This young lady, Liana Daniels, is haunting my thoughts again. She’s talking about her sisters and her father, and about trying to please everyone and be the family cheerleader.
And how she almost lost herself in the process.
#52weeks52stories: Week 39
Word prompt: cutting
Word count – 535
Reading time – 2 mins, 4 secs
Knowing her father would be at a job site and her two sisters still in class, Liana Daniels skipped her sixth period chemistry class and rushed home and straight to her bedroom.
Taking the shoe box from the back of her closet, Liana sat on the floor and stared at it. She knew even wanting to do this meant she had emotional problems. There wasn’t much on the subject of self-harm at the library, but Liana vividly remembered two phrases — personality disorder… and schizophrenia.
Suddenly angry, Liana ripped the top off the shoe box. She wasn’t crazy… she wasn’t! She just didn’t understand why her family had to suffer so. Why did her mother go away? How could she leave her daughters? And her dad… even when they managed to all have fun and laugh together, she could still feel his sadness.
She thought the family might get some relief from Sophia, her rigid rules, and need to control when she went off to college. But Sophia came home most weekends… and sometimes popped in during the week. Reina was acting out and getting into trouble all over Granger, and Neema was painfully shy and withdrawn.
She couldn’t add to her father’s growing list of problems with his girls. He needed her to be strong.
Feeling tears burning in the corner of her eyes, Liana removed the single-edge razor blade from the shoe box. Without hesitation, she slipped off the cardboard sleeve, held out her left arm and in a slow, deliberate motion, made a two-inch cut.
Liana didn’t cut too deep, yet she was amazed at the amount of blood… and how she felt! Expecting the burn or sting of pain, she instead felt relief… and euphoria! Making another cut right next to the first, she leaned her head back and closed her eyes. Gone were the jumbled thoughts and the near panic. Gone were the feelings of guilt and doubt. It was as though a suffocating fog had cleared allowing her to breathe again.
Ten minutes later, feeling light and refreshed, Liana used the gauze and antiseptic she’d also placed in the shoe box to clean her cuts. When she finished, the cuts appeared to be two faint scratches on her arm. Satisfied, Liana wrapped the used razor blade and bloody gauze in a piece of clean gauze and put the tiny bundle in a small brown paper bag.
She returned the shoe box and its contents to the back of her closet and slipped the small bag into her coat pocket. She would have to throw it away on the way to school tomorrow.
Relaxed for the first time in days, Liana stretched out across her bed. The books she’d read were wrong. What she had done wasn’t wrong. She hadn’t used drugs or hurt anyone. She had not caused five minutes’ worth of trouble. And she was not crazy. Liana knew she just needed a little relief… a temporary crutch to get by. She didn’t plan to make cutting a regular thing or do it forever. Just until her family was happy again.
Just until she was happy again.
A few short minutes later, still thinking about her family, Liana fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
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