Addiction

Submitted into Contest #140 in response to: Write a story inspired by a memory of yours.... view prompt

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High School Teens & Young Adult Inspirational

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

“May I use the bathroom?”

I waited with my raised hand for Mr. Westeadt to excuse me at the same time during his history class for the nth time. I never took more than a few minutes, so he was never suspicious of me doing anything bad like doing drugs or skipping class. He sighed and gestured to the door. I hurried out without my backpack or any of my belongings that weren’t already in my jeans’ pockets. I never took them; I already had everything I needed. I made sure nobody was in the hall as I stepped into the solitary unisex bathroom. Couldn’t let other people see me. Couldn’t risk getting caught. And the unisex bathroom was closer to the classroom than the girls was, so win-win for me.

I didn’t look at the mirror as I washed my hands. I never did. Too afraid to see my expression. I dried my hands and emptied my pockets of most of their contents. Phone, cloth bandage, medical tape, a random piece of gum that my friend Ashley gave me that morning, and the razor.

I set them on the counter and began to unbutton my jeans when I stole a glance up at the mirror. My reflection stared back at me, looking disappointed and sad. That was extremely odd. I didn’t think I was making that face before I looked into the mirror, but I ignored it. It wasn’t important. I looked down to where I should see myself unbuttoning my jeans in the mirror, but my hands were at my sides. My heart stopped when I saw the reflection shake her head sadly. I freaked and fell backwards, crawling until my back was flush with the wall behind me. I stared at the face- my face- that looked down at me on the floor.

The last item that I had taken out of my pockets fell off the sink and rolled towards me: the pill bottle that contained the Vraylar prescribed to me on the label. It was fuller than it should have been, considering how long ago it was refilled by the pharmacy. My reflection, if I can even describe it as a reflection, looked down at the bottle before looking back up at me.

I struggled to stand back up, using the wall as support. My face, or “it’s” face, I think…maybe “her”? I don’t know what to call the reflection, but the face I saw gave me a small smile and pointed to the bottle on the blue tile. I reached a shaky hand down and picked it up. She (?) pointed down towards the sink, or the faucet I suppose. I slowly approached and placed the bottle back onto the white porcelain. She gestured for me to open it and take one. I shook my head and quickly shook my jeans off, reaching for the razor. She slammed her fist against the other side of the glass, but only a little thud sounded.

I avoided her gaze as I stared down at the hundreds of scabbed lines, all varying lengths, which littered the front of my thighs and stopped a few inches above my knees. I made one more little line no longer than a couple inches a quarter of the way down. I sighed at the feeling of relief it gave me, how it fed my addiction and sedated my craving. I looked up at her just as I was about to make another, and she…she was crying. At me? For me? For us? But why did it matter? Why did it hurt when she looked at me like that? Why did I even care? Like she ever even made herself known before now.

“Well, what do you want from me,” I yelled. “You’re never here to stop me any other time. Why the fuck do you care now?” She opened her mouth as if she tried to speak, but I couldn’t hear anything and shook my head in confusion. She cried harder.

I put the razor back on the sink and bandaged both thighs, even though I only did one in a tiny spot because she had distracted me. I rushed to put my jeans back on. I needed to hurry back to class before my absence was concerning, and I planned in my head to just do a few extra lines when I took my daily “bathroom break” in Miss Healey’s class later. But when I looked up again, she was furiously crying. She forcefully pointed at the bottle again, urging me to take some. I lost it as I grabbed the bottle and shook it in front of the mirror.

“You think this will help? That isn’t even why I do it anymore. You think I will get better from these like they’re fucking magic?” My voice was practically a scream. I only then noticed the clear wet drops on the sink. She was making me cry now. I never cried when I fed my addiction. “God! You just..! You aren’t helping! You’re just-!” Anger overwhelmed me and I threw the bottle onto the tile and slammed my fists against the glass, where two spiderwebs grew from the spots. “You’re never here for me, dammit!”

I fell to the floor in a crying fit, going into a fetal position and rocking back and forth. I sat there for what felt like hours, tormenting myself by desperately trying to figure out why I couldn’t stop. I never cared to wonder why before. She made me ask myself. She made me look for the reason I kept drawing my blood. It hurt to realize the answer. I had none. Not a single one.

I felt cylindrical plastic tap my side. I looked down at the bottle, still sobbing and picked it up through my blurred vision. I struggled to stand again and looked at her. She put her small hand against the broken glass and nodded. I threw the cap off and spilled four pills, the necessary daily dose, onto my palm. I shoved them into my mouth and took a drink from the faucet. Raising my gaze, I saw her hand and tear-stained smile. I placed one of my bleeding hands to hers and felt the warmth emanating from her through the cold mirror.

“Please,” I whispered, “just…please don’t leave me. Please.”

She shook her head and silently mouthed the words “I won’t.”

I picked the razor back up and glanced at her finger pointing toward the toilet. I took a few shaky steps toward it and threw the small piece of metal inside. It took much more strength than I want to admit to push the lever down and watch it swirl away with the water. I walked back over to the mirror and slowly put my phone, bandage wrap, medical tape, and the stick of gum in my pockets. I picked up the bottle and stared at it for a while. I heard a tap tap from the mirror and finally placed the orange plastic in my back pocket, covering it up with my baggy sweater once again. I took a few paper towels from the metal dispenser and attempted to dry the last of my tears and blew my nose. I made eye contact with her through the mirror once more.

“Thank you,” I barely managed to say through my blurry vision. She gave me a loving smile.

---

After confiding in one of my closest friends who knew of my past addiction, he told me to submit this story I write. He told me that this would be healing for me; that sharing my story was important and effective in my journey; that this will solidify in my mind that I have finally gotten through and beaten the addiction that ruled my life for eight years. I still feel the tiniest bit of desire every once in a while, when I look at the hundreds of scars on my legs, and I most likely will feel that need for the rest of my life; through writing this I have realized that I am strong enough to never go back. Because of that, and because of the good that writing this has done for me, I dedicate this story to everyone who has been affected by any method of self-harm, directly or indirectly.

April 08, 2022 17:03

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3 comments

Ruth Smith
14:08 May 17, 2022

Wow. Powerfully written.

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Learn English
13:16 Apr 14, 2022

nice man

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