by The Princess
The Prologue to a novel I'm planning to write.
Saving Me (prologue)
The feeling a person gets when they finally get something they’ve wanted, or when their biggest wish is actually granted, or when someone’s long time dream is finally about to come true, is a feeling that’s hard to describe. I suppose for some people, it’s exhilarating, exciting, an overall good feeling. And that’s how it should be, isn’t it? When you want something so much, for so long, and you finally get what you’ve been waiting for, it’s only reasonable that you should be grateful and happy for it, right? Exactly. For me, though, grateful and happy are neither of the words I would use to describe my emotions right now, even as I was about to get what I’d been dreaming of for so long now. I felt a mixture of relief, satisfaction, and a twinge of regret. But that’s all. All my other emotions, happy, sad, mad, had been gone for a while now. It had been a long time since I’d felt anything like that. A blessing and a curse at the same time.
So there I was. And this was it. This was what I’d been begging for, praying for and dreaming of for over a year. This was the moment I’d been hoping for. Everything was perfect, precisely how I wanted it to be; no one was home, it was late, I was alone, and I had them, my magic medicine, clenched tight in my hand. Medicine though they were, they didn’t help me, didn’t cure me. There’s no cure for a broken heart, no cure for insanity either. Funny how the only two fatal illnesses I’ve ever developed in my life are the two that can’t be treated. One I could probably deal with, and I’d be okay. Both at the same time were clearly impossible. And this was the reason I was doing what I was doing. It was impossible, I could no longer do it, and therefore why was I trying, if I knew nothing would change? Well, I’d come up with a plan to solve this problem, and my plan was to be put into action tonight.
Clutching my magic meds tightly in my fist, I tip-toed through the dim kitchen and into the dark hallway, stopping at the bathroom door. Opening it, I flicked on the light and blinked in the sudden brightness. After a few seconds my eyes adjusted, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror directly across from where I stood. I quickly turned away, avoiding making eye contact with myself, as if I was keeping what I was about to do a secret even from me. I stepped over to the toilet and put down the lid, taking a seat. I took a deep breath and opened my palm, exposing all thirty two of my little magic pills. Light blue and small, they looked almost like beads. But I knew what they were. I wondered for a moment how something that small that seemed so harmless could be so fatal. I stood up and went to the sink, opened the cabinet beneath it and grabbed two small plastic cups. I poured my magic pills into one, and the other I set on the counter next to it.
I was so close to getting what I wanted. I felt dizzy. I put my hands on the sink to steady myself and looked into the mirror, catching my own eye as I did so. I stood up straight after a moment, reached down into the cabinet again and took out my hairbrush and makeup bag. I put on blush, lipstick, eye liner and mascara, and then I brushed my hair, all much more slowly and carefully then I usually did. When I was done I took the empty cup from the counter and turned on the faucet, filling it slowly, stalling as much as I could. I jumped as the clock in the living room chimed; eleven o clock. No more stalling.
I took the plastic cup that held my magic pills and the water and carried them to the bathtub, being careful not to spill either. I stepped into the tub and sat down. I put the pills and water on the tub-wall beside me and stretched my legs out. Then I reached over, chose one single pill and brought it to my lips, popping it into my mouth. I took a swig of water and swallowed. I reached again, chose another pill and brought it to my lips, popping it into my mouth. Another swig of water and swallow. As I reached for a third pill I felt a tear slide from the corner of my eye down to my cheek. I would never have guessed I’d go to this length to escape anything.
The Bible says suicide is a sin, not only a sin, but an Unforgivable sin. I don’t believe that. I think that if there is a God, and he throws enough horrible things your way that you take the only way out you have, he won’t hold it against you. That’s what I hope, anyway. I’ve heard a lot of people say that killing yourself is a coward’s way out, the easy way out. That’s true, it is. What people don’t realize is that some things, you aren’t brave enough to face. Until someone knows what someone else is dealing with, or running away from in this case, they shouldn’t point fingers or judge. Because if it were you facing what they’re facing, you might run too. I used to think that nothing could be bad enough for me to want to end my own life, but now I know different. I know that people shouldn’t say that, for one. And two, I know that if I do take my life, I’ll be free, more free then I have been in a long, long time.
I wanted to see what it felt like to die. I knew what it felt like to want to die; to dream of it, pray for it, beg for it. And I knew what it felt like to be denied that. I prayed and prayed for God to take me, let me die, bring me home. My prayers went unanswered, and it wasn’t long before I knew that if I wanted it done I’d have to do it myself. Because living like this was too much. I had no purpose, no reason. And without purpose, what was the point in living? To wake up every day and immediately have to deal with pain I shouldn’t have? To go day after day remembering things I tried so hard to forget? To smile for everyone, laugh, eat, sleep, bathe, all just to prove that nothing was wrong? To have to look in the mirror every morning and despise the person looking back at me? I’d rather be dead. And soon I would be.
The truth that I wouldn’t admit even to myself was that I was already dead. A dark night, an empty street, and circumstance had brought me to the wrong place at the wrong time the summer after I turned fifteen. Someone whose face I never saw, whose name I’ll never know, stole my childhood, my innocence, and my sanity, all in a single moment: the longest moment I’ve ever lived through, the only thing I remember every day the second I wake up. In doing so he killed the girl I was, the girl I would’ve been and every girl I had ever had any possibility to be over the course of my life. Now, I was an empty shell, a ghost of the person I had been before that night, a mean echo of the girl I could’ve grown to become, a sick sort of parody of the girl that I wanted to be. Maybe ending my life was the easy way out, but I’d take easy over this any day.
I brought magic pill number three to my mouth once more, and once more I paused. Another tear slid down my cheek. Angry at myself, I impatiently brushed it away, popping the third little blue pill into my mouth. I took a drink of water and even though my brain told my mouth to swallow the water and the little blue pill, it didn’t. I couldn’t. I choked, coughed, and spit it out into the tub. Gagging, I snatched back the toilet lid and leaned over the wall of the tub just in time to vomit noisily into the toilet bowl. When I was done I flushed, wiped my mouth, and sat back down in the tub, breathing hard. After a moment I tried again to swallow another magic pill, but my body wouldn’t let me, gagged me again, and I vomited a second time. And a third time. And a fourth. By this time I seriously doubted there was any more food in me to make me vomit again, but I didn’t test it.
Without knowing what I was doing, I stood up, grabbed my cup of magic pills, and poured them down the toilet. I flushed and sighed, feeling relieved, until my mind registered what I’d just done. The only escape I had, the only way out from where I was trapped, the thing I’d been hoping for, for such a long time now, was gone now. I missed my chance. I couldn’t bear to look at myself. If committing suicide made someone a coward, I wonder what being too scared to commit suicide made me. Disgusted with myself, I turned away, glancing involuntarily in the mirror as I did so. What I saw staring back at me caught me off guard for a moment, making me temporarily forget where I was, and when I finally recovered and came back to reality, it broke what was left of my heart.
The girl in the mirror looked like me, but she was someone else, someone totally different. Although we were similar in appearance, we weren’t identical. Her face was thin, her hair was dull and flat. She had that sick, delicately skinny look of someone who had lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time. She was pale and her forehead seemed permanently wrinkled, as if she frowned a lot. The girl in the mirror was tired, judging from the dark circles under her eyes. She looked like she hadn’t slept in years; Nothing like me. I knew myself to have chubby cheeks, dimples, a few pounds overweight but healthy; My face always had some sort of color in it, because I blushed often, and if I had any permanent wrinkles they’d be laugh lines, not forehead lines, because I smiled and laughed a lot more then I frowned. There was something else, too. Something else that made us different. I leaned closer to the mirror and she mimicked me, copied my movements exactly. As we stared at each other, inches apart, I met her gaze, and my heart turned cold. She had my eyes, the same shape and color, but the light behind them was gone. I’d never seen anything as cold and empty as those eyes, almost like looking into the eyes of a corpse.
I snapped back to reality, and I remembered that the girl in the mirror was me. Unable to fight it anymore, I let out a single, heartbroken sob. My eyes burned as I walked back over to the tub, crawled inside it again and curled up in a ball on my side. For the first time in a long time, I let the tears fall. Faster and faster they came, until they passed the point of no return; I couldn’t stop now, even if I wanted to.
The clock in the living room chimed again. Half past eleven. I laid there, in the tub, for some time until it chimed twelve times, at which point I had pulled myself together but still lay, hugging my knees to my chest. I stared into space as I thought about everything that had happened to me that brought me to this, to wanting to die, to be willing to take my own life, so long as it meant I could get away from all this. I closed my eyes and went back, and remembered, starting at the beginning.