The Scars on My Wrists (Nanowrimo 2013)

After struggling with depression and a suicide attempt, Marie decides to take a Gap Year to Italy and Spain. She falls in love, and more importantly, changes her entire life.
Edited for movellas, in its poorly written state. R rated for lots of swearing, cutting, and sexual language. TW: (recollection of) sexual assault, cutting

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2. Chapter 2

I wanted to steal something, snatch it up and revel in it. I wanted to hold that defiance in my heart, a small fuck you to those who had wronged me. 

    I supposed the closest thing I could do was steal my own happiness back from them. They'd been holding it hostage for too long. It was so hard though, when I woke up every day with a weight on my chest squeezing my lungs, compressing my chest, and I thought that maybe I should just stay in bed and hide away, sleep the day away because the day itself was just too much. Too hard.

    But I took that medicine, swallowed that bitter pill with a tall glass of water, and got out of bed this morning. And I studied, because after the next test, I could graduate a month earlier than my classmates. And I decided that I didn't want to be stuck here in this small town, gouging out my eyes while everyone headed off to college. I didn't want to be here when the leaves changed color and the Juniors became Seniors and stared awkwardly at me for staying behind.

    On a whim, I searched gap year programs. A site popped up, I checked to make sure it was legitimate. Too many scams nowadays, you know? I even sent a couple of emails and read some testimonies. Legitimate.

The cost was a bit much. But if I figured I paid half, my parents might chip in.

    But where to go? I didn't know French, or any other language really. I supposed I knew some Spanish from rudimentary classes. Argentina? Spain? Chile? Mexico? Where did I want to go?

    A couple of pictures later, I had decided. Spain and Italy it was. I figured I could always pick up Italian because it was similar to Spanish, and I felt very pleased with my plan. Almost as though I'd finally started taking control in my life. 

    I'd had the same feeling when I'd cut, but I'd resisted the urge to touch the blade in my desk drawer. After the attempt, my parents locked up all of the razors and pen knives and sharp things, even needles because the doctors told them horror stories about kids embedding them in their arms for release. But I secretly kept and hid the razor that I'd almost killed myself with. I wasn't sure why, but I used it as a reminder that I was stronger, that I could resist the urge to harm myself now. So far, I had successfully done so. I mean, my parents checked my wrists every day now for fresh marks, but I knew that I could always cut on my thighs for release if I really needed to. But despite that possibility, I still just couldn't. No matter how bad the day was. Sometimes I stared at that razor, sitting in my drawer tempting me, willing me to pick it up and slice, but I just couldn't anymore. I'd close the drawer and give my mom a hug, and go read a book instead. 

    I started running too. At first, it was just a mile a week. Now I was doing up to two miles every other day. The exercise had made a huge difference. I used to think I was fat and there was nothing I could do about it, despite my mother and doctor telling me I was a perfectly normal weight. I still pinched the flab of my soft stomach and grab and my thighs. I still wished I could just take a knife ands carve down my body so I could be skinnier.

    But as my legs and body grew more toned, I stopped analyzing my faults as much. True, I couldn't really bear to see myself naked and I had actually gained weight, probably from the muscle, but damn, I looked good in my clothes. Suddenly, my scars on my wrists and my  didn't seem so shameful anymore. They were battle scars, proof of my journey through high school. I stopped trying to cover them with long sleeves and wore tank tops and shorts and t-shirts around the house, but I still wasn't ready to wear short sleeves outside just yet.

    The only question now was how to breach this plan of mine to my parents. Over dinner seemed a good way. They'd already talked to me about taking a gap year anyway. But they'd assumed I'd be staying home to recover from this year. So as I rearranged the peas on my plate, I garnered up enough courage to ask.

    "Mom? I've been doing some thinking. I want to go to Spain and Italy on my gap year." There was an awkward silence as she paused in her chewing. Her face contorted as she thought.

    "Oh, honey, I don't know." Her voice sounded close to tears. "We nearly lost you," she said, looking at the ugly black sutures on my wrists.

    "Mom, I'm not going to commit suicide again," I said, trying to avoid the note of exasperation creeping in. Taking my wrists off the table, I took a deep breath and spoke. "I'm willing to get better to make this a possibility. I know I've been fighting you and Dad on the whole therapy outpatient thing. I'll do it without complaining if you let me go. But I do feel like I'm not in that dark place anymore. Plus, the best thing is that I found a good program to go with. They have resources, so I'm sure I would have someone to talk to if I got the dangerous feelings again. I could even Skype my therapist for sessions." My mother was a very logical person, so I tried to appeal to that side of her. I could see her mulling it over.

    "Marie is going away?" asked my little brother Petey, visibly upset.

    "Aw, baby, don't worry," I said, pinching his cheeks. He pouted. He hated it when I called him baby. My mother finally spoke.

    "I just don't know. I mean, yes, it's true that you have gotten noticeably better and I'm relieved that you're finally going to do the outpatient therapy. I mean, it's not as though I've nagged you about it every day," she nagged playfully. "There are no new fresh marks on your wrists and my god, you're actually smiling once in a while-"

    "Hey! I smile," I argued, somewhat annoyed. I gave her a wide grin for emphasis.

    "No, you're my moody Marie. I haven't seen you smile in a long time, and I'm really glad to see you finally laugh once in a while." She smiled and wiped a small tear away from her eye. "Oh, here I go again with the waterworks," she said wobbly, trying to joke about it. Petey didn't notice, thankfully. He'd gotten his face covered in mashed potatoes and was making a mountain out of his meatloaf. 

    "Petey, don't play with your food," I whispered, amused.

    "How much does it cost?"

    "Well, about the same as a year of college," I muttered worriedly, avoiding her eyes. I name the sum.

    "Oh Marie. Can we afford that?" It was a rhetorical question. Of course we could afford it. If my parents could afford to pay for my college despite my hefty scholarship, they could afford to pay for this.

    "I have over half from working part time," I offered. "I'd gladly chip it in, if you guys could pay the other half."

    "I'll talk to your father about it when he comes home. I can't give you any promises right now, but I'll try and figure something out." That was good enough for me. One foot in the door already to a yes. I knew my father would definitely agree to it. He studied in France for a year and said it was the best experience of his life.

     I just hoped that my suicide attempt hadn't ruined his ability to trust me. Without a doubt, it had shattered my parent's sense of security. They had been micromanaging me after the attempt, checking in on my wrists and asking me how I felt, and while it was annoying, I also grudgingly appreciated it. They loved me, without a doubt, and they didn't want to lose me. As frustrating as it was to have to regain their trust, I was willing to prove myself now. I had a goal. I was going to travel. The thought both thrilled and terrified me.

    So when my parents said they wanted to talk to me the next morning at breakfast, I was nervous. My father presented me with a large suitcase.

    "We want you to do this," said my dad. "You've never been too good with your Spanish, but this will really improve your fluency. And I just think you're going to learn so much more about life in the process. But-" he added, "You're going to need to do some things in order for this to happen." I nod, eagerly.

    "First things. I know you hate taking your meds, but you need to take them every day, not just up until you leave, but throughout the program. If you aren't taking them, you're coming home." I nod again.

    "Also, I got you a good therapist through our insurance. I want you to work out something with the program or even the therapist where you can perhaps meet or Skype with one once a week. Figure it out," he said.

    "Of course," I said gleefully. I was jumping up and down For the first time in a very long time, I had something to look forward. I had regained a small piece of happiness. Take that, Bella.

    "Now this," my father said, pointing to the suitcase, "Is for you. I picked it out after work," he said proudly. 

    I stared at the design. Hot pink and black, with a winding vine of flowers. It was perfect. I smiled at my parents.

    "I accept your terms and conditions," I joked. "But seriously. Thanks so much." I gave them a hug, trying not to let the tears fall. "It means a lot to me."

    "We know," said Mom. "We know."

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