21st December 2012
The thought of her mother’s words emerged clearly into her mind, as if she were standing there whispering into her ear at that very moment. She turned her head ever so slightly, acknowledging an eerie presence.
“Lilly” she said, “The hardest thing about life is living it. The rest is easy.”
At the time, as an eight-year-old she didn’t really understand what she meant. But now, at this moment 20 years on, she understood perfectly well. In fact, it seemed a silent prophecy.
Lilly returned her focus to the bathroom basin and the flow of blood winding its way in a circular motion towards the abyss of the plug-hole. It mesmerised her. The elixir of her life being offered from the chalice of her body; a sacrifice; a gesture of her surrender to the overwhelming despair that had engulfed her being. The sign of the cross, engraved deeply within the pink flesh of her wrist, was now a visible symbol of the ultimate abandonment by that of her God.
She felt no pain despite the deepness of the wound. Physical pain had been obliterated by the constant emotional numbness that she had felt for months. The release of her blood provided a temporary relief, even if only for minutes until it congealed and ceased to flow; a sign of her body’s innate wisdom to ensure the preservation of her life, despite her deep longing to the contrary.
Lilly placed the blade gently on the edge of the basin, satisfied that the task was complete. She opened the bathroom cabinet in front of her to retrieve a bandage to swathe her bloodied wrist. The multiple bottles and coloured packets of medication stared back at her; their promise of lifting the dark cloud of despair that was her constant shadow had remained unfulfilled. Nothing seemed to help. But then, how do you heal a broken heart, she thought.
She took the soft white bandage from the shelf and closed the cabinet door. The mirror on the cabinet provided a brief opportunity to catch a glimpse of her reflection, as her tired brown eyes stared back at her, moist from tears. Her long, brown hair draped to her shoulders, enjoying the freedom from her usual style of wearing it up. Even without make-up, the features of her face exuded a natural beauty. Her sadness stared back to her as a perfect reflection of her broken heart; which caused Lilly to quickly look away and return her attention to her bleeding wound.
She started to wrap her wrist with the soft bandage; the blood was seeping through and leaving its blotchy, red pattern with each turn until eventually, it was hidden from view. Lilly turned the faucet on to wash away the blood and return the basin to its pristine white. When satisfied with its cleanliness, Lilly left the bathroom and moved back down the hallway towards the living room.
As she reached the blue, panelled door with its gold-coloured door-knob, Lilly paused for a moment, then opened the door and entered. The little bed with its red racing car bedcover was perfectly made, guarded over by a vibrant yellow Winnie-the-Pooh bear sitting on the pillow.
Lilly sat down on the bed and picked up the book that lay on the bedside table under the lamp; the title “Pinocchio” was neatly embossed in silver on the front cover. As she flicked through the pages, Lilly remembered his beautiful laughter when she had read his favourite book to him at bedtime. We never did get to finish it, she thought to herself. She clutched the book to her chest, not wanting to put it down. As she looked around the room she took in the toy box filled to the brim with colourful toys, the wooden bookcase laden with various books neatly stacked and the little brown boots standing together as loyal companions.
It was so very quiet and had been like that for a long time. She could still smell him; still feel him, as if he were an unseen part of her. Lilly finally placed the book back down and with a deep sigh, stood up. She left the room and gently shut the door; locking the memories in a timeless vault yet again.
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