The knife presses lightly against my chest, a little pressure, the release of pain, a tiny ruby appears at the tip.
Pressing a little harder and drawing the tip from left to right I look down as the furrow fills with blood like a red string. The pain pulls me back inside myself.
Two inches, stop. That’s enough, I feel better.
Lifting the blade, I feel sick.
I don’t know why it occurred to me that this was a good idea. Maybe I felt like I deserved punishment, that the pain would purchase some tiny bit of redemption, maybe it was just me trying to kill myself, but not having the will to actually carry it out.
I do know that it was really stupid and I’ll have a hell of a time explaining it to anyone tomorrow.
Putting a large band aid on it might help. Rummaging through my bathroom drawer, under the sink. Now the blood is running down my chest. What a mess, it’s not deep but it sure is bleeding. No band aids here, putting some underwear and then my navy blue robe. I head out of the bathroom in search of a large band aid, I think there might be one over the fridge.
Leaving the privacy of my room, my son looks up at me from his spot on the couch, his girlfriend sitting next to him, clothes askew, he quickly looks away. At least in his embarrassment I can slip past without question. His girlfriend won’t meet my gaze as well, wearing just a T-shirt pulled way down like a dress, I could have sworn she had on pants when they arrived.
Pulling the basket from atop the fridge it’s filled with cough medicine, bandages, unfinished bottles of drugs, most way expired. We had always kept it up there to keep it above the kids reach, now my youngest, taller than me, and probably fucking his girlfriend. I know the only reason he still comes over is because he knows that he’ll have more privacy here than at his mom’s. I usually drank myself to sleep early and then he has the run of the place, some father figure.
Pulling out an open box of large band aids from the basket, I remember that my middle son, perpetually needed band aids, he was the main user. However, he had died 10 years ago, So I rarely bought them anymore.
The box was empty, maybe there was one that fell out. I up-ended the badket onto the counter, the noise bringing a question from the living room, “everything okay?” Yeah, “I’m looking for a sleeping pill,” I lied.
Back to my search, finding a box of steri-strips I put those aside and started looking for the glue that you stick them on with, they should come in handy.
My dad, being a paramedic, then a nurse always kept me in first aid supplies. The basket contained the last sad remnants, he had been dead 9 years, dying less than a year from my son, heartbroken after seeing a grandchild pass, his prayer answered.
Don’t think about that, it’s what got you into this mess. Finding the little brown bottle and holding it up to the light, seeing only a tiny amount, it would have to do.
Heading back to my room, I took the steri-strips, the bottle of glue, some tape and a large 4 square box of gauze that had a few left. As I put the badket back on the fridge after scooping the rag tag contents back into it, I opened the freezer and took the half empty bottle of vodka as well, it had been a full bottle earlier.
Safely back into my room, I sat on the bathroom floor and started to cry, the memories of my son, my life, who knows, it’s all just so overwhelming.
I heard a tap on the door and my son asked, “dad, are you okay?” Fuck, “Yeah,” I croaked. “Because there is blood on the kitchen counter, are you sure? Want me to call Mom?” I could hear the concern in his voice.
“No, I’m okay, I just cut my finger on some broken glass.” Lying again, “I’ll be more careful.” After a bit, he said “I miss him too.”
Then I could hear his girlfriend say “that was a lot of blood, are you sure we should check on him?” My son just said, “it’s okay. It wasn’t that much, I’ll check on him later.” I heard her say, “your dad is always so sad.” The exchange just brought more tears, finally, cried out, for now I needed to pull it together.
Taking off my robe I could see that the cut had started to scab. But had run down and soaked the waistband of underwear. Using one of the gauze squares I tried to clean it up, giving up I started the shower. Stepping into the warm shower, I turned my chest to the stream, washing the cut in warm water using soap. The stinging felt good, a little penance for all my lies tonight.
Getting out, the blood running freely again I dabbed the last remnants from the tiny brown bottle in with a q-tip. The little applicator no longer reaching the level of the mostly dried up contents. Patting the area dry with the last gauze square I painted the top and bottom of the cut and the carefully peeling two strips, I closed the cut. Then using the tape and one of the less used squares I taped it on top.
Pulling on a clean T shirt and underwear I grabbed my frosty bottle of vodka and sat on my bed.
Hearing a tap on my bedroom door, from the other side I hear, “dad we’re going to bed.” I said “okay, see you in the morning” and thought how his mother would have a fit knowing that I allowed my 17 year old and his girlfriend to sleep over.
Looking at the bottle, I set it aside, deciding not to drink, I want to remember instead.
Cut throbbing on my chest, I feel the tears coming.
©The Autobiography of Mr. Perfect, 2013, written entirely on my iPhone.