A Stranger to Myself

"I feel like I don't even know myself. And if I don't know myself, how can anyone else ever know me?" Autumn has always felt alone, like an outcast. But when a girl comes into her life and reveals things about Autumn she never would have known otherwise, can Autumn learn to accept her differences she's so used to hating?


8. Disoriented

I was woken up by the sound of someone pounding against my door. My head was throbbing erratically and my chest was so tight it was difficult to breathe. I was incredibly disoriented and at that moment had no idea where I was, what had happened, or who had woken me up. I struggled to get my bearings.


"Autumn!" A voice shouted on the other side of the door. Everything I heard sounded as if I was underwater - it was muffled and distorted. I couldn't define who was talking. I realized then that I was laying on a bed.


Grumbling to myself, I managed to lift my body upwards with a considerable amount of effort. I blinked rapidly in an attempt to clear my vision, seeing as it was incredibly blurred. The first thing I saw were sheets that I recognized as the ones on my own bed, and the second things I saw were my hands. They had blood on them. Who was bleeding?


"Autumn open the door, please!" The voice shouted again. My head tilted weakly in that direction but I couldn't muster the energy to bring my line of sight to the door itself. Instead I gave up on trying to look and brought my attention back to my hands.


I looked down more and I saw something that startled me. My forearm was completely coated in blood. My blood. It was slightly dried. How long had it been there if it had been able to dry? My head started to hurt even more, the confusion becoming nearly overwhelming. I somehow managed to sit up completely, not having looked away from my wound. The pounding on my door hadn't stopped. If anything it had gotten more persistent and intense. 


"Autumn, can you hear me?! Please, please answer me!" I barely even registered what this person was saying, being too fixated on my arm.


Still practically delirious, I tried to wipe some of the blood away. When I got some of it off I saw that the source of all of it was a series of moderately deep cuts. I remembered then. They were self-inflicted. I had done this. Earlier. I remembered.


How long had I been unconscious for? How much blood had I lost? I looked towards the sheets, my composure returning to me steadily, and was taken aback at just how much of the white had been tainted with red. My heart leaped into my throat. What had I done?


Should I be regretting it?


It was only when the shouting collapsed into desperate sobs that I realized I should respond to the questions and pleas. Whoever was trying to get in here was worried sick and I had reduced them to tears unintentionally. Stumbling to my feet I was slightly scared at just how unstable my legs were. Standing was so difficult I staggered and my side slammed into the nearest wall, using it as support.


I sidled along the wall, towards the door, which I then remembered locking. When I reached it my hands idly moved to the deadbolt and undid it. A wave of weariness then washed over me and I felt myself collapsing. I pressed my back against the wall right as I sunk down to the floor, grimacing in pain when my forearm accidentally hit my chest.


My door was thrown open frantically and someone burst into the room. My eyelids were fluttering closed and it took every ounce of effort I had to keep myself awake. I felt more blood beginning to seep from my wounds, probably because I had disturbed them and jostled my arm so much. Whoever had entered gasped in shock before moving to kneel in front of me. I felt myself losing consciousness fast.


"Autumn oh my God!!" I was starting to recognized who was talking, but just barely. I was still disoriented. Soft hands grabbed my arm frantically, and a finger or two brushed against the cuts, making me wince at the contact, "Sorry! I'm sorry!"


I let my eyes close, staying awake was draining me. But when they did I felt one of the hands gently placed on my cheek, and the voice that was still unknown but greatly comforting held me to the earth.


"Please please don't leave, Autumn, please." The person who had been panicking moments before was now speaking so clearly and calmly. It was enough to make me want to look at them more than ever. 


My breath now only coming in shallow, short, uneven bursts, I forced my eyes opened and almost didn't believe who was in front of me. Carmen sat, looking terrified and devastated, her eyes cloudy with tears and her cheeks glistening with them. Guilt suddenly slammed into me like a brick wall. And I really started to regret what I had done. Even though I still felt as though I deserved it completely, I was only regretting it because of how much it was clearly hurting her.


But why was she there? We still barely knew each other. I hadn't even been particularly nice to her. I was so strange. So unlikeable. So odd and agitating and unwanted and worthless. Yet there she was, looking more concerned than my father or sister probably would have. I noticed a roll of bandages in her sweatshirt pocket. When had she gotten those?


"Oh thank God you're awake, please stay that way, for just a few seconds okay?" She begged me, her tone so pleading and sweet it was impossible not to give her what she asked. I kept my gaze trained on her face because that was keeping me there more than anything else.


I felt the bandages being meticulously wrapped around my wounds. She was being so careful. So reluctant. I could tell how nervous and frightened she was just by the hesitance of her movements. Every now and then she would look back at my face, as if to check that I was still moderately alright. Honestly, at that moment I hadn't the slightest idea what to feel.


After a minute or so she exhaled shakily and tucked the bandages away. My arm was now covered in white gauze. But my head was still pounding and I struggled to remain conscious. She could tell.


"Autumn why would you ever do this to yourself...?" She whispered, more to herself than to me. I was in no condition to respond. My head lolled slightly on my neck and I felt myself passing out. Carmen grasped the sides of my face but not even that was enough to keep me awake.


"You're going to be okay, Autumn, alright? I promise, you'll be fine." I was too out of it to analyze her tone for truth. And in the next moment, everything went black, and everything was silent.


Did I want to be okay? Should I be? Or had Carmen just delayed the inevitable?


When was I just going to try and do that again?


Could she stop me another time?


Would I want her to?

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