A true story, but the narrator's gender was changed.
"You know, it's kind of gross that you're just throwing your cigarette butt around for everyone to see," I remarked rudely to the tall, blonde girl standing in front of me in line for the “Power Tower” at Cedar Pointe—America’s Roller Coast!
"Ex-ky-oose me?" she asked incredulously, as though I had gone up to her and asked her to strip down naked in front of the entire amusement park and do a little jig. She raised a pierced eyebrow and stared me down, a glint of amusement shining in her dark eyes. I pushed a lock of sandy-brownish hair out of my face (hair which my mother claimed was too long and unbecoming of a fourth-grade boy) and glared indignantly back at the girl.
"Well, that's what the garbage can is for." I nodded at the large brown rubbish bin right next to the butt of her cancer stick which lay smoldering on the walkway.
"Dude, it would light the fucking trash on fire!" the blonde cackled, and then she and her friend enjoyed a good laugh at my expense, their high-pitched jeering carrying all through the line.
"That's why you put it out first." But they ignored my logic, and simply howled with laughter once again.
"Guttersluts," I muttered bitterly.
The line moved at little more than a snail's pace over the course of about five minutes, and I wondered if a half-hour wait was worth a two-minute ride. As I stood there, trying to forget the feeling of blood pooling at my motionless feet and the humidity making me dizzy, my gaze landed on the two girls in front of me. They were giggling and chatting the way teenage girls do, most likely having forgotten all about me and my audacity to have reprimanded them. My attention was drawn to the arms of the blonde girl who had cursed at me. They were covered in long, thick scars, and I tried to imagine what could have caused such things. She seemed like a rather rowdy girl. Did she get in a fight or something? Nah, she’s too frail to be a fighter. Problems with a lawn mower? No, that's the sort of thing I would encounter…
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that she had gotten into a motorcycle accident. I envisioned the girl flying down the freeway without a helmet, her crimped blonde hair rippling madly behind her. She would be clinging affectionately around the waist of her boyfriend as he sped a Harley down the highway and BOOM! Someone didn't watch where they were going, and the unfortunate motorcyclists would be flying onto the harsh, unyielding concrete, cars skidding around them, resulting in a destroyed Harley, cuts and scrapes galore, and God knows what else.
That was three years ago. You see, this is kind of a little ritual I have, sitting on the floor of my darkened bedroom reflecting on me day or my week or my life. I retire to my shabby little sanctuary above the dining room in our new-money suburban home and light three candles. I let them exhaust themselves one by one, and when there is only one left burning, that’s when I do it.
Carefully, I reach into my backpack which is slumped against the wall and pull out a sharp, loyal companion…the only one I can count on at this point, the only one I know will always be there. I search for a place on my body, anywhere on my body that has not yet been ripped apart by my angry addiction. Tonight, I decide it's my arm.
I waste no time. The last flame has shrunken to about the size of my small fingernail, so I run the blade in a swift line down the back of my hand, creating a trickling red stream down to my elbow. I hit a good spot, nice and deep, too, for within a few seconds, that sweet and comforting red liquid leaks out of me like water runs out of a faucet--nice and easy. I relish at the feeling of all this pent-up emotional pain being slowly but surely being converted into physical pain, and the physical pain draining out like sewage. Soon, I will be clean again, at least for tonight.
As the last tiny flame grows ever smaller, I laugh weakly and watch the crimson streams of my own freedom trickle over the edge of my arm and stain my carpet. It’s not the first bloodstain, either, and it certainly won’t be the last. Not yet, anyway. Again, I think about the girl who was standing in front of me at Cedar Pointe that day. I don't know how on earth she popped into my head at that moment, but it seemed to fit--I remembered her arms. I smile tiredly and whispere to myself, "Motorcycle accident, indeed."