Purging the Demon

  

  I still feel the burn some times. I look down at my wrist and feel a fire burning under my skin. The scars have long healed over, at least the ones you could see on the outside. Some times there’s a trigger and it doesn’t take much to make me remember. Some times there is no trigger, just that burning sensation under my skin. There’s a demon trapped in there. A demon that every day tries to get out. Some days he barely fights me. Some days it’s all I can do to keep him inside and not open up that old wound once and for all to let him out.
I remember the first time he almost won. I was twelve.
I was sitting in English class. I don’t remember what piece we were discussing. I’d been tuning out a lot lately, lost in a world of shadows day and night. I asked to be excused to go to the bathroom. Instead of going to the men’s room I continued down the hall to the stairway. Three levels down to the school basement. The boiler room. I peeked into the janitor’s office to make sure Mr. Dave wasn’t in there. I tucked myself into a corner behind steel drums and a city of discarded cardboard. I took out my wallet from the perfectly pressed blue uniform pants. In the change compartment was the shining silver razor blade I had swiped from my father’s workbench. In the amber glow of the boiler room the edge shimmered. It looked magical. It looked like freedom. I let the razor dance across my wrist, gently at first then deeper and harder until I couldn’t tell one cut from the next, all melding together beneath the liquid sleeve of crimson. The lights began to dim and the boiler room began fading to a vacuous black. Freedom was almost mine. And then I heard the voices, coming from the stairway.
“No, not like this” I thought. “They can’t find me like this – before I’m finished.” In a panic I untied my navy blue necktie and wrapped it around my wrist. As I headed for the stairs the white embroidered S.J.S. quickly discolored to the color of a cheap burgundy. Up one flight and the next, there was no one there to meet me. The stairway was empty except for the sound of my own hollow footsteps. I continued up the stairs with the school tie tourniquet around my wrist and walked back into the classroom. I sat back down at my desk without saying a word. Everything seemed so silent until my classmate screamed. She was pointing to the red puddle on the floor beneath my dangling arm. It was the most enchanting red I had ever seen.

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5 thoughts on “Purging the Demon

  1. Should I worry that I identify with this so much? I’ve carried a razorblade in my wallet for a couple decades. My ‘escape plan’.
    I’ve had four situations that gave pain too much to bear; but somehow they passed and I am still here. Out of some sick sense of curiosity what else could possibly happen down the road.
    Hugs

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