When she had first heard the sound, it had been deafening. As the clock in the corner of the room slowly ticked, the sound of time passing became as loud of cannon fire in her ears, the long continuous beep faded into the background.
Blinking slowly, she felt herself step away from her heart. She couldn’t keep it, not any longer. She couldn’t live through the pain that resonated there, that grew and grew until it filled her heart to the point of breaking.
So she stepped away, leaving it there, lonely and beating.
As she turned away from the doctor that was still talking to her, she picked her bag up from the chair by the door. She could feel the stiff edge of the Bristol board shoving up into her armpit. She didn’t have to open her bag to see the Lost Dog poster inside. She saw that poster when she closed her eyes; it was the same poster she had been handing out for weeks.
She walked through the halls of the hospital like a zombie. She moved out of instinct alone, yet somehow, she managed to emerge outside into the sun.
Turning her face up, she felt the sun kiss her cheeks ever so gently before it disappeared all together. Dark clouds covered the sun up in an instant, a small drop of water dropping onto her cheek before she pulled her hood over her head and shoved her hands into her pockets.
Thunder boomed as the sky cracked open. Thick drops of rain fell, soaking her in an instant as she walked back to her car.
Headlights lit up for a moment as the car unlocked and she slowly got in. Despite the rain outside soaking through her cotton hoodie, she was in no hurry. Sliding into the driver’s seat, she sat there for a moment before putting the key into the ignition.
Her red car whined for a moment before starting; a sure sign that it would need to be looked at sooner, rather than later. It was a new whine, one she hadn’t heard before.
With the day she was having, that sound made perfect sense. She didn’t furrow her brow, she didn’t purse her lips, she simply accepted it as she put her car in drive and pulled out of her parking space. As she pulled out of the parking lot, she looked at the yellow slip of paper tucked under her windshield wiper.
Driving through the streets, she made her way home.
She drove past a dozen of posters taped to the light poles that lined the streets. Bright yellow, green, and pink boards with the same poster on it that was slowly being blurred as the rain seeped through the tape and made the color run together.
The garage door opened as her car approached it. She pulled in, turning her head slightly as she heard the sound of glass breaking and fiberglass splintering. Eyes blank, she looked at her passenger side mirror hanging from wires.
Grabbing her bag, she got out of her car. She didn’t bother to lock it as the garage door closed behind her. Walking through the door, she stepped into the hallway off the kitchen. Dropping her bag on the chair, she ignored all the posters sliding out onto the floor as the bag slumped over and hit the button on her answering machine.
As she slowly stripped, making her way to her bathroom, the messages droned on in the background. She didn’t know why she had pressed the button, urging those messages to play when she had absolutely no intention of listening to any of them.
Perhaps she had left her mind back at the hospital with her heart.
Completely naked, she walked into her bathroom and started the shower. Stepping in, she immediately sat in the tub, letting the water from her shower rain over her as she brought her knees up to her chest.
The sound of her messages still droned in the background.
Her skin ached. The water was so hot, it felt like a hundred small pins poking into her as she sat there, but she made no move to adjust the temperature. Closing her eyes, she rested her cheek on her knee and let it torture her slowly.
We really need you to come back to the hospital. I know you are going through a difficult time now, but there is some paperwork that needs to be attended to before-
Absentmindedly, she ran her hands down her legs. She could feel the sharp stubble growing in there.
Frowning, she grabbed her razor and a bar of soap.
Rubbing the soap slowly along her legs, she let it foam up before running the razor up her leg. Her mind was blank, without a single thought floating around in it. Instead, her eyes just followed the bubble trail down her shin as she pulled the razor up to the base of her knee.
As she shook the razor in the water pooling around her, her eyes caught on the pink water passing her to get to the drain. Her eyes nonchalantly rose, catching the small cut on her leg.
No flinch, no wince, no pain.
Here in the shower, as the scalding water poured over her, she was completely numb.
Numb to everything out there in the world.
Numb to all the feelings that flooded her abandoned heart, the thoughts that clouded her absent mind.
Staring at the cut, she watched, as it seemed dark red for a single moment before the water washed it away. Then it would be red again, only to once again be washed away, almost before she could catch sight of it.
We’re so sorry… The messages of her machine droned on, the sound of the shower streaming against her face making them sound like they were coming from so far away.
Looking at the blades of the razor, she pulled the heavy plastic frame away from them. It took some tugging, the blades cutting into her thumbs as she tried to break the blades free.
She didn’t need to ignore the sting of the blades slicing into her thumbs. She couldn’t even feel them.
When the razor finally broke apart in her hands, she heard one blade bang against the tiles of her shower floor as the other two were held in her hands.
They seemed so small.
Holding the blades in between her fingers, she slowly dug them into the flesh of her arms. She could feel the pressure as the blade broke through the skin. She trailed them up her arms before letting the blades join the other on the shower floor.
Lying down, she pulled her knees to her chest. As she closed her eyes, she could still hear the long beep from the hospital room, the sound of the tape being pulled, wrapped around light pole after light pole as she stared at the latest picture of her dog. Her messages droned on as the water ran red under her.
If you could just call me… Just… call me. Please. I’m afraid of what you might do… after everything that’s happened this week.