Gleaming silver, shining beautifully when the light falls onto it, like a beast that hasn’t been fed its crimson feed and hungers for it. The more you look at it, the more it enchants you. Akin to the unwavering gaze of a snake, it draws you towards it, with promises of the rawness of pain and the end of memories. With assurances of new beginnings, of life begun without a smirch of shame. Handle it carefully, it is swift. One blinding flash, and peace. Not the peace that comes out of the contentedness of watching a beautiful sunset with a loved one, but the burning peace of pain. When there is so much physical pain, so much fear at the smell of blood that all thought, conscious and subconscious is drawn out of your mind. For that one minute, you are carnal. You do not have the capacity to register the jagged sorrow at the edge of your stream of consciousness, always ready to pounce; or the memories who flash themselves like indecent teenagers without giving heed to time or place. No longer is sleep an enemy, deliberately driven away by affixing a clothes-clip to your thumb. The blade welcomes sleep, for it knows not of the pain of the dreams that the future holds, or the vagaries of the past. It is pure in itself, for it feels no shame, embarrassment, hatred or regret. It only knows hunger – hunger of blood. So good to feel so basic, to not be able to feel what your mind and body are bent on reminding you.
One slash, and there are small drops of red. Relief instantaneously flows through you. There is pain, yes, but you are so relieved you almost feel giddy. The blood droplets almost look pretty, like an accessory worn on the wrist at the last minute. But the beast has tasted blood, literally. It wants more. So do you. You want another shot of that relief, and you look to the blade like a heroin addict who promised himself that he would have one hit and no more, but comes back to his mistress again and again. The demons start to creep back into your head. Crazy and frustrated, you slash all over your arms – multiple accessories. Pain and relief flood through you in equal measure. But now you are more focused. The frustration is gone, the pain remains. No longer in an immediate hurry, you go back to the first slash you made. You position the blade exactly over the slash, and you slowly, deliberately, dig it in. Crimson blood oozes out the cut, and falls over onto your hand. Almost as a reflex, you move your leg away, to avoid staining your pyjamas – experience is the best teacher. You dig deeper into the cut that is now a wound, and once the blade is almost half inside, twist it. Pools of red fall at your feet, and excruciating pain explodes in your body – it’s almost as if you’re on fire. The smell assaults your nostrils and you clench your teeth together, reminding yourself not to scream. A small moan escapes your lips, and you notice there are tears in your eyes. But you welcome all this, you even desire it. Afraid of letting this feeling go, you again put the blade to your wrist, careful to put it exactly at the place of the fresh wound. And you are cocooned in safety for a few minutes.
You keep digging your nails into the slashes you made earlier, lest the pain lessen. You make sure not to dig you nails into the deep wound, or you risk spoiling the bed-sheet. You could always use your period as an excuse, which works. But these things happen without consciously thinking about them, almost a second-habit in a well –practised ritual. Tired and in excruciating pain, you lie down on the bed. The tears don’t stop, and against the dull throbbing in your hand, almost like a second heartbeat, you fall asleep.
The morning after is a different story. Intent, after all, did not matter much. Sated, the beast is lying on a corner with caked blood on it like rust; looking like the evidence of a shameful act. Guilt – hot, powerful. You do not even have the courage to look at your wrist. Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.
For the Speakeasy 154