I'd never believed in fate, and I certainly had no faith in a god. But I was beginning to think some things were just meant to be. Everything was better for me. I'd come to realize that sometimes things fall apart, and we don’t know why, but it turns out they are only making room for something better to fill the hole. Xander had completed me, healed me. And my scars began to fade, and for the first time in a month I didn’t feel the need to replace them.
"Alright," Wynter said one day after school, slamming her bookbag onto the table as he kicked off her Converse lowtops. "Spill."
I bit my cheeks to contain my smile, continued on with my math homework. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Bullshit," Wynter snapped. I thought that in that moment, she'd never seemed more like me. "You're smiling, Reina. You don’t smile. I heard you singing in the shower. A month ago you were crying yourself to sleep."
"You could hear that?"
"The walls are paper thin, Reina. Now tell me what's going on."
Looking up at my sister, I tucked a stray strand of hair behind my triple pierced ear. "I'm going to dye it black, I think," I told her off-handedly. "I'll have Melissa and Lexi help me."
Wynter rolled her eyes, turning to pul a can of Coke from the fridge. "You are avoiding my question."
I shrugged. "Only a little bit."
"Whatever," she growled in that tone she used when she was clearly annoyed and wanted the whole world to feel her pain. "I'm onto you, Reina Pewter," she added before disappearing down the hall.
I was still sitting at the table, consumed by the monster that was geometry, when my dad came in. "Hey," I said casually. He gave me a half-hearted wave as he passed. "What's up?"
Only when he neglected to reply did I look up. Then I kicked my chair back and stumbled to my feet, because my dad was crying. I'd no sooner thrown my arms around him than the sobs began to turn hysterical, and I was crying too and I didnt even know why, and I was screaming for Wynter because she was so much stronger than me.
"Daddy?" I heard her feeble little cry, felt her arms around us both. Holding us both. "Daddy, what's wrong?"
As though something inside of him had snapped, he wriggled from both out grasps moving away until his back was against the counter. His face was red and streaked with fallen tears. "There's no way to say it that wont break me down again," he said slowly. "So I might as well just say it. Your mother died."
Numb. I became numb at that moment. I completely vacated myself until there was nothing but a shallow heartbeat. Beside me, Wynter had broken out into quiet sobs. But I was perfect still in my nothingness.
"She overdosed," he added. "I mean, I know she didn’t contribute much to the family, but...I know how much she loved you girls."
I heard his words without really hearing them. When he came over to give me one last hug, I felt it without really feeling it. When Wynter took my hand, I squeezed her own tightly, because her slender, icy fingers in mine were the only thing I could feel. I closed my eyes and stood unmoving, and wondered why I was never allowed to be happy.
I didn’t tell anyone at school. I was breaking enough on my own, and I didn’t need anyone throwing rocks at me too. I kept silent through most of the day, distancing myself from everyone I loved. In the back of my mind was a nagging desire to force myself to feel, a blistering pain that sounded much too inviting. I had a razor in my bag. It wouldn’t have been difficult to slip into the bathroom, where the cameras and the prying eyes couldn’t see.
At lunch I descended the steps into the Commons quickly, eager to absorb the atmosphere that I was hoping my friends would offer me. I was not expecting to see Melissa darting across te Commons, dodging bodies, a look of sheer terror upon her face.
"Reina!" She cried, crashing into me. Her hands clutched at me. "Someone told Xander you were dead."
I creased my brow, attempting frantically to make sense of both her words and her hysteria. "But-"
"Reina," she hissed. "He just went into the bathrooms across school. He wants to die too."
And that was the point at which I snapped. The point at which I realized there was no point. Not anymore. "I cant get to him," I murmured in a daze. "I'll never get across school in time."
I only then noticed that Melissa was crying. I was so tired of teardrops. "I don’t know," she whispered.
Something sparked inside of me, a new desire altogether. One I'd never known before. Shaking Melissa off, I gripped tightly at the straps of my tote. "Get out of my way," I hissed, but I was pushing her aside without even waiting. I was fairly certain she was calling me back, but I was moving farther and farther away. My head should have been swarming with the roar of the Commons and the overwhelming intensity of it all. But my mind was perfectly clear as I pushed into the bathroom. I didn’t know if Melissa would follow. I didn’t particularly care.
Throwing my bag up onto the counter, I began to rummage through until I found it. I pulled it out slowly, savoring the cool relief it brought to my fingertips. The razor was dull from overuse and then lengthy neglect. Still, it would draw blood. And that was what it was all about, wasn’t it?
Even in the height of my cutting, I'd never really wanted to die. But at that moment, imagining Xander slumped against the wall of some bathroom across school, rushing suby rivulets dancing down his skin, thinking of my mother in her box underground, I did. I wanted to die too.
The gasping pain was so familiar. With wide, lustful eyes, I watched the skin of my wrist part like lips for a seductive kiss, the final kiss. Then I glanced at my reflection, pale complexion and terrorized expression, and closed my blue eyes. I pressed harder, sliced deeper, curled my toes against the pain. Colors swirled behind my lids as the nausea washed over me.
Some people describe death as the real world slipping away from their grasp.
I fully let go.