Cutter

Jacquelyn.

I was distressed.

A vast pit of despair was enveloping my mind.

I could tell you what was troubling me, but that doesn't matter. What matters is how I dealt with it.

I asked the teacher if I could please use the restroom.

My petite body quivered as I walked silently down the corridor.

I stopped by my locker first and grabbed the black handbag with a large silver clasp and an undersized handle that I could just barley fit my small hand through.

I crashed into a bathroom stall and at last let the tears flow. I stared with watery, blurry vision at the black bag. I pulled the handle, which doubled as a zipper and undid the clasp.

Then pulled out the Exacto Knife.

I had stolen it from the Tech wing after the teacher left the classroom to go and find a boy who had apparently ditched class. Everyone else was chatting excitedly and I just got up silently and slipped past them without attracting any attention.

I'm pretty good at that- not getting noticed.

Then I walked up to the supplies desk and snatched one out of the container.

It was that easy.

I had studied the blade wondrously; it was triangular and pristine, like a fountain pen; except sharper; dangerous.

I once again marveled at how perfect the blade was, and I was calmed just by its presence.

Then I pulled up my right sleeve.

I would have cut the left arm, because I'm right handed; except there isn't any more room on my left arm. I'll have to wait until some of the cuts heal.

So I stared at my right arm; covered in angry red marks, fading pink ones, and white ones that were only past memories.

I pressed the blade lightly against my porcelain white skin, so incredibly pale because they hadn't seen sunlight in years (seeing as I always had to wear long sleeves).

Then I pushed the knife down hard with my trembling hand and pulled.

And as the blood flowed from my body, so did my pain, fear, anger and anxiety. Relief flooded me and the pain of the knife was only a minor side effect, barley noticed.

The pain was so real, so easy that compared to everything else it was so simple.

And yet, even though I was relieved; my crying grew more ragged and desperate.

I cut a few more times, and by the end I had five new painted lines to add to the story of the girl who drew them.

I wiped away the blood with a gauze pad, and used disinfectant from the bag to wash out my wounds.

I breathed in a sigh of relief and closed my supplies back in there special bag. I took one last look at the scars, both cursed and beautiful and then I left the bathroom.

/

A week later my friend Ivey and I were walking down the locker hall, laughing about the rumor going around that Tina Miller tried to seduce Mr. Duncan- our history teacher.

Then she waved a piece of stray paper in front of her face and exclaimed melodramatically that she was going to die of heat-stroke.

"I mean seriously Jacquelyn," she complained "do they even turn on the air conditioning in here?"

I shrugged and immediately agreed that it was stifling hot.

"Then why don't you take off your arm-warmers?" Ivey asked curiously. "I mean your always either wearing a jacket, arm-warmers or long-sleeves. Do you have like… poor circulation or something?"

I shrugged and tried not to sound nervous "I just get cold easily."

"But you just said you were hot." she countered pointedly.

"Yeah well…" I didn't really know what to say.

Suddenly Ivey gasped and stopped walking "Oh my god!" she shrieked "I know what's going on!" My heart sank quickly and butterflies let loose in my stomach.

I waited for her to continue.

"Jacquelyn! Your anorexic!" she screamed, causing several people in the hallway to turn and look at us.

"Shhhhhh!" I whisper screamed, pulling her closer to me so no one else could hear "Would you shut up? I'm not anorexic!" But my friend failed to be convinced.

"You're lying!" she said, this time quieter "You were only lying about being hot to throw off suspicion, but you actually get cold all the time because you haven't been eating." She paused and thought "And that's why your so small!" she added, gesturing towards my thin body.

I looked at Ivey angrily "Don't say that!" I said, looking self-consciously at my body "I'm not that small!"

My friend seemed to realize she had offended me and she finally shut-up.

"I'm not anorexic." I repeated, wondering if she would believe me this time. "Then what is it?" she asked, not unkindly.

I sighed and shook my head, pulling my arm-warmers down further and crossing my arms.

Now something you should know about my friend is that she notices everything, she always knows when something's wrong and she always sees signs. The thing is she just usually interprets them wrong.

And she noticed how I was trying to avoid bringing attention to my arms.

"Let me see them." Ivey said immediately, knowing I didn't need her to explain what she was referring to.

Starting to panic I tried to think of something to say to distract her.

"Uhhh… why?" I asked, trying to buy time.

"Because, I know what's happening here."

Once again I waited, fearing she had figured me out.

"Your abused." She said simply and sadly "And you're trying to hide the bruises."

I groaned, wondering how she came up with all these outlandish ideas.

"I'm not abused!" I said exasperated.

"The why can't I see your arms?"

Finally we were in the locker room and we set our stuff down getting ready to change.

Usually, I was able to slip to a secluded corner and get changed really quickly with my back turned, so no one ever saw my scars. But now my friend was watching me closely.

There was no avoiding it. I was just about to try and explain when she suddenly grabbed my arm and yanked down my sleeve. Thankfully everyone was already changed and had left so no one else saw except my other friends Lindsay and Laurie.

Lindsay gasped and covered her mouth with her hand, Ivey just stared wide eyed and opened mouthed. Laurie bit her lip and looked away.

I tried to shove my sleeve back down, but Ivey was stronger and wouldn't let me.

"Jacquelyn!" she finally said "Did you so this?"

I looked down ashamed, and nodded silently.

I could hear Laurie and Lindsay's soft crying next to my own ragged sobs.

/

I waited outside in the admissions office with Ivey, Lindsay, Laurie and my father. My dad looked bored and like he didn't want to be there.

A plump lady with red hair and freckles walked up to us and looked between Ivey, Laurie, me and Lindsay.

"Now which one of you is Jacquelyn?"

Ivey and Lindsay turned to look at me, and I looked up from the red carpeted floor. Laurie continued staring at the ground as I had been doing.

The room was decorated in warm colors, oranges, yellows, browns and reds.

"Welcome to Blue Skies Ohio Adolescent Treatment center for Self-Destructive Behavior." She said in a kind voice.

Ivey and Lindsay gave me encouraging nods and after giving them both hugs, and my dad a stiff nod; I followed the lady to my new room in the part of the treatment center for teens with self-injurious behavior.

"You're here to get better honey." She said in a voice so nice I almost wanted to hug her. "And we'll make sure that happens."