-------I caught you looking at my hand. It made me sad and I walked away, but I could still feel your eyes following me. Later, when other things were going on, you pulled me into your bedroom, shutting the door, and I wondered if you had waited on purpose, had planned this so that it would be a time when we could slip away unnoticed. You held my hand - not tightly, but with a grip strong enough so that I knew you wouldn't let me pull away even if I tried - palm up and facing you so you could see it. Saying nothing you just looked at me, sadly, as if I had hurt you on purpose. Then you motioned to my watch on the same arm, and I sighed. You let go. I unclasped it and lifted a corner of the toilet paper that had been covering the skin. I bit my lips nervously. "It's stuck," I mumbled and as if it wasn't obvious, added "To the wound." I swallowed. "Don't look, okay?" My gaze pleaded with you as I asked, wanting desperately to hide you from this, protect you from my reality, and I turned my body away from yours. But even then I knew you were watching my face out of the corner of your eye, so I willed myself not to grimace as I hurriedly yanked the paper off. It reopened both cuts, instantly making them seep bright red drops of blood upon my pale skin. Slowly I stretched only my arm out towards your direction in shame, keeping my face still and my feet planted in the opposite direction as if that could seal my heart from you, the rest of me unmoving as I struggled to breathe. I heard you move toward me, softly and yet with purpose, coming to inspect the self-inflicted damage. I expected you to say something, to scold me, to get angry, to cry, something. But instead you walked into the bathroom as I stood there alone. For only a fraction of a second, I felt like finally, this was it, finally you would leave me like I had always known you would, because I was sure there was no way you could love me anymore after I had failed time and time again. But then suddenly you were back before me with antiseptic wipes and a band aide. Filling up the whole of my vision, you gently fussed over me like the nurse you used to be, at another time, in another life. When you had crumpled the band aid wrapper in your fist you gave me a look that questioned, "Any more?" And when I couldn't answer, you took charge and tenderly rolled up my sleeves, first one, and next the other, until the ugly truth was staring you in the face. That's when I began to cry. You let me fall into your arms and we sat there on the floor of your room as time slipped quietly by to the sound of my dripping tears and your voice, your voice which said only one sentence, "It won't always be this way." And I tried to believe you. Honest. I really wanted to. But even though I could feel your lungs take in air, could smell your perfume in your hair and hear the swish of fabric as your hands crossed my back, all I could think about was how very far away you were…

-------It has been a bad day. A very bad day. Saying that reminds me of the title of one of my favorite books as a child called "A terrible horrible no-good very bad day" and yet even that doesn't do this day any justice. But I want to be good. I desperately want to give you a reason to be proud of me. I want you to trust me. So I stay in plain sight, force myself to not be clingy or say anything suspicious. I laugh just enough – but not too much as to sound nervous - and keep the subject light. I spend more time with Hannah than in your presence and don't even go into the room with the piano. I convince myself that everything will fade away, that it is not nearly as horrible as it seems. But then the night comes, and I see the truth instead of a lie that tells me I fit in your world, in your life, in your heart. I step into the shower, desperate to keep myself from doing anything that would hurt you. But the water keeps getting hotter and I can't stop it. Soon I lay on the bottom of the floor as the water burns across my back and the air fills thick with steam. I want to cry. The heat from the shower does nothing but remind me of how cold I am inside and yet I can't turn it off. I cannot move. I cannot breathe. I don't know how, but the water turns off suddenly and a wisp of cold air flies through the open door before it shuts and comes to me past the curtain that has been pulled back. I didn't hear you come in. My heart constricts. I don't want you here. I want you to go away. I don't want you to see me like this, to know how close I am to doing something. But I cannot move. I cannot breathe. I cannot even open my eyes. We stay there like that for a minute, both of us silent and still, as if frozen in a moment of time. I hear the droplets of water plop from the faucet and off my skin with an eerie echo that I have never noticed before. I can feel my skin grow cold, a sharp contrast from the rinse of the hot water, and I know that soon I will begin to shake. Suddenly air enters my lungs and I take a great big gasp, flinging my head up in the process as if someone has shocked my heart back into beating. I did not even realized I had stopped doing so, but my breathing is now rushed and shallow as if I am having an asthma attack or have been holding my breath for a long time. Sometimes I think I have been holding my breath for years because every time I try to breathe in I end up choking on this dark soot called my life. I can taste it now, black and thick, cold and coppery in the crevasse of my mouth. No amount of brushing or rinsing has ever gotten rid of it. Sometimes I am afraid it will never go away and that I will die with this being the last sense of life I ever have. It makes me want to die just to get it over and done with. I finally dare to look over at you, trying to at least cover the scars on my bare shoulders, ashamed of my naked body. Saying nothing, you stare into my eyes long and hard, but still with a love that I cannot hope to understand. Then you pass me a towel, a deep yet silent conversation having passed between us within only a few seconds, and next you nod and step outside, closing the door behind you as I immerse myself in the scent of the towel and attempt to gather myself back together after being rescued. But I know being rescued is not the hard part, it is the struggle to make yourself whole again; something that I wonder is even possible because I'm not sure I have ever been whole to begin with…

-------"Why?!" I shout in anguish, tearing away from you. "Why am I so scared all the time? Why am I always so angry? Why am I stuck here? Why can't I stop myself? Why am I so fucked up that I can't make it right? Why does everything hurt so much? WHY?!" I pound my fists into the tile in a fury, over and over again blindingly fast. A red haze comes over my eyes and I don't understand. I don't understand. I can't see what's happening, I can't make anything stop. All I feel is my hands crushing against the force of the blows and they don't even hurt. You fly at me, placing yourself right inside the danger zone, but I can't see you. I can't feel you put yourself in-between me and the wall. I can't hear you screaming for me to stop. I can't feel you struggling so hard to restrain me. I can't even feel myself hitting you. I can't feel myself hitting you until it's too late! and the damage is already done as my eyes open to see you pressed with a pain-stricken face against the wall in front of me, my fingers bleeding across your chest and I am crumpling onto the floor because my legs refuse to hold me anymore, clutching so tight to your clothes I have unknowingly grabbed skin. I want to say I'm sorry, I want to beg for your forgiveness, I want to run away, I want to kill myself for hurting you. But the only thing that comes out of my mouth is a wordless scream…