“So how are you, really?” I have not seen her for over five months, since she moved downtown. Since that night.
“I’m fine, really.”
“No more cutting?” She showed me her left arm, then the right. The scars looked faded, no new ones. I was glad, and told her so.
“I’ve missed you.” She lit a cigarette. I was hoping she’d quit that too. One thing at a time I guess.
We spent most of the night catching up, trading jokes, stories and some tears, before I drove her home. I think she’s going to be okay.
– – –
I knew her from work, she was quite popular with the guys in my department and one day we were at the same assignment. We’d somehow connected over bad coffee after the event and got along well ever since. After a while, we got closer and I learned about the other side of her that was kept fairly hidden from prying eyes. The cutting habit, the drugs. Having a lousy live-in boyfriend didn’t help matters either but my concern was more about her. I had seen her scars and knew it was more than physical pain that she’s suffering from.
But how do you help someone, when outwardly she looks like she doesn’t need any?
– – –
Six months ago, I had moved to another job and we saw less of each other. The live-in was no longer in the picture and things seemed fine for a bit. I heard she was doing well at work, her stories seemed less… edgy. More coherent, definitely readable. Until one night, when she called me up. I knew she was high, she’d always have some loud rock music on when she wants to get stoned. However, her voice sounded different, desperate. I went over and it took her a while to open the door.
The image of her with a bloody arm is not one I’d likely to forget anytime soon. I remember taking the blade from her and tried to stop the bleeding. Her glazed eyes looked at me but I doubt she knew what was happening. I knew crying will not help but I cried anyway, while searching for the first aid kit. Luckily, she actually had one.
“You shouldn’t have done this. Why didn’t you just let me die?”
She had slept off the drugs and woke up in pain. I could only offer her coffee.
“Because it isn’t your time to go.” I didn’t press her about what happened but I knew that she could tell that I was angry. I had hoped she would argue that she was fine but instead she started telling me her story. So I listened.
“You are definitely the most screwed up rich brat I know.” She laughed at that. It sounded hopeful.