I didn’t think.
I just left. Passed the entrance, ignored the the car in the garage waiting for someone and went down the street. I was probably two intersections down when my brain snapped back on.
My phone was vibrating. I knew who it was but I didn’t pick up.
I wanted to scream, cry, to break something, I wanted to punish myself for being so dumb and pathetic. Instead I chose to wallowed in silence and self disgust.
My phone buzzed again… I couldn’t face Kenzie.
The headquarter wasn’t that far from home, maybe two miles, it was doable and the weather didn’t affect me in the slightest. So I walked, past the non-residential area, across knik arm and through most of downtown until I reached the south western side of it.
I came home and my mother was already sleeping, I snuck into my room and lied down, watching the streetlights on my ceiling.
My phone buzzed for what felt like the hundredth time.
I didn’t want to pick up. I didn’t want her to be angry… But I didn’t want her to not be… I was just too pathetic to deserve being her… Whatever we were…
I closed the phone and sat up on the bed. Everything hurt so much… I needed it to stop. I knew how...
Bottom drawer of my dresser. In an old empty box of tampons. Gauze, medical tape, tissues and razors blades… Everything I needed to make the pain go away for now. I removed my vest and I grabbed the blade, putting it against the skin of my left arm...
I started counting and with every cut, the pain faded just a little further into numbness. Leaving my pained, bleeding left wrist as the sole feeling remaining in my entire being.
I cleaned the blood with tissues and wrapped my wrist in gauze before adding the medical tape. I shoved everything back in the box, hiding it at the back of my drawer and then flushed away the stained tissues, destroying the evidence.
When all was done, I crashed down on my bed and dozed off quickly, only sleeping an hour.
Hours later, when my mom came to get me, all I wanted to do was hide under the cover for the next month and die...
“Paige, it’s time to get up and go to school.” She said, shaking me lightly from my catatonic state.
“I don’t want to…” I muttered, my face buried in one of my pillows..
“Are you feeling sick?” She asked, there was almost a hint of worry in her tone.
“No…” I didn’t have the motivation to even try lying.
“Then get your butt out of bed and into the shower, Paige Louise Flores! You’re not breaking your probation because you’re feeling moody today.” Using my full name was her way of being authoritative. Still I didn’t protest any further. I picked some clothes and hid my left arm underneath. I didn’t want her to see it. I couldn’t handle an argument…
Once in the bathroom, I hid the gauze in a discarded plastic bag in the garbage and buried it at the bottom of the bin. I inspected the cuts, cleaned it and applied some antiseptic ointment and checked the rest of my body before I jumped in the shower. I had some pretty nasty looking bruises that were beginning to form.
I hopped into the shower setting it to cold. Thanks to my ability, the freezing water didn’t give me even the slightest chill. I tried not to think of anything; just going through the motions of shampooing, massaging and rinsing.
When I got out, I mechanically brushed my hair into a semblance of acceptability and got dressed in a long sleeved shirt, jeans and my trademark hoodie. It’s weight and familiarity was another reassuring element of my routine.
I didn’t feel like eating, instead I sat at the kitchen table and absently watched the news, forgetting everything as soon as it was said until my mom decided to kick me out.
I tucked my hands and head in the safety of my hoodie and dragged myself to school, careful not to make eye contact with anyone. I sat down at my assigned desk in Ms. Renold’s world history class and scanned the room.
Kenzie was already there and she was staring at me. My heart sunk, I was so dumb and weak for leaving the previous night… I looked away from her and focused on the empty blackboard, waiting for the teacher to begin her lesson. An hour and a quarter of pretending to listen to a lecture about the industrial revolution later, I was a in english class, repeating the same scenario, not really listening to the teacher, just wallowing in my dread...
I’d have to interact with Kenzie eventually and I didn’t know what to say… How to explain... I didn’t want to lose her but I was too lost to understand myself or what to do… The clock seemed to hurry to hit noon.
Fifty minutes before lunch… Thirty… Twenty… Ten… Two...
When the the bell announced lunch time, I didn’t get the chance to get up before Kenzie cornered me at my desk, she was done with shooting me stares and now it was time for the dreaded confrontation. I wanted to run away and hide somewhere in shame, but I knew she wouldn’t let me.
“Can we talk about what happened last night?”
I quietly nodded and she guided me opposite the flow of students, away from the cafeteria and toward the science lab. She checked to see if anyone was there.
I was about to open my mouth, try to explain, give an excuse or anything but she started first.
I hadn’t expected that.
“Look, I did something to trigger you and I’m sorry for that. I didn’t mean to hurt you and I don’t want to do it again… I like you Paige, I mean really like and not just as friends...” I couldn’t help but notice how tired she sounded, she probably hadn’t slept.
“You didn’t hurt me...” I feebly protested.
“You ran away from me in a panic, Paige. That’s not normal… And I’m thinking maybe you got hurt and I made you relive it or that you didn’t want this and it took you some time to assert yourself, I don’t know what happened. Please help me understand...”
I leaned on the nearest locker, burying my face in my hands rubbing the fingers over my forehead. “I don’t know, one moment it was alright and the next I got scared, I felt like I was losing control and that things were snowballing… I panicked and by the time I snapped out of it I was away and didn’t know what to do anymore, I was too chicken to come back or answer you.”
I slid down back to the locker and sat on the floor. Kenzie sat down next to me, maintaining a noticeable gap between us.
“Paige, Do you even like girls?”
“Yeah… I’m a lesbian.” I hadn’t ever came out to anyone that mattered.
“Do you like me?” She sounded almost pleading, looking down at her knees and not toward me. The question jump started another wave of anxiety.
“Yes.” I didn’t have the courage to speak it above a whisper. It took every ounce of strength I had for my hand to find hers, gently squeezing it. She in turn took my hand. “You’re the first person I ever came out to… Well second, Actually third if you count our therapist but she and the first girl don’t really count.”
“What happened with her? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
“There was this girl at the summer camp I went to, her name was Sasha, on the last day, I told her I liked-liked her and she told me I was gross and that god hated me… It wasn’t exactly coming out, I just kind of blurped by feelings out...”
“Well, I don’t think you’re gross and I don’t think anyone who know you could hate you.” She said, leaning over to me and opening her arms. “Can I?” I nodded. Kenzie wrapped her arms around me, at first gently but then tightly. I hugged her back, feeling a confusing mix of pain, happiness, stress and calm all at once.
We stayed like that for a moment.
“So, where does that leave us, Paige? Do you want the two of us to be a thing?”
“I’m scared, this is a lot of different feelings and I don’t know how to detangle them… But I like you. I’ve liked you for a while, I was just too scared that you might not be gay, that you’d react badly to tell you... But I know that I want to be with you.”
“I’m actually bi, not gay. Paige, do you want to be my girlfriend?” She asked, smiling.
“I’d be happy to.”
She jerked around a bit, stretching her legs. “Help me get up?”
I got up and gave her a hand, she didn’t let go of my hand and we came face to face, standing inches apart, I could feel her breath. I put a hand on her shoulder and leaned in a little closer, she met me halfway, my second experience with kissing Kenzie went differently; restrained, slow but nonetheless sweet. For the time being, there was nothing left but her presence, the discrete sweet smell of her deodorant and the softness of her lips on mine. When she pulled away, it took me a moment to let her go, leaving our hands interlaced.
“You want to get some lunch?” She asked.
“I’d love to.”
Still holding me by my hand, we went to the cafeteria together.