The only things keeping me company were the brick walls and the spiders in the corners. Dragging the silver knife across the tip of my thumb, I watched the deep red beads form. Good. The painkillers were working. The light overhead flickered, a moth passing by. Squeezing the digit, I began writing three words on the dirty mirror in front of me. One letter after the other, I wrote with my own blood. After each word, I stopped bleeding, so I had to reopen the wound to continue.
“These are things I am not. I never was, nor will I ever be,” I quietly snarled to myself. The small clock nearby quietly ticked away in the dusty silence. My heart thundered in my ears. Was I shaking? Surely not. It wasn’t that cold… I gripped the knife in my hand tighter. The letters on the mirror began dripping. I watched some trickle down from the O to merge into the I and roll down to the A, splitting down the sides and dripping onto the bench top.
“Enough stalling,” I scolded myself and took a deep breath. I closed my eyes and inhaled again. I grabbed the knife with both hands. Steadying myself, I made my choice. No going back. Removing my left hand from the knife, I lifted my breast, my hand cold against it’s warmth. The disgusting lump of flesh with useless mammary glands inside it was an impediment. They needed to go. As long as I have these accursed things, I will forever be seen as someone I’m not.
“I’m fucking sick of this!” I hissed, bringing the knife to the soft skin and sinking the metal in. I could feel warmth, but no pain. Good. I pulled the knife along, opening myself up to the lukewarm air as red spilled out. Bringing the knife up, I cut away the unwanted flesh. Slowly, all that attached the thing to me was a section of skin.
“Hurry up and get off of me.” I put the knife down and swapped grip hands. I grabbed on hard and ripped away, the skin tearing off. Dropping the lump into the sink, I wiped the top word – Woman – off with a bloody hand. Picking the knife up in my left hand, I lifted the slightly smaller right breast up and stabbed into its underside. Slicing towards my sternum again, I slowly cut it off me as well. Dropping the other lump into the sink as well, I was dizzy. I dropped the knife as I began severely shaking. The light flickered again, no moth to bother it.
“Enough...” I said, wiping Sister off the mirror. The final four letters remained. Anger rippled through me. The wounds on my chest rippled black as tendrils poked out of the muscles. They burrowed into the skin edges and shimmered red, an uncomfortable prickling radiating from the open wounds. They slowly pulled the skin closed, creating more skin when the old wouldn’t stretch. A cold tingle ran down my spine as the tendrils retreated below the new skin.
I wiped Lady off the mirror as the tendrils marked along the initial cut lines with a deep red. They won’t let me forget. Nor would I want them to. I slumped to the floor, an adrenaline-fuelled dizziness rocking me. I tentatively put my hands to my chest. I felt my heart skip a beat.
“This is better. This is me.” I let myself smile. “And when these painkillers wear off, this will fucking hurt,” I laughed. An absolute joy and an absolute dread swelled together. “I am me...” I blinked, a tear slipping out. I sat there in a strange happiness, holding my chest. I truly would be a strange sight to see, but I didn’t care. I was happy.
I jumped as someone knocked on the door.
“You okay in there?” I sniffled and responded before standing up,
“Yeah.” With the lumps of flesh gone, I was okay. No, I was better than okay. I was no longer bound by them and what they made people think I was.
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