Unwisely: Part 11

Another story continuation. Trigger warnings for relationship abuse and self-harm.

After the Bath

I was undressing.

I had taken my shirt off and was staring at the bruise on my left shoulder. It was blue at the center, fading to green and then yellow around the edges.

I stared at it. It would have been almost pretty if the reason for it wasn’t so ugly. The very center of it was still pink from where it had hit the corner of the bookshelf. From where he had pushed me into the corner of the bookshelf.

I stared at it.

On my dresser, my pocketknife — the one I kept for cutting bailing twine — lay closed. I stared at it, walked over to it, opened it.

I gazed at the steel blade, knowing it was sharp.

I should have been nervous, scared. Should have recognized that to entertain this idea was a sign of mental instability and unhealth, that something was prying away my finger-hold on reality. In actual reality, however, I was completely calm as I took the knife and cut a small testing gash — maybe two or three inches — along the inside of my forearm. It wasn’t deep, as my pressure hadn’t been great, and beads of blood slowly rose to the surface. I held my arm up, watched and waited as the blood ran down in straight lines, at near right angles to the cut itself.

The pattern and contrast of the red lines against the near white of my skin was mesmerizing. Like the bruise, it was like the colors of my injuries were separate features from the injuries themselves — from my body itself.

I don’t know if it was the sight of the blood, the pain from the cut, both together, or something else entirely, but it made me feel in control. Not pretend control like when I provoked a hit that I could see coming just so I could continue to see them coming — but like, in the big picture, I was actually in control of what happened to me. Deluded or not, I figured that I was going to hurt one way or another, but here, I controlled the pain: where it happened, when it came, how much it hurt. And while pleasure would hardly be the word to describe it, I did get a kind of grim satisfaction, knowing he couldn’t hurt me worse than I could hurt myself.

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