Autumn's Monologue

Disclaimer: I own almost everything, except the name of the title, which is the name of a From Autumn to Ashes song, and the song Poor Thing, which comes from the Degrassi: The Next Generation episode: Shout. As much as I wish I could take credit for it, I can't.

Chapter 1

It was almost 4:30 in the morning, on a school day. As usual, I wasn't asleep. I was sitting at the kitchen table with a single lightbulb on above my head, trying my best to write some new lyrics in my black journal with the skull and crossbones on the front cover. I'd heard somewhere that inspiration often comes in the middle of the night. Apparently not for me. I sighed, scratching my neck. All I'd come up with was:

She takes to her room

She takes out a razor

Slides it down her smooth white throat

Falling into a dark abyss

Falling into a state of bliss

Knowing deep within her heart

she'll never be missed

Not my worst, but come on. How pathetic and "look at me, I'm a depressed gothic chick!" was that? Not saying anything bad against gothic chicks or anything. It's cool, and I sometimes go for the Goth thing myself, but that whole depressed, doom and gloom I-want-attention 24/7 thing was getting old and annoying. Hey, I'm just not much for pity parties. Sue me.

Now was the time for a pity party, though. Normally, when I'm depressed, which, I admit, is quite often, I can just jot down some angry lyrics, go down into the basement, write some chords or something, and play my new song over and over until I feel somewhat human again. Tonight, however, was not one of my better depressed times. I sighed and decided against ripping out the paper and throwing it away. It could still be fixed. I thought about heading down to the basement and messing around on my guitar or keyboard to see if I could get some music to it and save the song. I could always play it over and over when I was in a mood and didn't feel like sneaking out of the house to get high. I can write some melancholy shit when I want to.

I didn't, though. For one, I was abnormally tired. Yeah, duh, you're thinking, it's 4 in the morning, you should be in bed, anyway, idiot. A severe case of insomnia kept me from getting my sleep. As a result, I always felt kind of hollow and detached, like even though I was depressed, I couldn't force myself to care too much about it. Oh yeah, for another, my uncle had just gotten up and was stumbling into the kitchen in his boxers. I had gotten used to the scene and didn't bat an eye or flinch, although just the thought of my uncle... bleh! Anyway, he didn't see me at first, because he'd headed straight for the coffee pot. I watched, amused, as he performed his daily ritual. Puts the water in the pot, spills some on the floor, curses colorfully, sets it back in the little holder. He clumsily dumps some coffee into the coffee maker, gets it all over the counter, curses colorfully again, slaps the lid shut, turns it on, and proceeds to clean up his mess. He is the only man I know that does this. Most men are slobs; my uncle is a complete neat freak. Sometimes it's a pain in the ass how he's always bitching at me to put my plate in the dishwasher or pick up my dirty socks (which I admit are kinda gross to find beside your head when you're lying on the couch) or sweep up that tiny, microscopic piece of dirt on the floor. But hey, my belief is you gotta take the bad with the good. My uncle was also the sweetest, most generous man in the world. Anyone who would let me live with him has to be the sweetest, most generous man in the world.

He finally got done messing with the coffee pot, and went to sit at the kitchen table. He hadn't even seen me sitting there watching him the whole time, so he jumped about a foot in the air when he finally did see me.

"Autumn!" he gasped and caught his breath. "God, girl, you're gonna give me a heart attack one of these days." he said, wrapping his arms around my neck from behind. I managed not to flinch this time. He looked pleased. Normally, every time he so much as touched my shoulder or ruffled my hair, let alone hugged me, I flinched. But I'll get to that later. He looked at me, concern showing in his face now. "Why aren't you asl-?" he stopped himself and sighed. "Insomnia?"

"Yeah." I answered, closing my journal, terrified that one day he would see my bloody, violent, hopeless lyrics and ship me off to therapy.

"You know..." he said, hesitating. "I know that I said I didn't like the idea of you using sleeping pills before, but maybe I should get some on my way back from work today."

"That'd be nice." I said, thinking to myself, Yet another drug for me to get hooked on. "How about Valium?" I smirked. He hated when I made jokes like that.

"No. Try Unisom. That's more than strong enough." he said, smirking right back at me. "You don't need any damn Valium."

"Not for me." I said innocently. "I'm just saying that Valium is worth a lot more on the street than Unisom is." This was the most that I had ever revealed about what I did with my friends and those nights that I came home so late.

"You know what?" he said, mock-threateningly. "Shut up, before I come over there and smack you upside the head." I ignored my stomach clenching at the thought. Easy, Autumn. I told myself. He's only joking. He'd never really hit you.

I forced myself not to shake and answered innocently back, "What? I was gonna split the money with you 50/50. Okay, 60/40." I knew I had him there. He grinned.

"All right, smart ass. I'm gonna get a shower. I'll be back in about five minutes." With that, he left me there in the kitchen. Once he'd left, I laid my head on the table and let myself start shaking now. It's been two years, Autumn... I thought. Aren't you EVER going to forget it and move on?

I closed my eyes, the memories coming back to me in short waves. And they weren't pretty.

********

"AUTUMN! WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?" His voice thundered throughout the house and I huddled on my bed, praying that he would somehow forget where my bedroom was. No such luck He kicked the door open and grabbed me by the hair, lifting me off the bed, and slamming me against the wall.

Before I could get up, he lifted me up by the throat and slapped me, hard. It took everything I had not to scream in pain and terror. I managed to look into his eyes for a split second. They were wild and crazed, but focused and not at all bloodshot. While he DID drink a lot, he didn't really care whether or not he was drunk when he came after me. "What...the FUCK... have I... told you... about leaving your... FUCKING... dirty dishes... in the sink?!!!"

I thought distantly, and realized with a jolt that I had, indeed, forgotten and left them sitting in the sink. Well, now, I was getting my reminder... I thought bitterly. "Dad, I'm sorr-" He didn't give me a chance to finish as he threw me across the room and I landed hard on my stomach, on top of one of my boots. As if that thing being jammed into my ribs wasn't enough, I felt a burning, stinging sensation of the beer bottle breaking on my temple. Then I felt nothing...

***

I lightly touched the thin scar that I knew by heart on my temple. He was dead now. Both he and my mom. I hadn't liked her much more. She was weak, never tried to protect me or leave Dad. They died in a car crash about a year ago. Just as I was about to get sucked away in the foster care system, my uncle offered to let me live with him up in Montreal, Canada. So, my life has gotten much better, but I've never completely healed from it, just like some of my scars will never heal...

Out of nowhere, I opened my journal to a blank page and wrote:

It happens to other people

I chewed on my pen for a minute, and had a sudden burst of inspiration.

It happens to other people

You say "how sad"

You say "poor thing"

But when it's you it's something else

It's everything

Now, THAT was up there among some of my best lyrics, and I wasn't even done yet. I could tell this from the start. I wondered how I could think of lyrics that good when for the past couple of weeks all I'd been able to come up with was razor blade, depressed, mopey, or angry stuff. These lyrics had a certain power. I could feel it. I distantly recalled something I'd read in a book somewhere. You've got to pay your dues to play the blues. I'd shrugged it off, thinking it was some weird old people saying. Now it made sense to me. People that had suffered a lot often showed it in their talents. Someone who'd sung a beautiful solo, danced an awesome ballet, wrote an amazing poem or song, had most likely suffered a lot sometime in their past. I wondered if this could be the case with me. I let myself fall into another brutal memory, this one happened shortly before they died and I moved in with my uncle in Montreal. When my dad threw me down the stairs after a beating because I'd "given him a dirty look". I didn't recall this, but I would have been insane to argue. This event had haunted my nightmares quite a few times.

My eyes snapped open. Nightmares...

You'd never believe the nightmares...

I thought some more and came up with:

You'd never believe the nightmares

You'll never know the pain you caused

You'll never see the scars you left

The things you stole; everything lost!

I would have written more, but my uncle chose that moment to come out in the kitchen. Thankfully, this time he was fully clothed in a sweatshirt and jeans. His damp hair hung over his forehead loosely. "What are you doing?" he said curiously, when I closed my lyrics book with a snap. I couldn't help but smile. He was always dying to know what I did in my free time. Oh, if only you knew... I thought wryly to myself. But I answered him anyway.

"Working on some lyrics." I said vaguely.

"Hey, when are you going to let me hear one of your songs?" he asked. It made me smile again how he was so curious, but always tried to be discreet about it and not pry.

"Whenever I write one that's good enough." I settled on. Inside though, I shuddered at the thought of him hearing one of my girls butchering themselves songs.

"Okay." Obviously, he accepted it and I hid a sigh of relief. I didn't have much time to dwell on my luck as he leaned back against the counter and looked back at me with concern showing on his face. "You really need to get some sleep, Autumn."

I shook my head, despite a yawn that was fighting its way out. "No, I- I'm not-" I lost the battle and the yawn escaped. "-Tired. Look, I'll just stay up all night again and go to school at my regular time. I guess I can sleep when I get home."

"No." he shook his head. "The last thing I need is your principal calling me at work telling me I need to come pick you up because you keep falling asleep in class. Go to bed. You can stay home today." Okay, I couldn't argue with a chance to skip school and not get in trouble. He took me by the arm, and I shut my eyes in reflex, then forced myself to calm down. Geez, Autumn, chill out, he's just being all caring and whatnot. He's NOT going to hit you. He led me over to his room. "Here, you can sleep here. I'm leaving for work in another 20 minutes anyway." He lifted his blanket and I gave in and collapsed on the soft bed, which I swear was calling to my exhausted body. It felt like paradise. He covered me up and squeezed my shoulder. "Sleep good, okay?" He hesitated and then dropped a light kiss on my cheek.

After he left, I buried my face in the pillow in frustration. I didn't know why I couldn't just forget about my dad. I knew that Dad was gone and would never hurt me again. I also knew that my uncle loved me and would never hurt me, period. But these facts didn't do anything to stop the nightmares that left me in a cold sweat every night or stop my fear that one day my uncle WOULD snap and haul off and hit me some day. I know I was a nervous wreck, but what else would I be? I got involved in drugs, petty theft, and parties to escape, to help me focus on something else besides my past and my fears, but all that happened was I got a brief high, I'd do some stupid stuff, and feel like an idiot the next day. Bad karma for me, I guess.

My uncle had tried to convince me to go to a therapist or support group when I came up here, but I flat out refused. Maybe I should have gone, I know it would have helped me, but I just wanted to come up here and start a new life. I wanted things to be... normal. And seeing some shrink everyday, reliving my past when all I wanted was to forget it wasn't going to make things normal. Everyone would feel sorry for me, act like I was some martyr, and that was the last thing I wanted. So I did my best to heal up on my own. And I guess it worked, to an extent. I haven't had a crying fit since before my parents died. As a matter of fact, I haven't cried at all since then. Oh, yeah, I've come close to it, but I always pushed the tears aside or thought of something else. Pretty soon, it was like my tear ducts had frozen and my emotions were void of any true pain. I've been blue, but not to the point where I totally broke down. My uncle expressed concern about this and tried to tell me that bottling it all up isn't good and it'll eventually blow up in my face, but I really don't see why. It kinda shows that I'm a survivor. That I can handle anything. I've tried to explain this to him, but he looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe I am crazy. I don't know or care. What I do know is that I'm not going to a shrink, who will mess me up even worse. I just can't face up to it.

And yet, there's a part of me that knows I'm totally fucked up. I thumb through my bloody lyrics in my skull and crossbones notebook late at night and shudder, thinking, God, Autumn, you really are nuthouse material... I look back at the way I couldn't even give my uncle a hug without thinking he would hurt me. I look back at the dreams. I look at the cuts on my forearm, under the wristbands and the long sleeves, some fading, some fresh, some scars. I look at the stash I have under my bed, and the amount of money I make at night selling coke, acid, E, etc... and most importantly, I look at the fact that my uncle has no clue or suspicion of any of this. And I wonder if I wouldn't be better off locked up in a psych ward.

I've tried to stop. I gave up my old punk/Gothic look I'd been so crazy about before, in favor of girlie, preppie clothes. Like khaki skirts and pants, tight, dark jeans with a light blue wash, my denim skirt that reached lower thigh, cute, tight T-shirts, preppie corduroy purses, and cute sneakers. Stuff that I used to make fun of and refuse to be caught dead in only a couple of months before. Right now I was wearing yesterday's clothes: a pair of white cargo pants, a tight baby blue Aeropostale T- shirt, and a matching wristband to cover the noticeable cuts on my arm. I just want to be normal so bad. I dress cute and girlie now to cheer myself up. To hide the pain that's still lurking. Maybe if I can fool other people into thinking I'm happy, I can fool myself. But it's not working. As hard as I try, the girlie clothes don't make me feel normal. They don't make me forget anything. And I just want to forget everything...

I hate the lies and secrets. I hate betraying my uncle, who's been so good to me and always been there for me. I hate the freaky lyrics I write. I hate the numb feeling I get after the high burns out. I hate the razor cuts on my arms, and I hate the fact that I can't stop making them. I hate everything now.

I looked over at the clock. It was almost 5:30. My uncle liked to leave early. I opened the bedroom door a crack. He was nowhere to be found and when I looked out he window, his car was gone. I sighed in relief and quickly shut myself into the bathroom.

I opened my drawer under the sink, and stopped when I saw my face. Geez, was that really me? My vivid blue eyes, once so bright and full of life, were almost dull and dead looking. They were framed by dark circles and weighted down with sleep. My nose was okay, short and straight, not cute, not ugly. My already full pink lips were red and swollen from trying to sleep. They were pulled down into almost a frown. My cheekbones and chin stuck out sharply, another reminder of how much weight I'd been losing, with no pink tinge on the cheeks. The pale, almost colorless face staring back at me was framed by long, normally straight light brown hair. The hair was a wreck from tossing and turning in bed, and eventually giving up. I stared at this face numbly for almost five minutes straight. It was like looking into the eyes of a stranger. I couldn't read my emotions, or even feel them.

I dug through my drawer and pulled out my razor. I slid to the floor with a washcloth and band-aid in my other hand. I set them down, pulled down my wristband and picked a bare spot to cut. I closed my eyes.

It stung like hell when I slid the razor through and immediately started bleeding. But it was a rush, and unbelievable rush. For once, I felt in control and my emotional pain was temporarily gone. Then, I realized I was about to get blood on my uncle's bathroom mat, so I held the already bloodstained washcloth against my arm and closed my eyes, leaning back, exhaling slowly and deeply.

For once, I'd forgotten everything except that moment. And it felt good.

***

So, how did you like Autumn's Monologue so far? I'm gonna write more, cuz honestly I don't care about reviews. But they are nice! So please review!!!