I slowly ran my hand over my own meager scars and in my mind the computer's LCD light wavered before me, almost amplifying the photograph of the bloody severed arms that shone on the screen. I let my fingers slide across my forearms as I stared at the ugly tiled wall across from me. I shifted on the toilet seat, the cover pulled down and my knees pressed against my chest. This was an addiction. In an almost dreamlike state I took the razorblade and slowly touched it to my arm. I prayed for the courage to press down. My mind flashed, and I pushed and slashed in a second. To my mild surprise the area where I cut soon turned bright red and drops of blood formed along the slash, like dewdrops on a spiderweb. I smiled dementedly. Inhaling sharply, I did it again, right below the first scar. I did it again and again, from the top of my wrist to right below my inner elbow. Like a ladder of crimson, it snaked up my arm. I let my fingers press lightly on every single mark, as if authenticating it, as if checking to make sure I was still there and this was still happening. It was so beautiful.

My heart beat heavily in my chest and my breathing became ragged. How could I hide this? My mind suddenly went blank. My dreamlike state was broken, almost as if someone had snapped their fingers and I was suddenly back to normal. I was horrified at what I had just done. I was wearing a crisp white dress shirt, shamelessly stolen from my father's wardrobe. If I pulled my sleeve down the blood would stain. If I kept it up the blood would run down my arm. It was already traveling slowly towards my hand. I almost screamed out of terror. They would put me back in the hospital. They would put me in the Quiet Room. They would do it all over, day after day. I began hyperventilating.

I rushed to the sink and frantically rubbed my arm with water until it stung, until my arm was pink and the slashes were free of blood. However after I stopped the blood began forming again. For a moment I contemplated going to the nurse but she'd send me to the hospital if anyone saw they would send me to the hospital. I looked at my watch. Three minutes until class. I patted paper towels on my arm and hoped that the blood would sop flowing. But it didn't. It kept coming and coming like a waterfall and I couldn't breathe. I felt suffocated and claustrophobic in this tiny bathroom at school. I touched my free hand to my face and gazed into the mirror. I looked a mess. I could see my hair had turned into a bird's nest of auburn and my eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep. I whimpered to myself, knowing that these racing thoughts and these anxious thoughts were due to the fact that I had skipped out on my medication for the last two weekz. I kicked the wall. And I kicked it again. I hated this I hated this I hated this. What was I meant to do?

I didn't want to tell anyone. They would think I was nuts. Half the school already did. I decided I would wait until the cuts began clotting and then pull my sleeve down and act as if nothing happened. Two minutes. I sat on the sink in meditation, slowly kicking my feet as they hung off the side. I leaned back, propped up by my hands. One minute. I brushed my hand through my hair to fix it slightly. Achieve some kind of normalcy. Forty-five seconds. I thought about the book we were reading in English, Oedipus Rex. Thirty seconds. I gazed at my arm. Six out of the fifteen scars were clotted. Twenty seconds. There was a graffitied heart on the wall near my left hand. It said "K + L" inside it. Fifteen seconds. I stared at my left arm. It really was gorgeous. Now there were ten out of fifteen clotted. Ten seconds. I hopped off of the sink and hauled my backpack up. I looked at myself in the mirror. Five seconds. Four seconds. Three. Two. The bell rang noisily, the sound bouncing irksomely against the walls of my mind. I looked. All except one of the cuts were dried. I cautiously pulled my sleeve down. Everything looked normal. I looked normal. It was as if nothing had happened. I was all right. I slid my cut arm, with some effort, into the other handle of my backpack, and slowly walked out of the bathroom.

How bleak, I thought as I sat in study hall. The two teachers, the woman at the door and the man surveying me, were having a conversation about their respective jobs. The woman complained. She said lunch duty was hell. The man nodded and assured her that she would get switched next year. How bleak. I switched the light on in my study desk-thing, even though I was using a computer whose screen was perfectly lit. I had very little charge. Beside me, on the wall, someone had written in pencil "Clowd wuz here". I absentmindedly wondered who Clowd was and why he so desperately needed to announce that he had been here. Picking up a pen without much further thought, I began drawing a bird's-eye view of East Houston Street and Avenue A on my hand. I noted the various shops and the street names. I put a large F where the F train resided. It was all very detailed and took up much of my time. it was now 1.29. in a moment study hall would be over. How bleak.