The Blade

The metal slices through my imperfect skin. I watch the slight incision spill open and blood bubble to the surface, but no pain follows. I slice again, driving the blade deeper. Nothing could cut through the numbness. This nothing.

Is life always going to be this hard?

History tells me one story, but my dreams say another.

As the nation mourns the loss of life that bleak September, I mourn the loss of what little innocence remained.

Foreclosure.

I sit on my bed, legs up and close to my chest, and watch the blood trickle from the small cut. My sister’s bed is vacant across the room, as it has been for over a month. She’s getting to follow her dream. How can she get what she wants when I have given so much and received nothing in return? She’s at UT-Dallas, while I am still here in this godforsaken town, in this house with these fucking leeches, but not for much longer, it seems.

My six year old self stares at me from the far corner of the room. Worry wrinkles line her forehead. “I can’t wait to be sixteen so I can help you with the bills, Momma!”

I shake my head at her. “Fool,” I mutter.

A slight sting settles on my leg from the cut. I swallow deeply and cut once more, twice, a whole series of long cuts. The boxcutter blade ensures very little effort is required, and my light touch means not having to deal with too much blood.

It isn’t a cry for help. I promise. The cuts won’t be seen by anyone else. I’m not trying to kill myself. I just want to know I am still alive.

As the sting settles across my leg, I glance at my pillow. An acceptance letter from the University of North Texas Film School sits there beside me. I’m supposed to be there by now.

Twelve-year old me sits on my sister’s bed. Hands cover her eyes as she sobs, “I saved all year. Great grandmother’s birthday money, only spent half my lunch money every day… Maybe Mom and Dad will pay me back.”

I dab my leg with a tissue; specks of blood come off. Shaking my head, I say, “They never pay you back.”

I slide the tissue from left to right. The sandpaper sensation irritates the cuts, and I wince at the pain.

“Then why do I always give it to them?” fifteen-year old me asks from the end of my bed.

“Why can’t I say no to them?” eighteen-year old me asks beside me.

“I don’t know!”

I cover my mouth and scream.

“Why did I give them all my savings? Thousands just gone,” I cry. “And for what?! An extra six months in this house.”

“They promise you the world,” eighteen-year old me says.

“They promise to protect you,” fifteen-year old me says.

“But… in the end,” twelve-year old me says.

“They break every promise,” six-year old me says.

The sting and irritation of the cuts pushes through my sadness. I grind my teeth and flare my nostrils.

“I’m done with them,” I hiss.

I drop the blade and blow on the cuts between soaking up the blood.

The blood stops, but the scars never quite heal.

 

 

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17 thoughts on “The Blade

  1. Melony, I held my breath through this incredible piece. All the ‘you’s’ through all the years. Hurt and broken promises. No agency. When I was little- seven or eight, I found a pack of razor blades and used them to cut my fingers. I don’t know how often I did it, or even for how long. I’m sure the cuts were tiny- I was tiny, but I remember the feeling of the blade slicing my skin. FEELING.

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    1. Thanks, Nancy! It was a dark time in my life. I still remember that sensation of deliberately cutting and it makes me cringe. I’m glad that period of my life is gone, even if it still haunts me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow Melony… The talking to your younger self works so well in this piece. My heart was in my chest reading it. And the final line pulls it so well together. I don’t have any offerings on how to improve this right now, I just thoroughly felt the feels throughout. Great, great job.

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  3. Oh wow Melony, your pieces never cease to astound me. I found myself literally holding my breath as I read this wondering what was going to happen to all the different ‘yous’. You’ve captured the pain, the hurt, and being let down beautifully. I especially loved how you’ve moved between past and present so seamlessly. Working with young people who self-harm, this hit close to home. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Thanks so much, Sanch! I can’t imagine being categorized as a self-harm victim. That part of my life is so far from who I am today, but the wounds are still as real as ever. Good on you for your contribution to the dark parts of the human psyche! Xoxo

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  4. Really powerful. I think the arc of starting with the youngest self and ending with the youngest self was particularly effective woven into that particular scene of cutting.

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  5. What a powerful story, Melony! I absolutely love the style you’ve used here. Conversations with your younger selves as if you’re all in one room is brilliant!

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