© Amber Kalkes 2014

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One+

I stare into the mirror as blood drips down my back and runs down the underside of my legs, pooling at the floor. In my left hand is garden shears and as I turn to the side to look at my handiwork I feel the two-inch deep water in the belly of the tub lick at my toes. My lip is bleeding from the pressure I put into it as I tried to hold back my cries of pain but my eyes are still rimmed in red from my quiet sobs.

My sister and my niece are in the apartment outside this door and I don’t want them knowing I did this by myself again. I am naked as I reach back and the clip of the shears sounds again; almost echoing despite the music I have playing from the I-pod dock balancing on the back lid of the toilet. I bit back another sob but see in my reflection that I’m finished. Dropping the shears into the tub beside me I pull closed the shower curtain and turn on the icy stream.

The sticky blood is now washing off my body and swirling into a cyclone down the drain. I sit in the belly of the tub and let it wash off the mess I’ve created on my back trying not to hiss at the stinging pain as the water heats up.

Three knocks sound on the door and throws me into a panic.

“Lila?” my sister, Edie, calls through the barrier.

I clear my throat, “Y-Yeah?”

“We need to get going honey, visiting hours are going to begin in a few minutes.”

Grimacing at the notion I yell back an ‘okay’ and rise to my feet. Shutting off the water spray I pull on a towel and wipe off my body the best I can without any annoying pains in my body. When I’m fairly dry I wrap my dark hair in the towel and pull out the first aid kit from under the sink. Bringing out the medical gauze I place it where I need it and wrap them up with some tan bandages around my chest.

When I’m finish I pull on my clothes from earlier, a pair of leggings and an oversized grey sweatshirt, which falls just below my ass by two inches. Combing my black damp hair I let it hang loose as I stash the garden shears and the bloody towel in the hamper so I can collect them later.

Exiting the bathroom I’m immediately pulled into a leg hug by my golden haired niece, Nola. I smile down at one of the few lights in my life and ruffle her perfect blonde curls. Her big blue eyes look up at me with perfect trust and love reminding me how wrapped around her little finger I am.

“Hey, Lala.” She chirps, still hugging my legs.

“Hey Nola-bean, how was school?” I ask.

She makes a face, “Sam kissed me today! I had to get cootie shots!”

“Really? Good save with the cootie shots kid, I would hate for you to come down with boy-itus. “

She nods, looking proud of herself, “Then I kicked him in the shin.”

I bit my lip to stop a laugh, “Shit, really?”

“Lila, no swearing.” My sister scolds absently as she comes into the living room with her purse in her hand. “And Nola remember what we talked about today?”

“Yes.” Nola groans dramatically.

“And?”

Nola rolls her eyes before standing up straight cocking her hip and pointing at the wall with a frown on her face, “Nola Marie Gray, no hitting people!”

I laugh a bit but Edie’s fierce scowl makes me cut off, “What? She’s does a good you, Sis.”

Edie rolls her large blue eyes and pushes back some blonde hair behind her ear, “Whatever, let’s go. We don’t want to be late to see grandma.”

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