Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Cut

They are going to judge me, he thought as he sat there in the A+E waiting room. The receptionist had given him a cold appraising stare as he gave his details about where he lived and what the injury was. He felt like a dick head, his insides all cold and heavy.

She had left him. Simple as that really. She had gone off with someone else. She had said that it was not him, it was her; but that's what they all say when they are trying to being kind to your feelings. Feelings. He snorted to himself as he sat on the sticky plastic chair trying not to catch anyone's eyes. He had argued with her, begged her, pleaded with her, tried to turn himself inside out so that she would stay. She was nice about it but resolute, he was simply not the man for her.

The pain in his chest was real. Friends and family had said things like: 'there are plenty more fish in the sea' and that he was a 'great catch' and he would be sure to find someone new soon. 'Time is a great healer' was a phrase that was bandied about like a cheap rubber ball. It's not that they didn't care, rather they didn't understand quite how much this hurt. He was certain that others had had their hearts broken but nothing like this.

Round and round like blue bottles in a glass jar his thoughts went. Round and round without resolution or solace. Like flies in a jar his thoughts kept butting up against an invisible wall where he could not be released from this jail. The pressure of his emotions kept building up inside him, in his chest, in his heart and in his brain until he felt like he was going to explode.

Upon reflection, he could not recall where he had got the blades from. They were Gillette Safety Blades for one of those old fashioned razors that you used to see in the 60's and 70's where you just changed the blade and not the whole razor. Looking down at the metal shard in his hand he felt nothing, not inside or out. He watched himself draw the blade over his skin and a red line appear. He looked on as he did it again and again, feeling nothing; seeming distant to the immediate situation. Tears of blood rolled off his arm and dripped onto the kitchen surface forming roses of scarlet. Observing without compassion as he noticed that it had gone through the layers of skin and into the fat tissue; in places he recognised the maroon stripes of muscle. He could see his muscles just by pulling at his skin, it was rather an odd feeling, a tad unusual. Still he felt nothing, no pain.

He couldn't recall when he stopped cutting but he must have done sometime. The hot sensation alerted him to something having changed. Then, pop, like a bubble bursting all of his sensations came alive again. Holy fuck, it hurt. Ouch. Looking in horror at the wasted state of his arm he grabbed the tea towel to stem the bleeding. Tears sprang to his eyes. Unable to blink them away he just let them fall onto his cheeks and his makeshift bandage. Gulping at the air a sob sprang forth from his chest, followed by another. It was as if the grief had been released from its' glass coffin and was escaping through his tears and howls. This guttural expression of loss. It was the loss of his hopes and dreams as much as his heart that was making him blubber.

"Michael Rogers?" called a business like voice from across the room.

He looked up to see a petite nurse with blond hair and brown eyes. Creaking up from the stagnant position his wait had left him in, he edged across the room, weaving in between chairs. A hot flush of embarrassment crawled up his neck as he kept his eyes firmly rooted to the floor . He mumbled and muttered answers to the questions she asked, dreading the moment she took the wrappings off his arm.

"Ok, let's have a look at your arm shall we?"

Expecting derisive comments like 'now that was silly' and 'why did you do something so stupid' he sat tensely. Then, being brave, he looked up at her face and saw her scowling; appraising his wounds. 

Without tilting her head she lifted her eyes up to see him and said, "That looks sore, let's get you something for the pain and then we can see about getting this stitched." 

She finished her sentence with a warming smile that made him feel ok. It made him feel like he was worthwhile, that he mattered; she wasn't going to judge him. It dawned on him that there might be a glimmer of hope that he would get through this heart ache and out the other side.

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  1. WOW, you captured the feelings of a broken heart so well over here, and I love it that a man is the main character, and not a woman.

    Beautifully written :)

    Rebel xox

    1. Humbled as ever by your kind words, thank you x

  2. A broken heart causes people to do strange things. Living with a nurse I've heard about more than a few things folks have done to themselves that shocked me. As side note I liked and found it interesting that the cutter was a male. So often when the media discusses it things are spun in terms of an issue for young women.

    1. Michael, thank you so much. Men cut nearly as much as women from my research and they are just as vulnerable to having a broken heart too.

  3. That was absolutely riveting. Honestly one of my favorite reads. You captured that desperate emotional wasteland so perfectly. Amazingly done.

  4. now that was beautifully written. poignant, painful, perfect in understanding.

  5. Rachel,

    You write with such understanding of the subject in view. I ached for him. I so want to read more of his journey..

    Pea ~x~

  6. Well I guess my comment is going to stand out here as I found this piece deeply disturbing and was uncomfortable with the implied romance of the situation. I think the young man written about here is deeply damaged in ways that a broken heart does not account for. I don't believe that most people pinning for a lost love do this and if they do then I truly believe it is a sign of a far deeper issue/problem.

    The writing is really good I just find the connection between the subject matters disturbing


    1. I want to make my readers think, and it is only fair that my readers make me think. Molly, you know me well enough to know that I did not intend any implied romantisism of the subject matter, but you did make me think and reflect about my writing.

      Is Michael Rogers broken? I think he is, I think he is a flawed human being. I deliberately did not disclose his age because deliberate self harm of this nature is a maladaptive coping strategy. It is seen to be more common in younger people than older folk who have learnt to survive the slings and arrows of life. Perhaps Michael is a teenager, perhaps he is older - I am not sure myself.

      People do cut. It is common, more common than many think. I knew that writing about this topic would be controversial. And if I am to court controversy by writing about uncomfortable topics, as I will never be able to get it 'right' for everyone, then I must be able to roll with the punches. Be able to take that either my readers will not 'see' it from the perspective that I have written it, or they will bring something entirely new to the table that I had not thought of. I must, however, respect what you say. If we do not respect other people perspectives then we are at a loss and no discussion can be created.

      My only apology that I will make is if I caused offence; it was unintentional.

      Thank you once more Molly for your comments, I will take them on board.

      Rachel x

    2. I think it is interesting that in my comment I used the term 'young man' and yet as you say you have not identified him as so. I shall have to ponder why my brain made that jump.

      I was not offended in the slightest and I completely agree that challenging ourselves and our readers through our writing is such an important part of what we do. I liked the challenge you set me and I want away asking questions of myself. This is a good thing.

      I hope my comment didn't upset you. As you say we know each other well and I felt free enough to speak openly and with honesty here. I think that is a good thing no?


  7. It is very interesting how we all see different things in the same piece of writing. For some reason, I don't know why, I found myself thinking of this man as being older. I also understood the emotion, the heartbreak. I have been there. Sad that cutting was the release mechanism he chose, but there is always something that finally breaks through and makes us feel again.


  8. Like Molly I was also disturbed at the parallels within the writing, however, I was also entirely riveted by it.

    It is certainly a piece of writing to make the reader think.

    ~Mia~ xx

  9. I feel that the precise outlet for M's distress, whilst being the key to the drama in the piece, is less relevant to the underlying message of it than the depth jof that distress and the fact that, as Rachel says, society tends to assume that men are not so prone.

    Furthermore, devastating as self-harm may be, at least it exposes his turmoil for all to see, and act on. Arguably that could be viewed as preferable to the cast numbers who continue to internalise their negative feelings and create lifelong internal scars.

    Your friend (and Molly's!)
    Roy x

  10. Oops - meant vast numbers, not cast