The room was cold. The constant rain outside felt colder. For the first time in my life I dreaded the raindrops. For the first time I did not enjoy the drizzle. I looked at the long fingernails of my left hand. They were painted purple and were resting on the skin of my right forearm. Were they digging in? No, I think. There was no pain.
They were talking. Or perhaps shouting. On me. Not behind my back though, they were shouting at my face. About how I never felt for anyone; about how death never brought tears rolling down my cheeks; about how a man on his deathbed never succeeded in eliciting concern from my unfeeling heart and lips. I heard them. It was true, I never felt anything. They were right. I have no heart to feel with. But then, why did I feel the dampness seeping into my soul? Or maybe I didn’t, really. They said I didn’t feel anything, after all.
I brought my knees closer to myself and lay on the bed. The purple fingernails were actually digging in. I think I felt them on my raw skin.
They were still shouting, screaming. They were now talking of how I was nothing but a failure. A failure in understanding and worshipping their God; a failure in maintaining friendships worth keeping; a failure in achieving laurels like the boy they knew did. But then, weren’t these friendships despicable only a while back? Wasn’t I already at the zenith of whatever I could achieve? No. No, I could hear them. They were saying otherwise; so it must have been otherwise. I must have been wrong.
A little deeper this time. I can see the marks on the skin. One, two, three. Semi circular marks. The pain is distinct. They are digging in, further.
I’m not like her. I can’t be. I do not cry outrageously like her to get them all emotional and ready to comply. I do not cry in front of them. Not for the lack of tears. Not because I think it’s for the weak. But because I know they didn’t believe in teenage depression. Because I grew up in an environment where self harm was either labeled as an act of showing off or being cool or seeking attention. I didn’t want to fall under any of the categories. So I kept the marks to myself. I couldn’t be like her, showing off the cut marks on her skin and thus attracting pairs of curious eyes who didn’t, however, care. Wait. Did I sound like a hypocrite? Did I make a paradoxical statement?
Further and further in. The pain is stronger now. The nails are digging in. The marks are getting more prominent. More purple. Like the nail paint.
I have always been scared. Was I supposed to show them the marks? What happened to her when she showed them off saying she had endured them all? I remember the scoffs and the smirks and the criticisms. Yet, she went to join their side after everything. I stayed back. Hiding the marks and the tears under a carefully curated mask of arrogance, which perhaps was a wrong decision. For they never tried to understand the arrogance, only blame it. Falling further into the darkness with no one to lead me out. Spiralling in and out and in again; caught in a twisted time loop of darkness.
The pain was excruciating now. The purple nails stopped digging in. Instead the semi circular pits on the skin were so brilliantly purple now. No. Wait. I see something else. A thin streak of red. Trickling down.