My hands started to shake and the lighter fell to the floor.
"Everyone has their baggage. This is mine," I whispered.
Zoe reached out to touch my shoulder. She gently turned me to face her. She took my hands in hers and looked into my eyes.
"It doesn't matter," she said. "Okay? You're different now."
"Am I? I was addicted to the knife, as well as the drugs. And the knife I used for longer. Now all the blood in my veins is dry and dusty so there's no point doing it anymore. But that doesn't mean I don't want to."
She looked at me for a minute or so, before hugging me. It was awkward and I didn't know how to respond so I just put my arms around her. There was something in the room that I hadn't noticed earlier. There was an envelope on the desk. It had my name on it. Zoe let go of me and stepped back.
"I'm going to stay in here for a bit. I need... I need to think," I said shakily.
She nodded hesitantly but left the room anyway. She gave me one last look before she went downstairs. I slowly shut the door and sank to the floor, leaning against the wood. I knelt up and grabbed the envelope. I looked at my name, written on the old paper. It was that swirly handwriting. I loved that handwriting but it hurt my heart to look at it. It was my mum's writing.
My hands started to shake again as I peeled the envelope open. I took out the letter inside.
My dear Ace, I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am... for everything. It was my fault I wasn't there to protect you, to listen to you. I was never there when you needed me. I got too wrapped up in my work, I can see that now. I guess I just didn't want to come home at night. I didn't want to come home to a house where it smelt of ecstasy and a husband that only wanted to have sex. If I'd been there, I might have realised you were doing it too. I couldn't even recognise your scars for what they were. Why am I so stupid? Why am I such a terrible mother? What is there about Alistair that I don't know? Would either of you even tell me if I asked? How can one person fuck up so massively? All I ever wanted was to have a good job, a nice house, and a family. I got all of them but not in a way I ever imagined... It's my fault you've run away, I know it is. I didn't stop him, I should have, Oh, Lord, I should have. Now you're gone. Will I ever see you again? I do hope so. I love you so much. I'd give up anything for you.
Tears were rolling down my cheeks. I put the letter down on the floor. I closed my eyes, letting the tears fall. I didn't care that they were soaking into my hoodie. All that mattered was that there was no one to see me like that. I opened my eyes and tipped my head back.
I picked up the lighter and looked at the pile of fags. The ecstasy had only ever been the one thing that could calm me down. I reached out for one of them and lit it. I took a drag of it and within seconds, I felt better about everything. The effect wasn't as massive as it had been when I was human but that didn't matter.
In the Bible it says that God is our rock. Well, in my head, my rock was the drugs. It always had been. I didn't want it to be but it was. And I'd fallen against it once again.