A short story I wrote for one of my classes. I hope people enjoy it.
On the day Melody decided she wanted to die, a heavy layer of thick, grey clouds covered the sky, not allowing a ray of sun to shine upon the ground. While sitting on the window seat inside her therapist’s office, she pushed her dyed black hair away from her face so she could comfortably rest her head on the cold glass. Her own sapphire eyes looked back at her before looking down to see the people scurrying throughout the city below like a swarm of ants. Closing her eyes, she imagined what it would be like to smash the window and jump through it. The wind rushing around her, the people looking up screaming in fear, the final breath she’d take before her body would crash on the ground, she imagined it all. The creak of the door ripped her away from her fantasy.
“Melody, you know you’re not allowed to smoke in here” her therapist said.
She looked away from the window and stared up at Dr. Steven Frost through the veil of smoke that hung around her face. “Sorry” she muttered through a puff of smoke. After taking one last drag, Melody breathed, “I’ll put it out.” She rolled up the sleeves of her grey sweater to reveal several cigarette burns on both of her arms, some old, some nauseatingly fresh. Then, after taking the cigarette out of her mouth, she silently pressed the lit end into her wrist before flicking it onto the carpet.
“Pick it up” Steven said, rolling his eyes. Melody had been coming to see him for months now, and this wasn’t the first time she pulled a stunt like that. When she first jammed a cigarette into her wrist in front of him he became concerned and had her admitted to the psychiatric ward, like any professional therapist would have, but when she was released after showing signs of improvement and she burned herself yet again in full view of him, causing him to send her back to the psych ward for an even longer visit, he realized something was off with her. Out of all the patients he had sent to be locked up, Melody was the only one to repeat the behavior that had got her put away in the first place, or at least the only one to repeat their behavior in front of him. If there was one true fact he knew in life it was that absolutely no one that has ever been in a psych ward wants to go back. But Melody didn’t care.
He walked over to his desk and noticed that his beige reclining chair looked like it needed attention, so he let himself collapse into it, let the back of his head sink into the cushions. “You don’t have an appointment. What are you doing here?”
Melody rolled her sleeves back down and then started to twirl her hair around her fingers. She looked up and started counting the tiles on the plain white ceiling, and when she said that she was going to kill herself, she said it so nonchalantly that it was as if she forgot another person was in the room.
Steven sighed. What he wanted to do was kick Melody out of his office and tell her to find another therapist to molest, but he couldn’t do that to anyone, not when the threat of suicide is mentioned. Sitting up, he adjusted and centered the glasses on his face and looked at Melody. “You realize what’s going to happen if you’re being serious?” Melody stopped counting the ceiling tiles, all 117 of them, and locked eyes with Steven. She knew full well what would happen and the look in her eyes told Steven all he needed to know. Fists clenched, nails digging into his palm, he spoke.
Melody reached into the pockets of her faded black skirt and retrieved her pack of Marlboros. She shook a cigarette out of the top of the pack, lifted the pack to her mouth, and placed it in between her lips. While listening to everything Steven had to say she puffed on her unlit cigarette, tasting the tobacco on her tongue and stifling the urge to gag. By the time Steven finished his rant, Melody wouldn’t have been surprised if she looked in the mirror and discovered that she had aged 30 years. She thought about what Steven said and concluded that all he really wanted her to do was leave and never come back, which was, in fact, the complete opposite of what he had said, and if she had listened she would have realized that he wanted to help her through the self-destructive behaviors she was displaying but was too agitated by her constant ploys for attention and disregard for her own self-being to take her seriously anymore.
“Do you understand what I’m saying?” Steven asked.
Standing up, Melody took out her lighter, a customized Zippo with a small pink heart in the middle and her name engraved in cursive below it, and lit up. She sucked the smoke into her mouth, inhaled it into her lungs, exhaled it through her nose, and said “I understand you don’t want to see me again, and that’s fine. You won’t.”
Steven stared in disbelief. It was as if she didn’t listen to a single word that came out of his mouth. He wanted to stand up and try to beat some reason into Melody’s head, but by the time he found himself able to move she walked out the door slamming it behind her. The impact made his painting of a nondescript person walking through a rose garden that hung above the door fall on the ground, and when he darted his eyes to look at it he realized that at the other end of the room near the window seat, lying on the carpet, was the butt of the cigarette Melody was smoking when he first came in the office. She never picked it up.
Melody seemed to drift through the hallways, her skirt swaying behind her as she did. She made it to the middle of the building where a secretary sat behind a desk, sipping coffee and typing up some important document for some important person hidden in one of the many offices. Even though Melody had been in this place dozens of times she still got lost in the labyrinth of corridors every once in a while. Leaning against the desk, she tapped on it with her fingernails until she got the secretary’s attention, and when she did she asked her “How can I get outta here?” The secretary told her what she needed to know and Melody thanked her, walked away, and eventually found her way to the exit door.
It was still overcast outside when Melody walked out the door. She breathed in the crisp air and started to walk across the street. When she made it safely to the other side she felt some sort of compulsion to look behind her, and when she did she saw Dr. Frost looking down at her from the window. With a little smile she waved at him then spun around and skipped away.
When she made it to her apartment she immediately took off her top, turned on the sink, and doused her arms in cold water. It ran over her arms and the relief she felt was wonderful. After turning off the sink she grabbed the roll of bandages next to it and rolled both of her arms up, and then she took out her pack of cigarettes and threw them away. She hated smoking those things.
A can of Coke from the fridge found its way to her hands. She opened it and chugged the whole thing and then opened another. Plopping down on the couch, she turned on the TV and sipped her second can of soda. Melody watched the television, but if someone were to ask her what happened in the last 20 seconds of what was on, she wouldn't have been able to tell. She couldn’t stop thinking about what she had said in Dr. Frost's office. She knew that he didn't believe she'd kill herself, and she almost didn't believe it either. For a split second she felt something deep inside of her, something like a combination of guilt, sadness, and loneliness, but before she could place a name on it, the feeling disappeared.
Downing the second can of Coke provided a light buzz from the sugar and also took away the awful taste of the cigarettes. Just thinking about having to smoke another made Melody gag. She vigorously shook her head to clear it out and then she looked at the TV, noticed that what was on, and promptly turned it off.
Letting herself slump over and lie down on the couch, she hoped her head would remain free of thoughts, but her mind travelled to what she thought Dr. Frost was doing (pondering the possibility that Melody may indeed actually be telling the truth about killing herself), and she hoped that he was thinking of her. And then she remembered her promise of suicide. How would she do it? Or more importantly, would she do it? She didn’t know. On one hand, she did specifically tell Dr. Frost she would, but on the other, she didn’t know if she was quite ready to risk herself dying just for more attention from him. But how good that attention would feel! She shut her eyes and imagined herself lying in a hospital bed, Steven standing over her, telling her everything would be ok. She imagined him lightly stroking her cheek, smiling down at her, his green eyes sparkling. And then she decided. The risk would no doubt be worth the reward.
Jumping off the couch, Melody ran to the kitchen. She found a bottle of vodka and poured herself a glass. She drank it, and then poured herself another. She ripped open the cupboards. Tearing through them, she found Tylenol, Advil, and other over-the-counter pain killers. Her hands wrapped around the tops of the bottles and she opened them, shaking out the pills onto the counter in front of her. Then, she took out her cell phone and was about to call Dr. Frost to tell him that she downed all the pills that she had in her house when she remembered that she’d have to get her stomach pumped if she happened to survive. She assumed that the feeling of a tube being pushed into her nose, through her esophagus, and down into her stomach wouldn’t feel very nice, but then again Dr. Frost would have to be her psychiatric consultant for a whole 24 hours if she survived. However, she couldn’t get over the uncomfortable feeling that slithered through her body when she thought about the doctors and nurses strapping her down and forcing the tube inside of her.
She drank her second glass of vodka in a few big gulps, causing her head to spin. She swiped her hand across the counter to knock the pills onto the floor. Wobbling over to the bathroom, her feet tripped over each other. When she finally made it there, she turned on the bath, letting the hot water fill up. She then turned around and looked at herself in the mirror. Thinking about what she was about to do made her eyes well up, and a few tears spilt down her cheek. Black lines ran down her face. She continued to stare at herself as she took her cell phone out of her pocked and dialed Dr. Frost.
Her voice slurred, Melody said “Dr Frost, call the police. I’ll be dead soon”, and then she hung up.
She let her phone drop from her hands, and then she made a fist. As hard as she could, she punched the mirror, shattering it. Pieces of glass shattered on the floor, and a few shards stuck out of her knuckles. She scrambled on the ground and found the biggest fragment of glass she could and picked it up, feeling warm blood run down her hands as she gripped it.
The hot water seared her as she climbed into the tub. As Melody submerged herself under the water, she thought she heard the faint sound of a police siren blare in the distance, which unearthed in her an old familiar feeling as she thought about how nice it would be if people would actually pay attention to her, and this gave her a warm sense of comfort as she brought the glass to her wrist.