A few nights ago I got drunk on gin, intending to listen to some Etta James with the volume turned up shelving books in the library of my new home. Somehow—and I don’t remember how—I ended up locked in the bathroom, having pulled the blades from my razor, covered all over with tears. The metal strips were thinner than I thought they’d be. I couldn’t tell which was the sharp side. I ran an edge along my finger. Blood. Sharp. I traced the fine, blue wires along my wrist with my fingertip. It looked so easy. I’m very pale. I smiled down at my wrists. I never thought I’d go out without a note but the fact of it is I wanted out, and out is out so screw the note.
My fiancé heard me crying. He slid his fingers under the door and I laid my fingers on top of his. I cried, unmoored in an eddy of heft and woe, perfumed by a fragrant sorrow only some of us ever smell. Silly how a depression can make a person so needlessly poetic. I opened the door. I let him in. I spent hours crying. At some point, I sat up from my supine slot between my love’s legs. I ran to the bedroom and I tore the curtains from their rod. “They’re called ‘luminettes,’” said my mother, “They let in just the right amount of light.” Just the right amount of light is something those of us with bipolar disorder chase like the tail of a windblown flag. My fiancé watched me tear down the luminettes. He watched them struggle against their own austere dignity to crumple in a neat fold against the floor. Just the right amount of light. I asked him to roll across them with me and I laughed and laughed at the absurdity of window treatments and their promise of just the right amount of light. People starve, did you know that? People fight each other for land. People cut each other for resources. People smash each other for wealth. I have come to love my creature comforts. My shower has an LED screen that tells me the exact temperature of the water, down to the degree. I know exactly when to stop brushing the curls from my hair and step under the spray. My preference is 114 degrees. Hot. My fiancé likes 102 degrees. I guess opposites attract. But despair is a luxury even the poorest of us can do without. So I abandoned my schemes to widen and empty those vital blue pathways in my wrists. I opened the door. I let my fiancé hold me while I babbled tearful nonsense—meaningless jabber he couldn’t begin to understand—into the bathroom tile.
Don’t lock the bathroom door. You have better things to do. If you did lock the bathroom door, unlock it. Just put your hand up and twist the lock. It’s not so bad out there. Well, that’s a lie, it’s shitty out there, but if you die drunk in your sweat pants in the bathroom, you’ll have been that sad little gargoyle that died drunk in her sweat pants in the bathroom (and you and I are both too vain for that and you know it). You’ll have wasted your chance to do good by a world that did good by you. So open the door. That crack in the jamb you fear so much might let in just the right amount of light.