The rain is pouring hard and there’s breaking news that floods are now knee-high. The wind is blowing so strong it’s almost whistling and the trees swaying are visible through the moonshine. You’re approximately 30 miles away from her while she cuts her skin with a blade she bought from a convenience store. You can already imagine it tomorrow when you see her palms, her arms, her thighs: red swollen slashes from last night’s breakdown. Each text message you receive from her brings you more anxiety than the last one. Because you know that the in-between her messages, she’s sliding that blade against her body. You’re on the edge of your seat as if watching yourself in a suspense/thriller film that started with a girl who felt so deep under her problems and just wanted to feel better.
Three, four, five messages go unanswered. You now see yourself on a bus preparing for a three-hour journey to be with her. You know it would be too late when you get there. The blade is already stained with her blood but you still push through with the decision to see her. Maybe there’s something you can do. Maybe.
She keeps dropping your call one after the other. At least she’s still conscious, you think to yourself. Six, seven, eight messages. Finally, she replied. She feels hungry and her head is throbbing. You get off the bus and buy her some Advil and the mashed potato she loves. Then you start walking in foot-deep flood water, one hand holding what seemed like relief goods while the other hand await another message. Four flights of stairs mean nothing to you now as you leaped through the steps.
Inches away from the door, you hear her favorite series is playing on the TV. You open the door and see her all smiles while watching the show. You don’t let her see you worried so you just prepare her food and medicine. Make sure that everything is set and she has nothing else to do but to eat. She holds your hand and you feel her palm crossed out with red lines like unwanted words in a love letter. You can only ask why and nothing more. She can only sob and say nothing more. You hug her. You gently kiss the wounds not caring if the blood is still fresh because, at that moment, you wish you can suck out all the poison out of them. She holds you tighter. She cries some more. But you do not speak. Giving cliché advices won’t help. Saying anything won’t help. You just sit there in silence. Maybe she’ll talk in a minute or so. Maybe she won’t and that’s just fine. She muses for a hug; you put your arms around her and her tears on your shoulders.
For some people, what she did is absurd. What she did is stupid for most. You? You respect her because, God knows, at the point of breakdown, you yourself would do anything for your heart to stop hurting. But seeing the person you love with all the scars she inflicted on herself, you feel powerless to stop her pain. That no matter how warm your embrace is, no matter what crazy stunt you do to make her smile, only cutting through her skin could make her feel better sometimes. You would do cartwheels, mid-air splits, swallow three spoonfuls of ice cream if you could. She tells you to go away and leave her alone. She tells you she doesn’t need you. You gestured to throw away the blade but she contests. The blade gave her minutes of bliss and now you’re left to wash the wounds clean. Hope she doesn’t get an infection of some sort. She might need it in the future, she says. Some other day, she might not be able to handle the sadness again and only cutting would make her feel better.
Right there and then, you give in to the power of the blade. But you do not give up. The next time she wants to do it, you promise to hug her and kiss her until she feels better and hope it would stop her. If that doesn’t work, you’ll let her do it, not because you want her to hurt herself physically, but because you understand that she and you are only human desperate to feel better in dire circumstances. The next time she wants to do it, you promise to clean the wounds, pour alcohol while she pushes you away, wrap it with bandage, and buy her the hot fudge sundae you know she won’t finish. You tell her you love her and she thanks you for coming tonight. You let her rest her head on your chest. You stopped praying a long time ago, but on nights like this, you do for her to be better tomorrow. And you stay till the sun comes up. Tell her you love her and kiss her good morning.