Chrysanthemum George (otherwise known as Chrys) is drowning in a world of self-harm, suicide and dark thoughts. Recovery has never been her plan but when a new face arrives on the scene will Chrys have any choice in the matter? A story about the darkness eating at a generation and the difficult route out of it.


1. Chapter 1, Part 1

I’ve always felt rain was more than just a downpour of water. Rain is the physical representation of a metaphor about life. You can either allow the rain to cleanse you or you can let it drown you. Life is like the rain, it can both cleanse you and keep you afloat, or it can drown you. It’s amazing how long people can hold their breath when they’re underwater. Yet, in the end they can only hold their breath for so long. That’s when they drown.

There is nothing even slightly humorous about drowning but there is something ironically entertaining about how one type is seen so easily by others whilst the other leaves the person to drown unseen by those around them. It is not hard to see the oxygen and life racing past a person’s lips as they sink beneath the surface of the water, however people still struggle to see the life filtering out past another’s lips as it mingles with the whispers of just two words, ‘I’m fine’.

People drown all the time though. The easiness of the eradication of life would shock so many and yet the drowned and the drowning are testament to the simplicity of death. You are dead long before you take your last breath. There is no kiss of life, no hands pumping furiously on your chest or the electric surge of defibrillators shocking your system. There is only the sound of people surrounding you and prodding you with meaningless questions that just make the suffocating depths press in even tighter on you.

Unfortunately, my school felt otherwise and so I was assigned a counsellor where it is not only the droning voice that tumbles from her mouth in an unchecked waterfall of nonsense, but the clicking of her pen, the rummaging scrapes of her hand in her numerous bags and the exaggerated false clicks of empathy as she bounces her tongue off the roof of her mouth that continue to drown me.

We sit in a room that is unused by students, teachers and even the vermin I am sure scrounge around the poorly cleaned school. The only clean surfaces are where dishevelled and aged books have fallen from their stacks to fall onto desks where they remain stranded and unwanted. In these dull and dreary sessions with my counsellor I often wish she would hand me the same fate. I would love nothing more than to be left here alone than to listen to the incessant and endless buzzing of her meaningless chatter.

I watch as her nails dance down onto the grimy desk we’re seated at. Later on she’ll realise that her manicured nails have been tarnished with the horror of dust and she’ll frantically call her manicurist to book an immediate session. I’m guessing her nails will be pink next week, simply because it’s been almost a month since they were last that horrendously blinding colour.

“So, Chrys, how have you been feeling this week?” She asks, pen poised over her clipboard.

Annoyance seeps into my chest with ease as I hear my name roll uncertainly off her tongue. When I’d first met her she’d asked me to tell her a little about myself and naïve to the fact that she really couldn’t care less I’d told her. I’d told her my name was Chrysanthemum, I was sixteen years old and I wanted to die. I’d barely finished saying my name when she began to laugh. Not at my problem, no, but apparently the unusual name had sparked a long lost hint of humour. It was obvious to see why; she had such a horrible laugh. Though, to this day, I still haven’t figured out whether the sound had simply been distorted by the weight of the heavy foundation on her face.

I deign not to answer, instead focusing my gaze on my hands in my lap though they do little to command my attention, even with the endless scrawl of homework written across them in smudged blue biro. My unfortunately poor memory had allowed me to forget my planner this morning. In my defence it is only Monday and so even the majority of my teachers had forgotten their papers for classes, instead choosing to pass their ill teaching on in the way of homework to ‘catch up’.

So far today I have received Geography, Physics and Maths homework. The latter will be an impossible task and so I’ll just come up with another harebrained excuse that I’m sure my maths teacher will swallow, albeit with some difficulty. Unfortunately, as much as I knew these counselling sessions gave the school the false impression that my problems were under control, it also meant I missed RE and knowing my teacher she would not be best impressed. I love RE, but apparently my rapidly dwindling attendance to my RE lessons were not impressing my teacher, drawing out remarks on my ‘miraculous’ appearance in those lessons I did turn up to. Ah, double-edged compliments, the very bane of my existence.

With an exaggerated and raspy cough I was drawn back into the world of facing my problems, positive thinking, condescending remarks and ‘helpful advice’ that would help me build a strong foundation for my recovery. Quite frankly, I’d rather just bury myself in the concrete and be done with it than listen to this. The only saying that has made any sense in my life is about a horse and water. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. The same goes for people like me. You can lead a person to recovery, but we need to want to recover to actually do so.

“Chrys, have you tried any of the coping strategies we thought of last week?” She asks.

That’s another thing right there that makes me laugh. They give you a pen and some paper and try to wheedle some positive thinking out of you in the form of ‘coping strategies’. Honestly, if it was that easy to come up with them don’t you think I’d have been ‘cured’ almost straight away? Here, hold a piece of ice in your palm and squeeze it. I’m sorry, but have you tried cleaning the puddle of water up after it’s melted in your hand? It's a pain and a nuisance.

I just shrug my shoulders. I know I’m being taciturn and ticking all the boxes of a moody teenager but it’s better than actually opening my mouth. She always gets overexcited and thinks she’s getting through to me. The only thing she’s getting through is my patience.

Of course, now it’s her turn to get annoyed.

“Really Chrys, what’s the point in all of this if you aren’t going to try?” She asks, obviously ticked off.

That’s when I smile, a smile that is coated heavily in my favourite shade of lipstick, sarcasm. Sarcasm will forever and always be the only thing I wear on my lips, unless of course they’re getting dry and I need to whip the lip balm out.

“That’s exactly it, there is no point.” I say before shouldering my bag and walking out just as the bell rings.

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