It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last. She watched the blood ooze down her arm — starting as a straight line from her wrist and snaking its way down to her elbow, where it met the white paper towel, staining it crimson. Mesmerised, she made another cut just below the previous one. It didn’t hurt as much this time. A sharp stinging pain. And then, the crimson river again.
She knew no one would understand. It was why she tried it in the dead of the night. Mum and Dad asleep. Her brother too. She was careful. She made sure to clean the wounds, first with water, then, antiseptic. She’d seen her parents treat her and her brother when they were younger. She knew the drill. She gave them some air before bandaging them up. Then, exhausted, she fell into a dreamless sleep. Just as she’d hoped.
The next morning, her arm throbbed. She re-dressed the wounds, now red and glaring at her. Grateful for winter, she put on her school jumper and dragged her left arm, willing it to participate in daily tasks. It had done its job. She felt lighter, as if a huge weight was lifted. Or better, she thought, cleansed.
As she sat in class, oblivious to the chatter around her, she couldn’t help but wonder what they’d say if they knew.
She snapped out of her reverie and tried to focus. ‘Yes, Mrs Brown?’
‘Did you hear what I said? About the calculus homework?’
‘I’ve done it,’ said Asha, handing her notebook. Page after page of four-unit mathematics. She knew it was perfect. Not a single mistake. She’d spent most of her weekend puzzling through the problems and finally solving them.
‘That’s great, Asha,’ said Mrs Brown. ‘I guess you can proceed on to the problems on page 287. The rest of you,’ she said looking at the class with her piercing eyes. ‘You all need to complete the homework. Now.’
Asha heard the girls behind her sniggering. ‘Nerd!’ But it no longer bothered her. She knew how to cope. She stared at the sums on the page while simultaneously pressing her right index and middle fingers hard against her left wrist. Pain. Sweet delicious pain. Pain that distracted her from the emptiness inside. Pain that made her feel again. It was like a thousand fireworks going off at once inside her, erupting into a glorious display for no one but her. And best of all, it was pain that help cleanse the impurities out of her.
Last night may have been the first time but Asha knew it wouldn’t be the last.
(c) Sanch Vee @ Sanch Writes (30 June 2016)
Written for the WordPress Weekly Discover Challenge: Opening Line