Chapter Seven

A day later, I was released from the hospital with nothing but a cast and some pills for any sudden pains that I might get. But no pills could fix the pain that wracked my heart and made it sometimes difficult to breathe whenever I thought too hard. My dad asked the why I wasn't talking and their best response was that I was going through shock or withdrawal. They said that it was normal for teenagers who experienced a death of someone close.

Was that what was happening to me?

Even I didn't know, but it wasn't about to change anytime soon. My voice box seemed non-existent to me and the world silent. It was peaceful in a way…

Dad drove me home in silence; the only noise that could be heard was the quiet pattering of raindrops on the window and the soft country music that dad had playing in the background. I hated country music, but I didn't object as I became mesmerized by the raindrops that splattered on my window. I loved the way that they slid down the window like a slow moving river. It reminded me of when I cut my foot and my blood dripped off my heel and into the stream.

The stream… Oh, how I longed to be there now…

"Hey, Kate?" my dad suddenly called.

I ignored him and continued watching the rain.

"I phoned your school and the principal has talked to your teachers. They understand your situation and are there for you if you need them."

My only response to him was a shaky inhale as I fought not to cry again. They couldn't help me. They couldn't relate or even try to imagine the pain and loneliness that I was going through. They were paid to try and understand and care for us. Deep down, each and every one of them hated us and only put up with our teenage angst because it promised them another paycheck in their wallet…

I felt a hand on my knee and my dad's eyes bore into me for a brief moment. "And I'm here for you, too," he continued, sounding choked up. "If there's something you don't understand or if something's bothering you, then tell me—I'll listen."

I couldn't believe the garbage that was spewing out of his mouth like a broken faucet. That statement was self answered. What was there not to understand about mom being dead? Did he need to go back and see her lifeless mangled body?

For the rest of the ride home, Dad didn't talk anymore and even when we got home, he said nothing. He sat at the kitchen table in silence, his hands enclosed around a steaming cup of coffee that he had gotten for himself. I sat across from him, the iced mocha he had made for me untouched and in front of me. Not even my favourite drink could lift me out of the dark state that I was in.

After what seemed like an eternity, I pushed back my chair and got up.

"Something wrong, Kaitlin?" Dad asked, his voice cracking as though his throat had gone parched and dry.

What stupid question. Of course something was wrong. Everything was wrong.

I ignored him and walked out of the kitchen without as much as a glance at him. I felt drained, but there was something that I craved more than sleep, and it seemed to be calling my name as I slowly went up the stairs towards the bathroom.

Memories of when mom had first died flickered through my head like a broken tape being played and then rewound and played again. I remembered the rock, the stream, and the first time my foot had sliced across the rock and the stream turned red. The healing cuts on my feet suddenly felt like the scabs had been ripped away and were flowing free, but this time my wrists pumped in harmony with them and a lump caught in my throat. A sudden longing desire to return there filled my mind, but instead, my feet guided me towards the bathroom.

I shut the door behind me and locked it as I entered. The room was eerily silent and I could hear my heart pounding in my ears and my breath coming in ragged gasps. I tore into the drawers at once with my good arm and instantly found an untouched razor, pulling it out. The three blades glinted in the light bulbs glow and I paused for a moment before I placed it on a shelf in the shower shaking my head.

No, this was wrong.

This wasn't the answer.

I didn't need it.

I wouldn't turn into the one thing I was trying to help Nathan through. There were other ways to deal with this, but my mind couldn't think of anything else. Nothing gave me more of an adrenaline rush than the sight and feeling of my blood emptying from my body, and with it, all my hurt.

What I needed was a bath. I still smelt terrible from the trip to the hospital and as I turned on the bath water, I managed to calm myself down and make my heart rate go back down to normal. Mom's bubble bath was still where it had been for the last eighteen years of my life and I took it, un-popping the cap and inhaling the scent of coconut that came from the bottle. Mom had always smelled like coconut…

As the water continued running, I poured in what was left of the bottle until the bubbles nearly overflowed the bathtub. With difficulty, I stripped free of my clothes with some difficulty, goose-bumps breaking out onto my skin as the cool bathroom air caressed my bare skin. I stepped into the scalding hot bath water. The burning was soothing in a way, almost as if it were burning away everything wrong with my life. I sunk down and lay there with my arm perched on the side just staring at my toes that poked out of the water. I began to reminisce about all the amazing times that Mom and I had had together. The shopping trips, the movie nights, even cleaning the house together could be fun some times. I missed her constant cheerfulness and how she always had a positive outlook on live. I could use some of that optimism now…

Silent tears dripped own my cheeks and I disappeared into a shell of nothingness for a moment as I submerged my head under water for a few moments before coming up and continuing to stare straight ahead at my slowly pruning toes. I don't remember how long I stayed like that for in that zoned out state, but when I finally came to, nearly all the bubbles had disappeared from the bath tub and there was a brisk knock on the door.

"Dinner's ready," Dad's voice came from the other side of the door.

I couldn't find my voice, so I merely shifted in the bath water and hoped he would take the hint.

There was a pause. "Okay."

I waited until his footsteps had completely faded before I pulled the bath plug and dragged my sodden body out of the bathwater. I toweled off and awkwardly changed into my pajamas—everything was so much harder with only one usable arm.

I was downstairs within five minutes, my wet hair done up into a messy bun. Dad had already started to eat.

"Hope you don't mind," he said. "I was hungry and it was getting cold."

I shook my head and sat down, scanning the table to see what we were having.

Hot dogs.

I wasn't all that hungry; I even felt a little sick. I took a bun and poured myself some berry juice.

I left without another word before he could say something useless and headed up towards my room. I was glad he wasn't all over me like some single dads were. Dad was kind of selfish in a way—one of the many reasons why mom left him in the first place.

Jinx was sitting on my bed when I entered and she meowed when she saw me. I set my meal down on my desk and scooped her up in my arms. She began to purr and I kissed her furry head, tears starting to leak from my eyes again. My life was falling apart before my eyes and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.