Metallic-flavored blood splashes
back into my mouth, eyes, hair:
scissors repeat your words;
repeatedly scream your name.
confused within themselves—create
a sludge of intestines
your name in substitute
of an absent voice.
No more green slide;
no more fountain of youth.
The aftermath of carnage.
My thoughts swirled into soft dreams of your face as you whispered, “I love you, Annaliese.” Tonight, my dreams consisted of a mix between fearing that you will leave me and the bond that I haven’t shared with anyone before. Your green eyes haunt me while I sleep. Over and over, your sweet words echo in my skull. I love you, Annaliese; I love you, Annaliese; I love you, Annaliese.
I finally wake to see your bare back facing me. The smoothness of your milky skin calls to my hands as they take control and pull themselves to your ribcage that expands with each breath of slumber you take. You’re beyond breathtaking. As I caress your back, I watch my fingertips slide back and forth over your muscles in the hazy blueish light of the dawn. I continuously rub your back for minutes, hours, days. I have no sense of time when we are together like this.
My phone pings a familiar tone, which makes me jump slightly. I try not to wake you as I reach over you to grab it. It’s our mutual friend, but I don’t believe what it says. I keep reading it over and over: Quinn is cheating on you. I don’t want to believe it. I can’t. My heart sinks into the bed, and I reach for you. I pull back. I don’t believe it. I reach for you again, but this time I make contact. I hold your shoulders as you continue to sleep in denial.
I gently shake you, and whisper your name. You mumble something and roll towards me. Your arm falls on my shoulder, and we are entangled in an embrace of love and hate.
“Quinn, we need to talk. Wake up.” My voice quivers and the tears start to spill. My stomach is a churning mess of vomit that has no escape. “Quinn?”
You finally open your eyes, “what is it? What’s going on? Talk to me Annaliese.” Your voice begins to show signs of panic as you sit up. As I look up at you, I realize I’m not good enough for you. Your green eyes hide everything I thought you weren’t capable of, and then some. What else could you be hiding in there?
“Have you been seeing Kristina?” My words are barely understandable through the hiccups I have now developed.
Your eyes say it all. I leave the soft, down comfort of a shared bed, and make it to the bathroom just in time to spill my bile and previous day’s leftovers into the toilet. The bitter, acidic scent and taste that fills my head is excruciatingly familiar. This isn’t the first time. But, it will be the last. You are never going to make me feel like this again. I am done.
As the betrayal begins to settle in my now empty stomach, I wipe the chunks of vomit from my chin, hastily lock the door and take in my environment. The sink basin is cluttered with your makeup, brushes, and scented sprays. Your presence is everywhere. I open the medicine cabinet and take out my prescription. 16 sertraline pills now reside inside the mixture of stomach contents in the toilet.
The scissors beckon to me now. I pick them up, like I have before, and begin the routine. One line for you, one for me, and one for losing you. Three lines in a row. The metallic scent and warm stream of blood is all too familiar and soothing. It’s only been about four minutes of release, but I know it’s never going to be enough. As I open the bathroom door I see you dressing with your back to me.
“I loved you, Quinn. I loved you.”
You don’t have time to respond before the scissors enter your skin—far deeper than they ever have mine, and yet, the release is so intense and satisfying I can’t stop. I remove the scissors as you fall onto the bed. Your blond hair is mangled in a sweaty nest hiding your face. I hope there’s pain embedded in your eyes. When you turn to face the ceiling, I realize that there isn’t enough pain. You look more confused than hurt. The scissors make their way back into your abdomen, repeatedly. The liquid begins to cover the walls, the white comforter, the dresser, your face, your hair. You start to choke on the fluid and that’s when I see it. You’re hurt.
What have I done. I’ve hurt you. You’re still laying there as I grab my coat and run. I can never go back. I can’t help you now. I lost you, and it’s all my fault. I wish I would have been good enough for you. I wish I would have been better.
Bees attack my feet as I stumble through the pink clovers nearing the splash pad. Children squeal in delight as the fire hydrant-shaped sprinkler cools their sweaty faces with ice-cold water that spouts from its sides. I check behind me in a mild state of paranoia, but you don’t flinch because I can’t see you. Not now. Not ever.
The giggles and screams bring my attention back to the splash pad. Water now funnels from the underground pipes into a waterfall of childhood bliss. I know what you’re thinking, you wish that I didn’t have to check over my shoulder so often, but it’s inevitable.
I stink. I can smell the sweat releasing from my pores. Every single drop. It’s obvious to everyone around me that I haven’t showered for days. The pepper-tinted-onion-scented sweat that you can’t smell creates an invisible barrier between us. You don’t dare come any closer.
My breath is putrid, as well. I wish I could brush my teeth more often. The tiny particles of food mixed with the sickly-sweet scent of plaque reminds me of a time before. A time that you had emotions, feelings, a heart. My stench reminds me that you have lost all that once made you the woman that I loved.
I continue on the path, passing the joyous sounds of children running through the only relief they have from the heat, until I reach the stream just past the playground. We spent a lot of joyful moments at that park. Teenagers in love.
The swing groans in protest as I reach heights that threaten to overturn me and throw me face first into the gravelly sand below. The children ran when they saw me coming. They could sense their lives in danger just by my scent.
The green slide—that we would curl up into after sneaking out in the early morning, where we would hide our love from the stars, heaven, society, our parents—knows what I’ve done. We would spend hours crammed together in the tube-shaped darkness whispering our secrets and confessing our love. We could still have that, you know?