All You Wanted

I cannot be what you want.

It is this thought that wakes me, that draws me from a fitful sleep in sweat-dampened sheets, that pulls me down the hall. My eyes are closed still, shut tightly against what will come next. I am safer this way. The real monsters do not invade my dreams. The real monsters haunt only during consciousness.

But it doesn’t matter if my eyes are closed or not. I know this route too well. I know that tonight will be like all the nights before.

My fingers are shaking as they close around the pewter doorknob, twisting it open. I slip inside. It is just a whisper of a movement made by a whisper of a girl. The door closes silently behind me. I am good at this, at being silent. I am good at not being heard.

It is dark outside still, the moon just a sliver of light slicing its way through the velvet sky. I make sure the door is locked, then check again, before dropping to my knees. My eyelids flutter closed as I kneel next to the porcelain bowl, my slender fingers wrapping around its cold sides. I know this feeling all too well, the steps of this pattern I have chosen. I feel the bile rising, acid in my throat, the taste of copper on my tongue. I lean forward, letting all that is wrong with me spill out. It is strangely satisfying, this measure of control, and it is what I crave most.

And now, as I sit back, I am empty, empty and cold and shaking with silent tears that drip down sunken cheeks. I am drowning in these tears, and I need someone to save me, to pull me out and help me dry. Because I cannot do it myself.

But I manage to stand, to pull myself up on unsteady legs, to lean against the sink and stare at the girl in the mirror. I already know what I will see. I have memorized the contours of my face, I have counted the ribs that protrude from pale pink skin, I have felt a twisted pleasure as I documented this self-destruction.

The girl there, waiting, does not disappoint. She is who I expected she would be. I know her. I can rely on her; she will not change. She will keep this little secret of mine, this bitter mix of blood and bile and anger and fractured hope, for as long as I ask her to. And it is not something I will give up willingly.

No, I cannot be what you want.

But I will kill myself trying.

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Lindsay T
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