Written for Traumaqueen
I hadn’t meant to talk to him.
He’d called and I thought it best to anwer.
In the hours before, I’d organised my belongings, such as they were. I lived in a tiny room in the back of someone’s house: who knows who. I lived in a bad part of town, wrong side of the river, but it was mine and I loved it.
My chest of drawers was screwed to the wall at the end of my single bed because there was no space for it on the floor; I had a wardrobe and a shelf otherwise and very little to put in them, and I liked it that way.
I was 17 and trying to be independent, trying to deal with my failures and the early crumbling of a plan which seemed sound. Monday to Friday I went to work as a clerical assistant in the office where my mum was a manager, trying to quietly complete my SYS qualifications after my early excision from school where I never really belonged, but desperately longed to. I had been banished, like a deeply disappointing Scottish ghoul, to the inner reaches of the North East, where my negative influence could be safely surrounded and buffered by middle-aged women with smiles and children and harmless chatter.
In the evenings I met with other angst-ridden, goth-dressed, dog-collared adolescents: we drank coffee, got drunk, had ill-advised relationships and blurred the boundaries of friendship on an almost nightly basis.
Everyone was “bisexual” for one reason or another – to piss their folks off; to piss their friends off; to get to the person they really wanted to fuck, perhaps. We had fun, in a fucked-up sort of way, almost competing to be the most bonkers, or the least succesful. Fortunately, comparing the percentage of your youth spent getting pissed in the Market Bar, pissing off the staff in Costa Coffee, or engaging in mostly-harmless street wars with Invernesian neds is an excellent way to judge your success in life or lack of it.
I’d walk home, alone, through areas I knew from my work: ill-advised places for a seventeen year-old girl in a bright blue studded dog-collar and a variety of outfits from that season’s most haute couture goth range of clothing (black baggy jeans with a black, ripped vest top, preferably made of lace and showing bra) to be.
I probably deserved the kickings I was anticipating but never received. I never had so much as a sideways glance from the people who could see a mile-off I didn’t belong in their territory. I think, no, I know I wanted that kicking. I desperately wanted them to jump me; punch me; kick me to the ground and finish the job.
After my evenings of coffee and group-misery, I went home begging for a kicking and when I didn’t receive it found myself having to improvise cut-off tights for sleeves to cover the scars on my arms.
I saw a psychologist: I expect she was very expensive- she did house-calls and everything.
I had a prescription: I never took it. It sat on my shelf and looked at me strangely until I was forced to hide myself away from its sight.
I had friends, family, stability and freedom of a sort: I was very lucky, very cared-for, but very unhappy and I couldn’t understand why.
In the end I had blood on my walls, on my sheets, on my razorblades, on my arms. Pills in my stomach.
I hadn’t intended to answer when he phoned to chat, but I did and I must have sounded strange.
“How are you doing” he asked. He was older, a good friend, more aware than most.
“Good, why’s that? What’s happened”
“Nothing, it doesn’t matter any more”
“… I don’t understand. Are you alright”
“It’s ok, none of it matters any more”
“What have you taken? I’m calling an ambulance. Stay there”
I cried, and begged and in the end accepted it was coming, and I must have wanted it to come or I would have pretended better. I sat on my bed, looked at the piles of belongings I had made, names and notes and explanations I wouldn’t need. I looked at the dishes I had washed, the bed I had stripped and the sheets I’d laundered.
I put the notes away and went outside to wait for the ambulance.