Open Wounds

Fiction Apr 17, 2020

Tina watched the raindrops trickle down her window as she sat there, watching the busy city at work. After all, there was only so much she could do to hide the sorrow. She could feel it coming back any minute. Somehow, the deeper she tried to bury it, the faster it dug its way out.

She got up from her sofa and stretched her toes for the first time in hours. There was still a day before she had to interact with people. Till then, she could do what she wanted, and what she really wanted, was a drink. All her refrigerator had was some leftover pizza, a can of tomato juice and half a bottle of wine.

Great, she thought, All I have is the crappiest amount of the mildest drink. She half-heartedly pulled out a glass and emptied most of the bottle into it. She then walked over to her couch, turned on the TV, and flipped through the channels, hoping to find something intriguing enough to distract her.

I’m not an alcoholic.

I’m not a terrible person.

I’m not a sociopath.

Then what is wrong with me?

She hit the button again, and the screen changed to an image of a band, with smooth jazz emanating the speakers. She casually swiped her hand across her face, wiping a bead of sweat off her forehead. The couch was warm when she sat herself down, and the cosiness of it all brought her a little comfort. She stretched out her legs and placed them on the coffee table and closed her eyes, letting the music take over her mind, letting it wash away every bit of pain she tried to scrub away every day.

A loud crack sounded as she felt a sharp pain in her foot all of a sudden. She opened her eyes to see the glass of wine, cracked, shards digging into her foot. But that didn’t bother her. What bothered her was the wine, spilling over the carpet, staining her floormat. And her blood, trickling down her foot, right into the wine.

She stared at it as it fell.

Drip.

Drop.

A wave of nausea came over her, as she stood up and ran to the bathroom, ignoring the pain in her foot. She didn’t bother pulling her hair back as she coughed up the few slices of pizza she had eaten earlier. She paused for a second, taking in a breath of fresh air. What greeted her instead was the overwhelming odour of bleach, and she retched again, vomiting until there was nothing left to flush out.

Why won’t my body flush out the one thing that I want flushed out.

She felt tears stream down her cheeks as she clutched her legs and leaned against the bathroom wall. Everything felt numb, it had been that way for a while, but the tears always found their way out eventually. They came in waves, giant, leaping waves, and left the shore dry, devoid of feeling.

She grabbed the shower curtain and pulled herself up, catching a glimpse of her tear stained face in the mirror. She looked like hell, her eyes were puffy, her hair tangled, and there was a streak of blood or wine across her face; which one, she couldn’t tell anymore. She turned the lever and let her tap run a she splashed her foot with water.

The smell of bleach made her gag, but she washed away the blood and picked out the pieces patiently, wiping away the crusty flakes of dried blood from her foot. She applied some ointment to her foot and relaxed, letting the coolness of it soothe the pain. She slowly made her way to the living room and mopped away all the mess that she had made, the same way she had done just two days back.

She had mopped.

She had scrubbed.

Eventually it had relented.

And it did so again. She looked around the clean room, not a speck in sight. It was almost blissful. A clean slate. She had a bigger problem to deal with now. The last of her wine had been downed by her mop. There was nothing left, no shield to protect her, no blanket to cover her. This time, she was really on her own.

And so, the flashes came back. Even though she had thrown away everything that could remind her of it, she couldn’t forget. The fight. The crack of the table as his punch landed on it. The shattering of an antique vase. His eyes, his raging red eyes, as he ran to her in blind rage. And her hands, of course, her fragile hands, grasping the knife with everything she had, standing over him, his shirt bloody from the hole she had opened in his body, and the one she had opened in her heart.

She didn’t remember anything that happened after. She remembered opening her eyes, and her house was the same as it always was. But there was something missing. Not him, that was obvious, it was something else. A feeling perhaps, or a melody.

But she remembered how it ended. She remembered his face, his eyes still open, wild, accusing, screaming out the crime she had committed. And that’s all she saw as he faded further away, floating into the background, the waves taking him away.

-Nidhi Sura

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