The blade felt cold in my hand as I held it, fidgeting with it as he railed on the errors of my ways. How could I be so stupid? He pointed out the problems with my logic and reminded me of how lucky I was to have someone who would put up with my fumbles in life. "You are not that stupid and yet you act so stupid." I didn't get the meaning. I didn't think I was stupid. I had just graduated at the top of my class. I got scholarships to pay for it so it didn't have to come out of the family budget. I continued to work and bring money into the household through what ever side job I could get. I managed our business and worked around the clock. I taught our children at home and they have become highly intelligent, hard working individuals who were resourceful and studious. If I was so stupid, then how did I pull off the things I did.
He continued to go on in correcting me in the error of my thinking. I fidgeted with the blade as he continued his speech. It was verbatim almost to the number of minutes paused after each point to allow his reprimand to hit home. The blade was shiny and my glance often followed the reflection of light on the walls of the bedroom. It was no longer cold as it had been in my hands for some time now as he continued his battery of words.
I no longer heard a word he was saying. I didn't even feel anything at all. I was aware of what was going on around me but it didn't even phase me anymore. He slapped me but really, I didn't feel that. I was aware of his hand as it touched my face, but there was no feeling in my face. Was I dreaming? Was I just lost in my thoughts of memory? That I could not tell.
I continued to fidget with the knife as he continued. I did not smell his breath when he got in my face or feel the spit from his mouth as it rolled down my face. He pointed out the hole in the bathroom wall and asked me why did I do that? I must have looked puzzled because before I could open my mouth to say that I did not put the hole in the wall, he shouted at me that my mouth was what caused it. If I could ever learn to keep my mouth shut when being reprimanded then, he continued, we would not have so many holes in the walls. I did know that there was nothing that I could do or say to prove my innocence in any of these situations. Even the kids would tell me later, after he had left for us to contemplate the evil of our ways and correct our misgiving, 'Mom, you know just to keep your mouth shut. It won't make a difference.'
Today was not much different than any other day other than I felt absolutely nothing. His words, the names, even his hands could not be felt. I looked at the knife and began to wonder if there was anything at all that I could feel. The blade when placed against the skin of my arm was not cold or warm. I did not feel it either. He continued with his anger and directed another question towards me. I did not hear it at first so he repeated it. "I don't know how to deal with you except for my anger. You give me no choice. You have tied my hands. Anger is all that I have left to try to fix you. Do you understand how bad that makes me feel? Why do you want to make me feel like such a bad person?" Again, I was not sure that I understood him. I was not pushing him to yell and scream and punch the walls. I had thought that maybe if I was a better person that he would never have to get angry, but that can never be since I never know what is going to make him upset. If I bring him a cup of coffee to the bedroom, he will criticize that I should have left it in the living room. If I leave it by his chair in the living room, he will ask why I didn't bring it to him in the bathroom. There was never a way to please.
I took the blade and ran its point from the inside of my wrist to the bend of my elbow. It was not very hard and only left a faint red line trailed along the path. I looked at the red line, noticing its smoothness for the entire length. He continued his rant.
Still not listening to his words or feeling his anger, I took the blade again and traced the first line. I still did not feel the smoothness of the blade as I followed the previous red line. It did not hurt either and I thought that was very strange. If I did not feel the pain then this must have been a dream. I will eventually wake up from this crazy dream.
The second cut was not as smooth as the first. There were areas that a slight bit of blood was beginning to form on the surface. I was staring at the beads of blood on my arm and wiped at them expecting to see them wipe away. I touched my arm with the back of my hand and felt the blood. It smeared. I looked at it and didn't really understand what I was seeing. He had not noticed my preoccupation with my arm and I knew that he would address the issue of me not giving him my undivided attention while he corrected my bad behavior.
At some point he did finally notice that I had run the blade across my arm and snapped at me, "What do you think you are doing?" He used more colorful words through this entire dialog that I didn't feel necessary to write on the pages. He took my arm in his hand and looked at the bleeding line. By this time, there had been one more cut, much deeper, along the line of the previous two cuts. The blood was beginning to flow, but as before, I did not feel it and kept looking at it as if it were someone else. I looked into his eyes as he again said how stupid I was to do this to my arm. What would people think of him if they saw the wound. It is going to take a while to heal and we had a conference to attend to and now that I had cut this long gash in my arm, how would I explain it.
He threw my arm down and at me. "You are so stupid. If you're going to kill yourself, then please do it in a manner that is less obvious. You embarrass me.
I had no intentions of hurting myself. I wasn't thinking that I was going to die. I just was so numb that I just wanted to know if I could feel anything at all. If I couldn't feel anything, as it seemed was the case here, then this must be a very bad dream and that, by cutting my arm, should wake me. I wanted to wake up and no longer be in this nightmare.