Part One. Stepping inside the mind of an adolescent man suffering from severe depression as he struggles to cope with life after living through an abusive childhood. Warning: The content of this story is graphic and may upset or offend some readers.
Close Your Eyes — Part One
Look at me sitting here, lips parted, eyes staring vacantly, at what? Nothing. Someone falls onto the couch beside me, who? Don’t care. I blink, draw in a deep breath, blink again and then let my eyes rest for a moment. I imagine if I didn’t open my eyes again, I imagine how good it would be.
As I sit here brooding, the pain I’m in begins to show through as an angered rash works its way up my neck. The tears begin rolling down my cheeks and my nose starts to drip. I sniff as the tears collect at my chin but I don’t raise my hand to wipe them away, I couldn’t care less where they fall. My chin wrinkles with the turning of my thoughts, my chest tightens and the tears begin to stream. As much as I don’t want to look back it’s the only place my mind wants to go.
I’ve become entrapped here, in this couch, in its pull—or maybe it’s the bottle of Jameson keeping me here? If I can get myself to think about it I know it’s the explanation that makes more sense.
Henry, just close your eyes.
I should listen to the voice, but I never do. I take a good look around the room and see everything the voice knew I’d see. All these people, drinking, laughing, doing things that normal people do, it’s all so easy for them. I hate it. I hate that I’m different.
I shudder, I sob.
Now someone sees, they only ever see me when it’s too late. They block my view of the room as they lean over, hands to their knees, their head in my line of sight. I know what they’re asking but an answer never fails to elude me.
Then, yes, a sudden impulse brings me from the couch. How long had I been sitting there, hours? I don’t even recognise half of the people in my house anymore. Get through half a bottle of Jameson and you don’t care about the Who, What’s and Where’s anymore.
I feel my head being pulled into the whirling vortex as the room spins around once, twice. I have to close my eyes. I hadn’t moved from that couch since my lips touched the rim of that bottle, now that I’ve found my feet the alcohol finally hits me.
“Where are you going?” It’s what someone asks me.
It’s my house, shouldn’t I go wherever I please? I won’t answer them, can’t answer them. I steady myself and open my eyes. Leading with my left foot I tell the right to follow but it’s a hard task as my upper body doesn’t want to follow with the lower half. Stumbling, staggering, I take it slow and focus solely on putting one foot in front of the other as I carry myself to my bedroom.
Slam goes the door. I flung it back hard and in the face of the person asking after me, I shrug and think it will keep them at bay. Face plant into my bed, that’s what I want to do but the moment my head hits that pillow I know it will be the last thing I do for the night. I go through the drawer of my desk, then my wardrobe, rummaging, searching. I sit on the edge of the bed and pull open the first drawer of my bedside table. I continue my search and toss papers, rubbish, a book, my wallet, everything out the way until my fingers feel metal at their tips. My hand closes around the pocket knife and I pull it out from the dark reaches of the drawer.
Flick, the blade flies out.
Put it down Henry, put it down and go to sleep.
But I want to sleep in my own blood.
You don’t need to go back to this.
I kick off my shoes, climb under the blankets and get comfortable. My hands begin trembling at the thought of what I’m about to do but I know there’s no need to be nervous, it’s nothing I haven’t done before. Cutting myself, making myself bleed, it’s something I used to do for a release. I needed a way to escape, a way to let out what I was keeping locked up inside, this was how I did it. It’s not something I’ve done in a long time but it’s not something I’ve ever stopped thinking about. When I bleed, I feel high, I feel free, it’s a completely intoxicating sensation and one that’s unbearably hard to let go of.
Even though this looks and feels familiar it’s not like all the other times, my head isn’t in the same place as it was back then. I’m sitting here with the tip of this blade itching to break the surface of my skin but this time it’s not about needing a release. I see my house filled with people, some I recognise and some I don’t, but they all feel like strangers to me—I feel like a stranger to me. I didn’t wake up one day and realise I’d lost my grip on reality, it wasn’t something that happened overnight. It’s more like I’ve had a puncture in my brain and for the past few years it’s been slowly leaking like an egg with a cracked shell. Now, I’m left with this scrambled mess in place of a functioning mind.
I grimace and grit my teeth as I dig the tip of the blade to my forearm. My heart pounds against my chest and suddenly I feel sober. Slowly, I draw the blade down, down, down as far as I can. I can feel the pain but it’s not bad and it’s not enough to take me where I want to go. I draw in a ragged breath and blink hard to clear my vision from the clinging tears. I watch as blood forms in lumps over the cut I’ve just made, it clots together and then rolls down my arm. I envision taking the blade and jabbing it at my arm, stab-stab-stab. I imagine crying and wailing, telling myself to stop but not being able to all the same. If only I had the guts.
I gulp at the air and close my eyes as I dig the tip of the blade into my arm. I draw the knife towards me and keep applying more and more pressure on the tip, making the cut as deep as I can handle. A yelp escapes my lips as the blade hits something—a nerve, a tendon? I’m not sure, but whatever it was stung enough to get me to pull back. Then anger hits, just like that.
The pain is sharp and the blood pours out fast. I double over, panting for air, crying, shuddering and wondering why being in pain makes me feel so good. I lie back in bed and draw in a few deep calming breaths. My mind begins to clear of thoughts as the black haze welcomes me in. I let the knife fall to the floor, sniff, wipe my nose and then realise my hand has become covered in blood too. I lean over and switch off the lamp but light still hangs in my room through the window. I haven’t closed my curtains but I don’t have the will to get up and do it now.
I sink back into my pillows, roll to my side and cradle my arm. Last time the blood oozed from the cuts with the guts of a dripping tap. This time is different, either the wounds are deeper or the alcohol has thinned out my blood. It’s streaming from the cuts, pouring down my arm and making a Hell of a mess of my bed.
I go to cry again but the black haze calms me and serenity washes over me with the release of my demons. I’m fading quickly, I close my eyes and wonder if it will be for the last time. I don’t care either way, wake up, don’t, I don’t care anymore.
Read part two here