Author’s note: Contains abuse. I’m not sure how sensitive it actually is, but here’s a heads up anyway
They say it’s like death by a thousand paper cuts, abuse is.
Every beating just adds another, until they’re decussating, and full of pain, oh so full of pain.
Every slap across your face.
Every punch across your neck.
Every lash across your back.
Just one paper cut after another.
It isn’t stopping.
It won’t stop.
And then there’s the salt water. Poured on, drop after drop, litre after litre, gallon after gallon, until it’s seeping into your skin and drip, drip, dripping onto the floor.
The salt is the words.
And worse. So much worse.
Can you imagine living like this? Day after day? Week after week? Year after year?
Please don’t. It hurts too much. No one should go through this.
How do I know?
I’ll tell my story. It started a year ago. 12 months, 2 weeks, 3 days ago. That was the day my dad died. Suicide apparently, but I knew better. Know better. It was murder, but no one was arrested because the murderer was- is- clever. Very clever. He strung my dad up by a belt, not my dad’s for he only ever owned one- the one he was wearing. Of course, it wasn’t great evidence- still isn’t- and no one believed me. Not even my mum.
We lived together, just me and my mum. It was a good life. We got on. We worked together. But mum was lonely, and I was so often out the house working to help support us, I wasn’t much company.
Then she met Ty.
Tall, handsome, perfect Ty.
They met at a club. A club. How cliché is that? Ty had mum running after him from the start. He had me running from him.
Mum had been lonely- and yeah, I get that- but she didn’t have to go running after the first man who tried to get in her pants. At first, he seemed kind and was nice to her.
To me, he was controlling. And he didn’t just control her. He controlled me and what I did, what I said, who I talked to. If I didn’t do as he said he hit me.
Paper cut after paper cut.
I asked mum about him. She said I was stupid and it was my fault. If I did as he said, he wouldn’t have to hit me.
I think that was when our relationship started to crumble. It was a slow, but steady deterioration, at first, but then chunks the size of boulders started to fall. To her, I was the problem. To me, he was the problem.
It wasn’t just Ty, it was mum as well. Lovely, kind, caring mum, who used to kiss everything better and smile and suddenly the world would be alright again.
A year it went on like this. Ty asks- no demands- me to stop talking to this boy or that girl, and I carry on talking because, you know, they’re nice, they’re friendly and accept me for me. He hits, slaps, or on occasion punches me. My face turns purple and my mum- if she can be called that anymore. Aren’t they supposed to be caring?- would a) ignore it, b) tell me it was my fault, or c) hit me as well.
It changed on the 13th of April, the year after Ty moved in.
He got drunk. Very drunk. Rip-roaring, crazy drunk. So did my mum. I can’t remember how it happened. She probably said something. She can’t remember.
But then he hit her.
He. Hit. Her.
As in hospital hard.
I spent the night there, with Ty, who was acting the sympathetic and worried boyfriend.
I felt like vomiting.
One week later, she came home, all bandaged, and apologetic. She was sorry, for the inconvenience. Ty didn’t correct her. He just said she tripped and fell, hitting her head against the coffee table, which had one smashed and bloody leg. That was because he ripped it off and hit her round the head.
Gave her concussion and memory loss.
So we still live with the monster.
I couldn’t take it.
It came in little waves at first, the depression. They came at random moments to start with, but they became more and more frequent visitors. Then it stopped being a visitor. It became a permanent part of me. And no longer little waves. Big, big waves, that were turbulent and unforgiving.
I was sinking in saltwater.
It replaced the normalcy of life, and I became prone to breaking down. It was removing me from the world, and I couldn’t stop it.
Mum and Ty didn’t stop it.
They were the reason.
They are the reason.
Detached from the world and the people I used to love, I started to wander.
Just leave the house for hours on end.
Leave the troubles and the abuse behind.
All the paper cuts, which scarred me.
All the saltwater, that scared me.
Of course, mum and Ty did notice, but did they care? No, they did not. As long as they could drink, they did not care. If I was out at night, so much the better,
That’s why I’m here. In the library, late at night, just before closing.
I’m writing on the computer.
I was going to write goodbye to the people I loved but-
But I realised there was no one left.
I left mum.
Mum left me.
Dad left me.
My friends left when I became depressed.
The rest of my family is dead.
So instead of saying goodbye I wrote this.
The reason for what though?
My death. Suicide to be precise.
People will say it runs in the family, with my dad and all.
It took me a while to work out how to do it. Pills would be quick. Jumping would make a statement, but I decided on cutting.
For a year, I’ve been lacerated with paper cuts.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if I left with one final cut across my throat, leaving mum to wonder why?