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Old novel opening: Every day I want to die

Trigger warning: Contains references to suicide and abuse.

Every day I want to die; throw myself off a bridge, bleed out in the bath, jump in front of a car, drink myself into oblivion, a thousand different things. Haven’t you ever thought about it? Ending all that pain once and for all? How freeing that must be to feel nothing. The pressure of the life I’ve chosen is weighted so heavily on me. I reach out but there’s no one in a sea of bodies. I’m floundering. There’s nothing to ground me but my feet are like bricks to the ground. I jitter and shake. A mess. I’m a mess. I want to survive even when I crave death like oxygen but I’m struggling to breathe. The walls feel like they’re closing in, pressing in on my body from all sides, cutting me off from the world.

I want you to help me.

The room’s tiny, not quite a closet, but big enough to fit a piece of furniture. There’s a bed here with three broken springs that carve holes into my back. They tell me I’m real, that this is real. I am alive. It’s unreasonably clean, I should know, I cleaned it myself; painted the flowers on the wall that mock me with their happiness. If flowers can even have emotions, that is. Can you imagine? Happy dancing flowers chattering amongst themselves about god knows what?

There’s a window here too that looks out onto the back garden, the glass panes blacked out so no one can see me. No one knows I’m here or will ever know I’m here. I’m laughing to myself, almost cackling. No one knows I’m here. This is the 73rd time I’ve been locked in this room, I’ve counted. There’s a little patch on the floor in the far left corner where I’ve kept track, a nest of scratches. Line, line, line, line, cross, again and again. I always remember to count and I don’t understand how.

Nothing was ever like the first time. Stripped and broken, screaming for someone to get me out, steadily losing my mind. A room has never felt so empty, so oppressive when you don’t know when you’re ever going to get out. No matter how many hours I spent screaming myself hoarse, clawing at the door until my fingers were nothing but bleeding stumps, they never came and let me out. Not until I was perfectly calm and docile, his perfect little puppet.

I’m stronger than that now. I sit here quietly biding my time until they let me out. I’m only in here for a couple of days at a time before I’m unleashed back onto the world, making my grand entrance assuring the world that I’m still alive. I sometimes wonder if my daughters remember who I am – their mummy; their crazy fucking mummy.

They think I’m perfect; those people on the outside. Perfect house, perfect husband, perfect kids, perfect life. I’ve got it all. Sometimes I like to believe them but I’m getting thirsty now and he’ll be back soon. He has to be. It’s a Thursday and he always visits me on a Thursday. I love him and he loves me. Sometimes I’m a little over the top – an actress without her stage – but they like to lock me away for days at a time.

I never imagined that.

You have to believe me.

I’m the sane one.

I’m the sane one and they keep locking me away for a reason.

Author’s Note

This little gem has been floating around my laptop for years, and was once upon a time going to be the opening scene to one of my unfinished manuscripts. As it’s extremely likely that it is never going to see the light of day I thought I’d post it. I’m particularly fond of it.

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