Cora stared at her bedroom wall, tears slipping from her watery eyes and splattering on her purple comforter as she idly fingered the tiny porcelain tiger in her hands. She had a fondness for small things. Through the door, she could hear her parents screaming at each other from downstairs about the usual subjects. How her father wanted more from her mother, how her mother couldn't afford more, how her father blamed her for their loss of money. Cora flinched, hugging her knees closer to her chest, when she heard the front door slam.
She turned her back on her bedroom door as her mother began to walk up the stairs. The door quietly swung open. Cora didn't turn around. She just wanted to be left alone, like she usually was after her parents fought. "Honey?" her mother softly asked. "Are you alright?" Cora didn't respond as the tears leaked from her eyes in tiny rivulets. Her mother sighed. "Darling, I am so sorry if you heard us. Your father and I may not get along sometimes, but we still love each other."
Cora wiped the tears from her cheeks and stood up, then turned around to face her mother. "No you don't," he said, her voice quiet from crying. "If you still loved each other, you wouldn't argue all the time. If you still loved each other, we would still be able to eat dinner as a family. And if you still loved each other, Father wouldn't be filing divorce papers and tickets to Brooklyn." Her mother gaped.
Cora pushed on. "Yes, I know about that. I know basically everything. And before you ask me who I want to go with when those papers are certified, I'm telling you right now that I'm going to go live with Jesse." Without waiting for her mother to respond, she pushed past her and ran down the stairs and into the bathroom. Once there, she slammed the door shut and locked it, then sat down on the toilet seat and cried. She stayed like that for a while, cradling her head in her hands and ignoring her mother knocking on the door.
Finally, Cora lifted her head and got up. She stood at stared at her reflection; at her round Asian eyes, her cream-colored skin, and her straight black hair. She thought about her boyfriend, Jesse, and how he had promised to never leave her, no matter what. She reached up and clasped the charm around her neck that he had given her. It was a small, silver ring, and inside of it was a deep blue sapphire surrounded by smaller white diamonds. It was beautiful, a gift given to her on her seventeenth birthday as a token of Jesse's love for her.
She wiped the last few tears from her cheeks and crouched down in front of the bathroom sink. She clicked on the tiny flashlight she kept strapped around her belt, and immediately the beam of light glinted off of metal. She turned the flashlight off again and reached for the area, drawing out a steak knife. Cora straightened out again and, casting one last glance in the mirror, rolled down the sleeve of her dark purple shirt, revealing two thin, pale lines.
She slowly prodded at her skin with the knife, the tip just barely breaking the skin. When she pulled away, there was a small, shallow red dot on her wrist right below the two twin scars. She stared at it for a second, then re-inserted the tip and slowly cut a shallow line into her skin. All of her thoughts were on Jesse as the first drop of crimson fell from the cut.