cut? I looked back up for just a second. His gaze was fixed back on me.
In unison, all the books closed and the preacher gave his final words. Everyone stood up, including me that time. Everyone began to exit the building. My parents started to nag me for not standing up with everyone else but I ignored them. I walked aimlessly. Without paying attention, I bumped into someone. I was instantly embarrassed. I stood still and looked down. “I’m sorry,” I said as my cheeks turned a nice rose pink.
I heard a chuckle as I continued to stare at the floor. I could feel tears start to form at the corners of my eyes as my embarrassment grew. I should have been paying attention. “You should look at the person you’re apologizing to,” a male voice spoke, amusement laced his words.
I looked up; it was the same boy that was staring at me during mass. “You,” I whispered. He took my hand and pulled me aside. I reluctantly followed him. I looked back at my parents as he pulled me away from them; all they did was smile and wave. My father mouthed that they would be waiting in the car.
We stopped in an empty hallway. His hand slipped away from mine and I longed for it to come back. I wanted some form of comfort, even if it was just the innocence of holding my hand. “Why don’t you stand during mass with everyone else?” he asked me.
I blinked for a second, confused that he would pull me aside just for that. His dark hazel eyes stared down at me as he waited for a response. “I don’t particularly believe in what they preach here,” I said quietly.
He laughed and I became even more embarrassed, fully aware of how much my palms began to sweat. His laugh was beautiful though with his eyes closed and head thrown back. “Sorry,” he apologized, taking my hand again. “I feel the same way. My name is Gordon.” He shook my hand as he spoke and smiled. “And yours?”
“Lily,” I squeaked out.
Butterflies released inside my stomach and fluttered around as I watched the ends of his lips stretch into an even wider and toothier grin. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Lily,” he said as his hand left mine once again. “Maybe we can get together sometime?”
I blushed at the thought. He actually wants to hang out with me? I thought to myself. “Sure,” I said, avoiding eye contact. My gaze was planted on the ground. I saw his foot step aside and he began to move away. He was leaving. Don’t leave. I thought. “Wait,” I called out to him. My hand shot up to my mouth, surprised that I spoke up, surprised even more that he actually stopped.
His back was to me; slowly he turned around. “Yes?” he said the smile still on his face.
I looked down again. “It’s just that…” I paused. I closed my eyes and quickly finished my sentence. “We don’t have each other’s numbers, how could we possibly hang out?” My fingers tightened into fists and I could feel my nails dig into the hand that wasn’t wrapped.
Slowly, he walked back to me with one hand in his pocket. He pulled out a crumpled slip of paper and a pen. He scribbled on it quickly and then placed it in my hand. I looked down at it, flattening it out, and then back up at him. He smiled as he walked away and waved goodbye. A smile crept onto my face and it didn’t leave me for the rest of that night.
The next day I woke up early. I looked at my dresser and saw the slip of paper there from where I put it the night before. “Benny, it wasn’t just a dream,” I smiled as I squeezed my teddy bear tight to my chest.
I grabbed my smart phone from next to my bed and sent a good morning text to Gordon. I placed Benny back on my bed and went into the bathroom across the hall. I looked into the mirror and saw a brighter person than the last time I looked into it. “Long time no see,” I said to the mirror version of me. I took my time getting ready for school. I was in a happy little trance until my brother came downstairs.
“What happened to your arm?” he asked as he made his way around the table and to the cupboards.
I looked down at my exposed wrist and quickly covered it with my sleeve. “The cat scratched me,” I said, taking in a mouthful of cereal.
A puzzled look crossed Chase’s face. “But we don’t have a cat,” he said as he grabbed a box of cereal. He sat down across from me and poured the contents of the box into his bowl.
Panic rose inside of me. “Of course,” I mumbled with my mouth full. “It was some cat outside… I tried to pet it and it scratched me.” I looked at the clock next to the door and noticed I would be late if I took any more time at home. I shoveled a couple more spoonfuls of cereal into my mouth, then grabbed my bags and hurried out the door, yelling a goodbye to my mother.
The walk to school was short but chilly. Stupid, should have grabbed a jacket. I thought to myself, thankful to be approaching the doors of the school. I walked in and rubbed my arms, the sleeves of my shirt were too thin to keep me warm. I briskly walked to the first floor hallway that my locker was located in. Many students stared at me as I passed by, but I didn’t notice all the looks until I got to my locker. In bright red, ugly words were scrawled across the gray metal. “Loser. Kill Yourself. Ratchet. Disgusting. Ugly. No One Loves You. Everyone Hates You.” Horrible things and more faced me as I stared at the letters written on my locker. I could hear people laughing, not everyone, but enough to make it hurt more because I knew they were laughing at me.
The rest of the day was hell. In every class I heard whispers behind my back and whenever I looked back they stopped and sat up straighter. In lunch I was tripped and landed on top of my tray of mashed potatoes. I spent the rest of lunch in the bathroom trying to wash out the stain while everyone else laughed. Is she making this happen? I wondered. How did she get to so many people in just one weekend? Then again, it is high school. Gossip spreads fast. I kept my head down in every class not wanting to face anyone that may hate me now. Is this all because we aren’t friends anymore? I didn’t think she cared that much. I felt little objects land in my hair, one of them hit my hand. By the texture, I could tell they were spitballs. I gagged and tears spilled from my eyes as I shook the disgusting slime ball off of my hand.
The day went by so slow. I was happy when the final bell rang to dismiss the school. As I rushed out of my locker, I ran into Silvia. The look on her face didn’t seem to be of hatred anymore, but as if she felt sorry for me. The look was soft, as if she wanted to say something but I ran before she could open her mouth.
I went home immediately without stopping at my locker. I didn’t want to see that sight again. As soon as I got to my house I ran up the stairs and to my room and locked the door behind me. Sobbing out loud I grabbed my razor blade and dug it deep into my arm. A gasp escaped my lips as the sweet and warm pain swelled through my arm and to the rest of my body. The pain in my chest started to fade as the sting in my arm replaced it. The warm blood tickled as it dripped down to my wrist. I cut again and again, not as deep, until I was crying from the pain in my arm instead of from school.
As I lay in my bed, I heard my phone buzz from across the room. Slowly, I slumped to my feet and dragged myself over to it. It continued to buzz. I looked at the screen and read the name across it. “It’s Gordon,” I sniffled to myself. I slid the circle that said ‘Answer’ down and placed the phone to my ear. “Hello?” I choked out.
There was a pause on the other end of the line. “…are you okay?” Gordon’s voice was filled with concern.
A lump grew in my throat. Tears began to trickle down my cheeks once again. “No,” I whispered and hit the ‘End Call’ button. I collapsed onto my bed in a sobbing rage. Why didn’t I tell him? I looked at Benny; his stitched smile didn’t fade. “Why can’t I be as happy as you?” I said as I curled into a ball, crushing Benny in my arms.
I lay there for what felt like an hour but when I looked at my clock, only ten minutes had passed. Why can’t today end? I felt numb, like I couldn’t move. I felt as if I was paralyzed. There was a knock on my door. “Go away,” I whispered. “I’m not hungry.” The knock continued, a bit louder that time. “I’m not hungry,” I repeated myself.
The handle to the door began to twist. “Lily?”
Gordon? I shot up in my spot, the ability to move suddenly back. In one motion I got up from my bed and placed my hand on the doorknob. Instantly, it stopped twisting. I breathed heavily as I turned the chilled knob in my hand. I switched the lock and slowly opened the door.
As soon as there was a crack visible between the door and the wall, Gordon rushed in. I was met with a warm embrace. “I was worried,” he said. My tears had stopped. Someone cared. I wasn’t alone.
Gordon sat me down on my bed and looked at my arm. Blood still oozed out of the deepest cut. He delicately took my arm and examined my self-inflictions. Without saying a word, he stood up and walked out of my room. Oh my god, why didn’t I stop him from looking? I panicked. He’ll think I’m insane… maybe I am.
Before long he was back in my room and I was put somewhat at ease. With him he carried a bottle of peroxide, gauze, and a couple washrags. “This is going to sting,” he said as he unscrewed the cap from the peroxide. I stared at him while he placed a rag at the lip of the bottle and dampened it with the liquid inside. He gently pressed it against the splits in my skin. I yelped as the alcohol stung through my arm to cleanse my wounds.
I jerked my arm back as he pressed harder. “It hurts,” I said, holding my breath.
He tugged my arm back towards him and continued to clean my cuts. “Just breathe through it,” he said. Before long, he dried the wetness from my skin and wrapped the gauze snuggly around my arm. For hours after we lay there talking. I told him about Silvia; I showed him the box filled with our old things. He consoled me.
For months we talked and I thought our relationship was growing. Our conversations became more intimate and eventually, we exchanged pictures. For once in a long time I was happy. I still went through problems at school, but at the end of the day he always made it go away and I’d feel better. After a while the ‘good mornings’ stopped and I always found myself having to text him first. I thought he was just busy. I went to the mall with my brother and almost cried where I stood. He was talking to her, smiling at her, walking with her. No. A voice cried out inside me. Not this, not her. I knew right then and there what the outcome would be. I dreamt about it for many nights after that, but I tried to push it out of my mind while I talked to him. He reassured me that they had just become friends. I was a fool to believe him.
I sat at my desk in class. Gordon hadn’t texted me back in days. I was worried. I listened to the conversations around me. I tried not to; it continued to make me feel worse. I seemed to always pick up one familiar, distinct voice. Silvia talked with her friends. “I’m going to the party tonight,” she said all happy and giddy.
“Lily,” the teacher called my name. I wasn’t paying attention; I didn’t know what she wanted. “Pass back these papers for me.”
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t move. She walked over to my desk and dropped a stack of papers in front of me. I slowly stood up and passed them out to their owners. Her name curved over the top line of the next paper on my stack. I held my breath while I gave it to her. I kept my eyes down, but noticed my scars were wide open to view. I quickly glanced up to see Silvia and just by her eyes I knew that she saw them. My arm shot back down to my side and I quickly walked away to the next desk, though I continued to listen to Silvia’s conversation. “He told me if I wanted some of my friends to come, I could invite them.”
I passed back the papers more slowly, trying to hear what was being said. I knew it was a bad idea to eavesdrop on that particular conversation. “What is his name again?” one of the girls that surrounded Silvia asked. “Gordon? Are you two dating?”
“Well,” Silvia started. My stomach did a flip and before I knew it my breakfast resurfaced onto the carpet of the classroom floor. Shrieks and gags filled the air as my teacher led me out through the door and to the nurse. I insisted I was okay, but she had me sent home regardless.
Neither of my parents was home. I sat alone in my room contemplating whether or not I should try to text Gordon. Are they dating? I thought to myself and tears began to form in the corners of my eyes. I decided to text him. Ten minutes passed by. Half an hour. An hour. No reply. Maybe it’s because of school. I tried to think of plausible reasons on why he wouldn’t reply. What did I do? In the end, I had nothing.
After three hours, schools were let out, and still no response from him. “Benny,” I said, looking at my teddy bear. “Should I try talking to him in person?” Benny’s button eyes stared back at me. It was a bad idea, but I decided to go to the party.
When I arrived the party was in full blast. Red solo cups littered the tables, half filled with various mixers. I looked around and instantly spotted Silvia. She was standing next to Gordon, too close of a distance for normal comfort. I turned away and headed in a different direction. “Hey,” a guy said behind me. I kept walking. “Hey you,” a hand grasped my arm and stopped me in my tracks. “Are you one of Gordon’s friends?” The stench of alcohol reeked from the boy’s mouth. I stayed silent as his gaze drifted drunkenly around me. “Follow me,” he said, guiding me through the house.
I reluctantly followed, like a lost puppy looking for her owner. He led me to a dark room. When he closed the door he flicked the light switch on. It was a bedroom. He locked the door and blocked the exit so I couldn’t get out. “Let me out,” I said. I realized following him was a bad idea as I tried to push him aside.
I was knocked to the ground by a blow to the face. Dazed, I stood back up and felt blood gush from my nose. I shoved through the guy and tried to unlock the door. His hands went around my waist and tried to pull me back. I gripped the doorknob and refused to let go as my feet lifted off of the ground. My blood dripped down my chin. I thrashed and kicked and the edge of my shoe connected with his face. Blood instantly spilled from his nose like mine. His hands fell from my hips and placed themselves against his nose.
I flung the door open in a swift motion after the lock was removed. My hands sheltered my nose and in three strides I was practically down the hall, and right into Silvia. I put my hands in front of me. My bloody hands covered her previously white blouse. Shock took over her face as she looked from her shirt to my face. A friend of hers, I presumed at least, rushed over to her and started to blot at the red stains that covered Silvia’s shirt.
“What is wrong with you?” the girl shouted as she turned to face me. My mouth opened, but I remained silent, reluctant to speak. She looked me up and down and stopped at my arm. My hand moved to cover what I knew she saw, but she stopped me. “No long sleeves today,” she snorted. “So this is what you’ve been covering up.” She traced her nail over the scabs and scars on my wrist.
“Melissa,” Silvia called out. “Stop it. It was an accident.”
Melissa paid Silvia no attention. She leaned in closer to me, still tracing my wrist, and began to whisper. “If you want to do it right,” she said and started to run her nail up and down the longest of my fore arm. “You would cut this way.”
I ripped my arm from her grasp and backed up. In doing so, I stepped on the foot of the person behind me. That’s when I realized a circle had formed around us. Everything was quiet to me. I saw mouths move but I couldn’t make out the words. It felt like slow motion. I was pushed from behind towards Melissa. I felt her hands grip my arms and she spun me into the wall of the hallway. I could only hear Melissa speak. “Maybe I’ll help you,” she said as two guys helped hold me against the wall. She pulled out a tiny knife from her pocket and flipped it open. “This is how the pros do it.” She grabbed my wrist.
I struggled against the wall to try and wriggle free, but nothing helped. The guys were too strong. I looked to my left and realized one of them was Gordon. My eyes met with his as tears started to drop from my nose. I didn’t notice my eyes had started to water. Why? My eyes pleaded. Melissa wrapped her tiny fingers tighter around my wrist and finally got me to hold still. I was tired. I was done fighting. I let it happen. She made long marks against my skin, not deep enough to do much damage. They were like big paper cuts with only tiny drops of blood showing through.
When she was done I slumped to the ground and saw as everyone laughed at me. End it. A whisper in the back of my head sounded. I stood up from the floor and walked down the hall. My surroundings muted to me. I saw everyone’s faces as they laughed at me but the sound never reached my ears. Blood dripped down to my fingertips as I walked out of the house. Why would I trust him? I questioned myself.
I walked home and made my way up to my parents’ room. I heard the door downstairs open and close so I hurried to what I was looking for. I pulled my father’s gun out from under his bed. I slipped out of their room before whoever was downstairs could come up. I scribbled a quick ‘I’m sorry’ onto a sticky note and left it on my desk before I checked the chamber of the gun. Fully loaded. I heard footsteps make their way up the staircase. I went to shut my door so my parents wouldn’t see but was stopped by a push on the door. It was rushed. It was Silvia.
I stepped back and my calves pressed into the mattress of my bed. Silvia tried to step towards me, but I turned the gun towards her and she stopped in her tracks. “Lily,” she said, and slightly lifted her hands. “Put the gun down, you don’t have to do this.”
I saw Gordon just outside my bedroom door. I moved the gun back and forth to point at both of them. “I have to do this,” I whispered and looked down at Benny sitting on my bed. “I want to.” I looked back up to Silvia and saw tears drip down her cheeks. I looked at the gun pointed at her. I looked at Gordon. “You’ll be happy when I’m gone,” I said to Gordon and then placed the nose of the gun inside my mouth. Panic flooded his face as he rushed into the room. Both Silvia and Gordon tried to make it to me in time. They grabbed at my arms, but they were too late. My finger was ready on the trigger. I pulled it.
I felt nothing. I was nothing. To Silvia though… I was something… but that something came too late.