by Night Shadow
This is a story about my first visit to rehab.
|My father pushes me up against the wall as his lips close over mine for a long moment. He then throws me to the floor and kicks my ribs hard enough to break one. A single tear rolls down my cheek, but there is no response otherwise. I am used to this by now and I know that if I respond, it will only get worse. The breath leaves my lungs and the world begins to fade into black. The last thing that I feel, as I slip into unconsciousness, is the weight of my father on top of me.
I feel the cold steel of the blade pressed against the ivory skin of the underside of my right wrist. "I wonder what happened to the girl that loved to ride horses under the sun. I think I may have killed her...” I see a thin line of crimson bead up under the blade and I put more pressure onto the handle. "If only Jason were here now...” I drag the blade across my skin before letting it drop. It clatters to the floor as I watch the blood rise from the savage looking cut. I am talking to myself the whole time. After a moment, I fall back onto the soft carpeting of my bedroom floor and close my eyes. I hear Jason's voice and, at first, I don't believe that it is real. I know that it is real when I feel his arms wrap around me, but I can no longer respond to him. The last thing I hear is him talking to someone. Then the world goes black.
"I don't want to lose you, Laura...” I hear Jason's voice as a far-off whisper. I slowly open my eyes and look up at him from my hospital bed. I can tell that he has been crying and I want to comfort him, but I can't make myself get up. He wraps his arms around me and squeezes me in his vice grip. Then he lets go, as if afraid that he might break me. My head rests against the pillow as my world once again begins to melt into black. "I love you, little sis."
"It feels like the world is crashing down on me." I am sitting in the cozy office of a psychiatrist at Hennepin County Medical Center. She is watching me through critical eyes as I stare out the window and down at the cars in the parking lot. "If life were an ocean, I just know that it would swallow me whole." I pick at the white bandages around my wrist. A string begins to unravel and I continue to pull at it until it breaks. "Everything is spinning out of control and I am powerless to stop it." I trace the scar of a name scrawled down the length of my right arm. Kristopher is the name, my first true love. Memories of the day that he killed himself swim to the surface of my mind. The memories bring tears to my eyes. "I don't even know who I am anymore." It's happening again. My mind is beginning to spin out of my control and I am growing frantic. I am afraid, but I don't know what I am afraid of. Afraid of going insane maybe? Afraid of being locked away forever? "I think I might be losing my mind." The truth is, my mind was gone a long time ago. My mind disappeared the first time that my father raped me. The first time he hit me. The first time I let the cold steel bite my flesh so that I didn't have to feel. "I don't know what to do anymore." This is the straw that breaks the camel's back. I break down and I start to cry and I am afraid. I am afraid of what is going to happen to me, afraid of what my future holds. I feel arms encircle my shoulders. The arms are strong, yet gentle. I look up, startled, to see my psychiatrist. I don't know at what point I began to call her mine. "I know how you feel." She says gently. "I was in your same shoes once." She lifts the sleeve of her shirt to reveal a criss-cross of scars on her left arm. They are ugly scars, something that you would not expect to see on the arm of a psychiatrist. I reach out to touch them, wonder overcoming me. "You are not alone anymore."
I sit on my assigned bed in the treatment facility and stare out of the window. Rain pelts the glass pane as I try to see past the haze that it creates. "Are you coming to dinner?" I glance at my roommate before slowly shaking my head. She sits down next to me and rests her hand on my knee. "Are you okay?" I shake my head again. She sighs softly and moves to hug me, but I flinch and she lets her arms drop. "God... Someone must have hurt you bad." I nod slightly. "Was it your dad?" I nod again. "I'm sorry..." She moves her hand back onto my knee as I glance at her. "If you need someone to talk to, I will be here." She leaves the room after giving my knee an encouraging squeeze.
I sit on a cold metal chair in a small room, staring around the circle of faces in front of me. My roommate sits across from me, giving me an encouraging smile. She has been here for two years. Seen many other girls and guys come in, thrive, and go out. Tomorrow, I'll be just another roommate that has moved on from here. "I'm excited, but at the same time I'm scared." My voice sounds small with so many people crammed into this tiny room. Several new people had come in yesterday, giving us a full house. Us. I can't remember when I started to count myself as one of them. But it seemed to fit. I have problems, they have problems, we have problems. And we will work through them together. "I don't know what to expect when I get home. Will my parents accept me with open arms or will they think of me as a freak and treat me as though I am going to break?" Tears come to my eyes and I look away, staring out of the window at the lake and the trees. This is one of the last times I will ever see this scenery. I think I'll miss it. "Alright! Time's up everyone. Let's give Laura a hand as she prepares to make the next step and rejoin the real world." My psychiatrist and all of the other patients stand and begin to clap. Then they all file out and I am left sitting alone.
I silently walk into my bedroom after returning home and sit down on my bed. The room has been cleaned, the sheets straightened, and the stain of blood on the carpet scrubbed out. The room is brighter than I remember and it lifts my spirit just a little bit. I lie down on top of the blankets and stare at the ceiling with a sigh. "It feels good to be home...”