Nobody ever told me that when you cut into your own skin, you could actually hear the blade racing its’ path inside your head. Mind you, anyone that could’ve told me that probably wouldn’t be too apt to share it either. More often than not, they’ve already done what I’m too afraid to do. They’ve already made the most fatal cut.
Today, I’m sitting on the edge of my bathtub, working an impressive cut on the inside of my right inner thigh. Yesterday it was the soft spot of skin on the inside of my right arm near my armpit. I chose these places so that when I wear short sleeves or shorts, no one will see my scars.
My leg seems to bleed more than the cut on my arm and I’m careful to not leave a drop of what I’m doing on the carpets, on the light coloured towels and whatever else I use to staunch the flow of my blood. I am fascinated by the colour as I try to make my body’s scars match the way that I feel I look on the inside.
Up until a couple days ago, I had never thought about doing something like this. Up until a couple days ago, I thought I had my head together enough to not let myself get to this point. Up until a couple of days ago, I never thought that the pain I am inflicting on myself could so easily overshadow the thoughts that have been tormenting me for so long.
Yesterday, I made the first cut and it felt like sweet release. Today’s cut feels euphoric. I feel as though I am finally emptying the sickness inside of me and I am sending it down a literal and proverbial drain. I let my mind wander, but it doesn’t wander far from the blood pumping through my veins.
_____ _____ _____
I’ve seen in movies and read in books about how they used to use leeches to drain the poison and illness out of the sick and dying. The thought of a leech touching my skin still makes my skin crawl because it reminds me of the time I found a few on my legs after swimming in the lake in my hometown.
Initially, I could only watch as the little fuckers pulsed on my skin. I couldn’t really feel anything except the absence of the breeze hitting the parts of my wet legs they covered. I was fascinated as they blatantly stole something that clearly belonged to me. In my head, I could hear them slurping at my life essence. I could clearly hear them gulping down my soul.
Quickly, my fascination turned to revulsion as I swiped at them. A voice popped into my head telling me I was supposed to use salt to disengage them from their violation of my body but I couldn’t for the life of me remember why that would even matter.
My imagination had me walking the two blocks back to my house for salt, the little bloodsuckers growing increasingly heavy as they drained me. Just before I could get up my front doorstep, I saw myself collapsing. An empty husk on the front lawn as the little bastards crawled away the size of German shepherds, no doubt off to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting populace.
I removed them quickly. Minimizing my contact with them for fear that I would sweep them off my legs only to have them attach their little suckling mouths to my hands or even worse to the veins in my wrist.
As they fell to the sand from my legs, I wanted to stomp on them. I wanted to destroy them for what they had done to me. But I didn’t. I had made the trek from my house to the lake in my bare feet and without a shoe as a barrier between me and the now fully engorged leeches, there would be no vengeance from me. Instead, I settled for burying them in the sand much like the last rite for a stolen part of me.
_____ _____ _____
So now I sit here bleeding on the edge of my bathtub. Draining myself of some imagined toxicity that I pretend to believe is coursing through my veins. Watching as my blood pumps out in time to the heartbeat that I hear pulsing into my head.
I smile half drunk and light headed and giggle to myself as I realize that I may have bled myself a little too much. I begin to swoon from my perch on the lip of the bathtub and I attempt to will myself aware of the danger that I have put myself into. I envision the adrenaline that would normally rouse me into coherence and drive me to action pumping out of the cut in my leg.
The flow of time seems to go at quarter speed as I sail, in a manner that I can only perceive as gently, backwards from the lip of the bathtub. For a moment, I’m doing a lazy backstroke down the length of a warm and welcoming pool and I sigh as the rim of the toilet bowl gently cushions my fall. I’m pretty sure I feel a vertebrae click or pop or snap and I crumple to the floor.
My bleeding leg hovers in the air for a moment and I can see the force with which my blood is pumping out as it starts to spread on and around me. Realization hits me like a freight train and I finally understand that I’ve cut my femoral artery.
My mortality is a secondary concern as a lazy half smile spreads across my face.
With my last conscious breath I sigh, “Fucking amateur.”