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The Redemption of Callie & Kayden, Page 27

Jessica Sorensen

Page 27


  Viewing it as better alternative, I place my other wrist above it and then drag it down, pushing hard. The skin splits open and the pain erupts up my arm. As the blood pools out, a calm blankets the inside of my heart.

  I sit down on the toilet and let it bleed out onto the floor, splattering red on the tile near my feet. I let my hands fall into my head, feeling ashamed yet gratified and wondering how the fuck I got to this place and how I became this person.

  I can track the compulsion back to when I was about twelve.

  It was right after my team had lost a baseball game, due to the fact that I’d struck out every time I was at bat. Part of me had done it on purpose out of spite because I knew it would make my dad angry. And even though it hurt, every time he got angry he was hurting too, on the inside.

  I remember how calm my dad had been on the drive home, which made me nervous. His fingers clutched the steering wheel as he drove the car up the street to our home. The wind was blowing and kicking up a lot of dust. The sky was cloudy and I remember wishing that the drive would never end.

  But all things do and too soon we were pulling up in front of the house. The grass had just been cut and the lawn-mowing guy was still cleaning up the piles of cut grass that the lawnmower had spit out.

  “Go inside,” my dad had finally said and the low tone of his voice meant I was in deep shit.

  I grabbed my bat and glove and climbed out of the car. With my head hanging low, I walked up the path, with my eyes fastened on my feet until I made it to the front door. I only looked up to open it and then I lowered my gaze back to the ground as I walked in.

  I started to climb the stairs, hoping for once that he’d just let it go. But halfway up, I heard the front door slam and the wind from outside silenced. I kept walking though, hoping that somehow I’d learned how to make myself invisible.

  “Do you want to tell me what the hell happened?” His voice slammed against my back.

  I knew I should turn around and talk to him, but I panicked and only sped up. This was always a mistake. His footsteps rushed after me and by the time I reached the top of the stairway, he had taken ahold of my collar.

  He jerked me back as he ran down the stairs and I struggled to keep my feet on the ground as the bat and glove slipped from my hand. “Do you realize how lucky you are?” He swung me around in front of him and I tripped over my shoes and slammed into the wall.

  “Lucky?” I asked, getting my footing. “How?”

  I usually didn’t talk back to him, but my head was in a weird place. Someone at school had asked me what the bruise on my arm was from and I almost told them the truth. That my father had shoved me into the side of one of the shelves in the living room because I’d spilled soda on the floor. But I’d chickened out and through the silence a realization had occurred to me. My life was always going to be this way.

  “What did you say?” My father stormed toward me, the vein in his neck bulging and his knuckles were white as he balled his fists.

  “I said I’m sick of this,” I muttered, with my chin tipped down.

  “I didn’t do anything but lose a game. ”

  The silence that followed my small voice’s utterance was fucking terrifying and when I finally dared to raise my head I was shocked to find that his fingers had slackened and the vein had resided.

  There was a brief instant where he almost looked human and I thought I’d finally gotten to him. But then his eyes reddened and he stepped forward. “Do you know what my father would have done if I’d lost the game and then talked back to him like you just did?” He stopped and waited for me to answer.

  “No, sir,” I said. “I don’t. ”

  He stepped forward and towered over me. “He’d have yelled at me right in front of all those people and told me the truth because the truth is what we need to become better. ”

  Sometimes when he got angry, he’d mention his father and what he did to him, like he needed to explain his violence. I wondered if that’s how I’d grow up, reliving his beliefs with my own kids. The idea terrified me, that I could become that. I didn’t want to become that and make anyone suffer.

  I held my breath, waiting for him to hit me, but his arm stayed at his side.

  “I don’t get you,” he said. “You’re such a fuckup. No matter how many times I try to teach you how to behave, you always mess up. And then you lose that game in front of everyone and make me look like a loser father who has a fucking pussy for a son.

  You don’t deserve to be out there. ” The muscles in his arms protruded and the vein in his forehead pulsed. I wrapped my arms around myself, waiting for the impact. “You don’t deserve anything. You’re a piece of shit. And a fucking loser. You don’t even deserve to be standing here. ”

  He kept going on and on, ripping into me, but not touching me. Each word was a cut—a scar. On and on. Cut. Slash. Scar. Scar.

  Scar. I felt small and invisible just like I’d been wishing for earlier.

  When he was done, he turned away and left me alone in the foyer.

  I remember thinking how much worse it felt that he hadn’t hit me. In fact, I remember wishing he’d said nothing and had beaten the shit out me. Then I could have curled up in a ball and slept the pain off. Instead, the pain was inside my head, my blood, my heart. I wanted it out so fucking bad and I did the only thing I could think of.

  I ran up the stairs to the bathroom and found the first razor I came across. It was a replacement blade for one of my mother’s razors. The edge was pretty dull and it had this strip of some kind of lotion shit at the top.

  It didn’t matter. It was enough. I put the blade up the back of my arm and made a slice. It took several times before it split the skin open, but each graze was gratifying. By the time blood seeped out, I felt better. I moved my arm over the sink and let the pain drip out.

  I blink the memory away and rise to my feet. I need to get the hell out of here. Now. I need to bail on this fucking road trip and go home before I get too attached. I wipe the blood off my arm and rearrange the rubber bands and bracelets to cover the cut up. I hurry out of the bathroom and turn sideways to fit through the people, heading for the door.

  I’ll go back to the house, grab my stuff, and drive my bike home, back to that fucking house where I belong because I can’t survive anywhere else.

  As I push through the last of the people, I spot Callie and Seth on the dance floor. There’s a slow song playing and she’s holding onto him, saying something with her forehead creased.

  Her eyes look watery under the spotlight. I think about how breakable she is and I glance down at my wrist, thinking about how easy I break myself.

  Chapter 12

  #88 Don’t hold back. Let it all out.


  “Okay, I think I might have messed up” is the first thing Seth says to me as the bathroom door swings shut. There are a few women in there, but they’re all holding beers and don’t seem to mind that Seth’s in there. Either that or they’re so drunk they’re mistaking him for a woman.

  “What happened?” I lean against the bathroom sink.

  “Something with Greyson I’m guessing. ”

  He nods his head up and down. “I panicked. ”

  “I’m familiar with the term,” I tell him. “But what did you panic about?”

  “About—” He lowers his voice and moves aside as the door opens and a cluster of women enter. One shoots him a glare and he returns it with equal animosity. “About our relationship. ”

  “Yours and Greyson’s?”

  “Yeah, I think I’m having flashbacks. ”

  The women filling up the restroom are listening intently, so he grabs my arm and leads me into the handicapped stall. Locking the door, he lets go of me and runs his fingers through his hair. He looks uneasy, which is weird because he rarely does.

  “Seth, whatever it is, please just tell me,” I say, leaning against the wall. “You know you
can tell me anything. ”

  He pulls a wary face. “It’s about intimacy. ”

  I squirm uncomfortably at the word, like it’s a reflex instilled inside my body. “I can handle it. ”

  He shakes his head. “Are you sure?”

  I step forward, straightening my shoulders. “Yes, I’m your best friend and you can tell me anything. ”

  He sighs and starts to try to pace in the small amount of space. “I can’t go through with it… and not because I’m worried about finally going that far. It’s because I keep having flashbacks. ”

  “About what?” I keep my voice calm.

  He stops pacing and his arm falls to the side. “Of Braiden. ”

  Braiden was Seth’s very first boyfriend and the guy who was solely responsible for letting Seth’s ass get kicked by the football team to avoid facing the rumors swarming about their relationship.

  “Do you have feelings for him?” I ask, flicking the latch of the door with my pinkie nail.

  “No, it’s not that…” He wavers. “It’s… it’s about getting my heart broken. ”

  All this time Seth has seemed so strong, but just like everyone else he has his own fears and I need to be there for him like he’s always there for me. I step into his shoes for a minute and become the comforting best friend who tries to help ease the pain.

  “It’s going to be okay. ” I take a step forward and place my hand on his arm. “Greyson’s not Braiden. ”

  “I know that. ” He sighs and places his hand over mine. “But sometimes I find myself going back to that place where I’m lying in the dirt and they’re kicking the shit out of me. ”

  I wrap my arms around him and hug him, noting how safe I feel in the closeness. “I know, but sometimes moving forward is the only way we can escape our pasts, right? At least that’s what you’re always telling me. ”

  “I know,” he whispers and his arms circle around me. He pulls me closer. “And I know nothing will happen. Greyson’s not Braiden and he loves me, but I just keep thinking about that God damn day. I was so fucking happy, thinking life was perfect, and then they showed up all piled into the back of that fucking truck like a bunch of robots all following what the other one does. And…” He drifts off and I can tell he’s about to cry. “And I can’t stop picturing his face—the hate in his eyes, like he was blaming me that he was part of it. ”

  I hold very still and give him all the time he needs to collect himself. Seth being himself, it doesn’t take him too long before he’s pulling away. He wipes the corners of his eyes with his fingertips and he puffs out a breath. “Anyway, what I was going to say before I started bawling like a baby was that I was feeling a little scared about moving forward and I might have said some things to Greyson that weren’t very nice. ”

  I reach for a roll of toilet paper and hand him some tissue. “It could be… sometimes saying sorry is actually easy. ”

  He dabs the rest of the tears away with the tissue and then tosses it into the garbage bin that’s on the wall. “Yeah, but sometimes it’s not. ”