She ran the blade over the palm of her hand and then held it up to show him. The smooth metallic surface was almost unmarked but a trail of red beading wetness lay across her skin where it had cut. Her eyes met his, revealing far too little of what were behind them. And his returned the gaze with silent indifference. They studied the cleft as a palm reader would, trying to decipher the deeper meaning behind the crisscross of lines in someone’s hand. Neither of them spoke. Why would they? There was nothing to say, …after all, it wasn’t enough, was it?!

She hung her head and looked away, letting her hand slowly drop to her lap… it made the blood spill down between her fingers and a dull throb rose fast. She didn’t care. Nor did it seem important that it would stain her clothes or the carpet beneath her. It wasn’t enough. She felt the fingers closing tighter around the handle of the knife she was still holding. Closing so tightly she wondered if they’d go numb. Maybe it was best if they did.

She shuddered and looked up again, searching for him. Searching for approval and hope she no longer believed in. He had turned away, just as she knew he would be. Obviously preoccupied. Without thinking she touched the blade to her wounded hand and pressed down again, sliding it away from herself. Was it contempt or desperation she felt? She wasn’t sure. Either way, it urged her on. Blood sprung instantly this time, mixing in crimson trails on her pale skin. She clenched her teeth against the hot burst of pain that slowly came into her awareness…. Odd, how at first it felt like nothing… nothing at all… and then it was just… relief. She closed her eyes for a moment, dropping the knife to the floor beside her, feeling a little freer. Unburdened perhaps. Or hopeful, at least. A costly risk to take, she knew… and one she regretted as soon as she opened her eyes again. No change.

She wanted to lift her hand to show – no implore – him but it just lay limp in her lap. She hung her head in shame. Even this she couldn’t do right. Even this. The tears welled up in her eyes and spilled without resistance down her cheeks. She felt hot and stupid. The throb was changing into a sting as air slowly dried the edges of the cuts. It itched. She hadn’t expected that. The thought almost made her laugh. The kind of laughter that made people cringe and want to leave.

She kept quiet, her mind still searching the wall she couldn’t breech when her thoughts were broken off by movement around her. Holding her breath her eyes shot up just in time to see him open the door and call back over his shoulder to her… “there’s water and cloth. Be sure to clean up properly and wrap your hand well. I will check in on you later to see if you are okay” … then the door slammed. She listened for more. For words caught with too little time to pass before they were barred by the closing door, desperately hoping there would be a few. But there were none. Just the mocking silence.

She hid her face in her hands and cried again. Humiliated and angry with herself. The metallic smell of blood was pungent and made her nauseous. She wanted rid of it and started slowly wiping her stained skin with the wet cloth. “Removing evidence from the crime scene”, she mused wryly to herself, and knew all too well that it was and would become far more true than she cared to admit. But for now, it was all she could do. Patch up and pretend. She frowned. Next time, she’d just have to try harder….


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