Part Two. 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 Two
I didn’t wake up, not for a while anyway. My alarm clock says its 5:03pm but that can’t be right. I feel weak, dazed, I’m not even sure what day it is right now. I’ve made a mess of myself—that much I know—but it takes me a minute to muster up the strength to see how bad it really is. Bracing myself, I glance down. I’m impressed and at the same time sickened by the amount of blood I’m lying in. Stretching my right hand out I look at the dried streaks of blood across my fingers and palm. I wonder how I managed to get so much blood on this arm.
I try pulling my left arm out from under the covers to get a look at what I’ve done, but I can hardly move it. The blood has dried overnight and now my arm is bound to the blanket like it’s been glued there. I hold my breath and tell myself it’s just like ripping off a Band-Aid. I tug at the blanket but it just pulls on the grooves of the cuts and makes my arm sting so bad my eyes start to water. The pain begs me to give up so I leave my arm stuck to the blanket and drop back into bed.
My head is pounding, telling me I’ve had too much to drink again. I try to work up an ounce of saliva but my mouth is so dry that my tongue feels like it’s a piece of leather.
I groan and close my eyes.
How will I hide this from everyone at work? The short sleeved shirt I have to wear isn’t going to leave a lot to the imagination. My colleagues will ask after me but my roommate, Kade, he won’t. He’s too wrapped up in his own life to bat an eye at mine. He’s probably still in bed too, but with his girlfriend, while I lie here with my blood for company. With that in mind I yank my arm back and pry it free from the clutches of the blanket. The pain comes screaming back like I’ve stripped the skin right off my arm but anger keeps me from caring.
Maybe it sounds like I’m jealous Kade has a girlfriend when I don’t, but believe me that’s not it. Just, since he started going out with Katie he hasn’t had a lot of time for me and I guess I miss him. Since I met Kade in the eighth grade he’s been like a brother to me. My time in High School was—not unlike life at home—Hell. I was a bit of a weird kid back then and I chalk that up to having next to no social skills. Having no social skills meant I had no friends, but I’d always been a social outcast, even throughout Primary School. When I got to High School though, things became so much worse. I was the weird loner kid and I became a target for bullying and the punching bag of our School. But Kade, he wasn’t like any of the other kids, he stood up for me when they’d try to put me down and he defended me when someone would try to beat me up. Since the day we became friends he’s always been there for me.
My home was never the safe haven it should have been. Honestly, before I met Kade I couldn’t tell you if being at School was any worse than being at home. My Dad packed up and left when I was ten, didn’t get so much as a wave goodbye, just came home from School one day and he was gone. Two years later my brother, Blake, he ran away from home and I didn’t get a goodbye from him either. He left me a letter but it took me four months before I could push aside my anger and read it. When I finally did read it I wished that I hadn’t. As for my Mum, I don’t know that I can bring myself to talk about her. She was a drinker and I think that’s mostly what drove my Dad away. He didn’t even know the half of it though, he couldn’t have known, because if he’d known he wouldn’t have left us with her.
For a long time all I’ve had is loose threads of relationships with people. Kade is really all I have in the way of friends or family these days, filling both roles must be a big job for him. I know I’m too clingy and I know I’m not the only person in his life but I miss having him around. When we moved in here at the start of the year I finally had a place to live that felt like a home. Now, Kade’s not here a lot of the time and when he is here Katie’s by his side. Things just aren’t how they used to be.
Checking my phone I see there are no messages or missed calls, no one notices. I could drop off the face of the Earth and no one would notice. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s not like I threw the party last night, that was Kade’s idea, it’s always Kade’s idea. I wonder if I did commit suicide, right here in my room, how long would it take for Kade to notice? I think three days, maybe four. Is that sad, that it would take that long for your roommate to notice you’re stinkin’ up the joint?
My head still feels foggy so I draw in a deep breath and take it slow as I sit up in bed. There’s so much blood it’s a wonder I woke up at all. My feet hit the floorboards and I glance around looking for a bath towel—need to wash last night clean off me. I bring myself to a stand, stagger left and right, but I can’t get my balance. I lose my footing and go flying straight through the open door of my wardrobe. The wall behind me cracks as I stumble into it and then I meet the floor with a thud. As I sit there the clothes that I’d bothered to fit on a hanger fall one after another on top of me. I’ve landed on something sharp and it’s jabbing me in the ass but I’m too dazed to do anything about it in a hurry.
I stretch out my hand and try to make a fist but my fingertips can’t even reach my palm. Feel so weak. I look a mess, I feel a mess, I don’t know what to do with myself anymore. Probably better off just ending it all now, it’d be better for everyone. There used to be a reason why I’d never go through with it, but now, I can’t remember what it was. My thinking only gets worse as the days draw on.
I try again to make a fist, this time my fingers close in and touch the palm of my hand. I decide that means I’m okay and with one great heave I edge my way out of the wardrobe. Turning back, I feel along the floor of the wardrobe in search of what I’d been sitting on. I reach under one of my shirts and my fingers curl around the neck of a dusty bottle of Jack Daniel’s. There’s a brief second where I get my hopes up thinking I’ve uncovered an old stash—the silver lining to nearly bleeding to death—but its empty so I toss it back on the floor. I push the clothes that remained on a hanger to the side giving me a clear view of the crack I’ve left in the wall. I stare blankly at it for a minute as I think how the Real Estate’s gunna’ have my ass for that one.
A knock sounds at my bedroom door. It’s Kade asking after the thunderous clap he’s heard in my room. I tell him I’m alright, that I’m getting dressed and tripped over. It sounds like something I’d do but I know if he fed me that lame excuse I’d be busting open his bedroom door.
He laughs and walks away.
But then again, we don’t think alike. A part of me hates that and a part of me breathes a sigh of relief. Sometimes, I want someone to know the state I’m in, that I’m two threads away from throwing myself off the edge of a cliff. But on the other hand I’d swallow my heart whole if he came barging in here and saw the blood I’d slept in last night.
I gather up a few things as I crawl across the floor and return the misplaced items to the drawer in my bedside table. For a minute I stop to look over the photograph of me with my brother Blake. I sit back, looking over his ridiculous grin, his arm slung over my shoulders, it makes me ache to look at it now. I begin to think back and I don’t wanna’ do that, my heads messed up enough as it is. I bury it beneath the mounds of rubbish within the drawer and force myself not to think about him.
Hunching over, I fumble under my bed and reach for the flick knife. It’s stained with blood but it’s not for the first time. I give it a wipe over my jeans and toss it back to the drawer, I’ll clean it another time.
Yes arm, I know you’re stinging. I turn my gaze to the deep cuts and run a finger down them, there’s matted pieces of fluff caught in them, I’ll have to pick that out in the shower. Shower, that’s where I was heading. It’s not so easy now that I know Kade is up and about, I don’t wanna’ risk running into him. But maybe he’s not up, maybe he only surfaced because of my clanging and banging. I’ll just throw a hoodie on, that should cover me up okay. I grab a hoodie on my way to the door, reach for the handle and then hold back hearing Kade’s voice.
“Be back in halvers Henry,” he says.
I step back from the door quietly until I reach the middle of the room.
“Where are you going?” I call back to him.
“I’m just taking Katie home,” he says.
I swallow hard and drop my hoodie to the floor. I can’t voice a response but Kade doesn’t wait for one. The front door slams shut and soon after I hear the rumble of Kade’s car in the driveway. I stand in my room and wait until I’m sure they’re gone and won’t be coming back. After a few minutes of silence I open up my bedroom door and make my way to the bathroom. Really needa’ shower. I cup my hand to my pounding head, give the bathroom door a shove and let it crawl to a close behind me.
I stop dead seeing what’s staring back at me. It didn’t look half as bad when I couldn’t see my reflection. I look like I’ve rolled around in some barbed wire and then swam through a pool of glass. I should be on antidepressants, antipsychotics, hospitalised, something.
The blood is everywhere, I mean everywhere. I thought my bed had soaked up most of it but I’ve mopped it up just as well. It’s all through my hair and matted together in these stringy bloody clumps. There’s a smear across my cheek and over my nose. There’s almost as much on my right arm as there is on my left.
I turn away from the mirror and close my eyes for a moment. I need a minute. I draw in a ragged breath and lock the bathroom door, I really don’t want anyone to see me like this. I try to steady my trembling hand as I draw back the shower curtain. I feel sick. My stomach’s learning gymnastics and just mastered the back flip. I blast on the taps and wave my hand back and forward through the stream of water.
I’m absolutely fucked up, one hundred percent fucked up. No wonder I don’t have friends, or family, who could love someone like this?
I step into the shower and as the running water hits my clothing the sound has me thinking my body is hollow. If it were hollow, it would explain why I always feel so empty inside. I lean against the shower wall feeling too weak to hold myself up. I draw in a ragged breath and wait for my hazy vision to clear, I give it a second but it doesn’t go away so I sit down instead. I bring my knees to my chest, fold my arms around my legs and sit curled up in the corner of the shower. I close my eyes and find myself muttering the same thing over and over, that I’m fucked up, that I want to die, I say it over and over again.