|"Despair": from this blog|
The first time. She’d gone to the shopping centre and locked herself into one of the cubicles. It took her a long time to get up the courage to cut the veins in her wrists. She’d used a Stanley knife. She bought it at the hardware store in the centre. The woman at the checkout had smiled at her as if she really cared.
When she cut, she put the knife against the vein, closed her eyes and sliced. The burn was much worse than she’d expected. At first the blood flowed freely, but then it started to clot. She began to weep.
“You OK in there darl?” The voice was smoke-roughened, gruff.
She couldn’t answer. The unlooked-for kindness made her wail even harder.
A face appeared over the top of the cubicle. Brassy, dyed hair, grey at the roots, lined face, yellow from cigarette smoke, resigned to life’s insults and miseries. There was blood all over the cubicle floor. The face took it all in in an instant, and then she heard footsteps going away, brisk, as if to say, I don’t want to know. “I’m going to be left alone to die,” she thought. “Good!” she added, defiantly. “Free at last.”
But the footsteps returned, with others. The cubicle door was unlocked from the outside.
While they waited for the ambulance, the woman cradled her in her thin arms. She smelled strongly of stale cigarette smoke. “Don’t you worry now love, it’ll all be all right, you’ll see,” her gravelly voice and worn face oddly comforting.
Esmé had shaken her head in despair.
“What was it, darl? Why’dja do it?”
Esmé had been too ashamed to explain. But before the paramedics had wheeled her away, past the goggling shoppers, her saviour had taken her hand gently into her own and bent down and kissed her cheek. “Don’t give up, love. I made it. You can too.”
Esmé never saw her again. But she never forgot her either.
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