My Little Accident, by Stacie Adams
No one said anything about my little accident until that girl at the bar. I knew her because J knew her. We were out one night when he leaned over and kissed my cheek and said he needed cigarettes. When he didn’t return I went looking for him and I found him next to the girl, her wire thin, lipless mouth muttering something into his ear.
I walked up and tapped his shoulder and he didn’t look nearly as put out as I thought he should when he turned around. I asked if he forgot about me with my eyes on her. He said no, of course not as he thrust his arm over my shoulders and picked up his cigarettes and change from the bar. Now the same girl’s teetering towards me on platform shoes that went out years ago, her blonde fly away hair making a halo around her small white face.
‘Can’t you do anything right?’ she asked as her sober friends pulled her away to the door. In a less fragile time I would have followed her out, but these days I just laughed and fixated on my drink.
I only thought of it as ‘my little accident’, which I heard in some movie as a kid. ‘Failed suicide attempt’ didn’t really do it for me. My psychiatrist said I should start calling it what it was and I dismissed it outright. It was just as much an accident as anything else.
While I didn’t care if anyone else knew, I didn’t want J to know. I was terrified that eventually he’d put it together and realize the night I did it was the same night we fought so bad outside of his friend’s house. The night he made me see red by yelling, ‘We’re not together, I don’t have to tell you anything.’
That wasn’t true. Sometimes we were together. In the mornings at his apartment, we were together, when he’d make me breakfast and ask what I had planned for the day while he was at work. I’d tell him I had class and he’d joke that I absolutely did not and I’d feel all warm inside because he knew me well enough to tease. Then we’d plan to meet up later at the bar and he’d kiss me and tell me to be good before he’d go one way and I’d go the other.
But other times we were not together, like that night outside friend’s house. I spit in his face and grabbed a handful of his hair on the top of his head while my other hand formed into a rock hard fist. I threw it into his face until someone, some guy, probably Dale, ran up behind me and put both hands under my arm pits and dragged me away.
I went home that night and took one of J’s shirts, the one that he let me sleep in until it became mine, the one with the big titted anime chick riding a dolphin, and threw it into the sink. Over it I poured bleach. I wrote a letter. I tore it up when I read it and it was nothing more than one long, protracted ‘I love you’.
I thought about not seeing him every day, not waking up to him and his arm over my waist as he snored into my hair. I thought about drinking with other guys and what we’d talk about when we did. Nothing half as interesting as what J and I talked about, that much was certain. Our conversations sped along with their own momentum, shifting and turning of their own accord until the lights came on and we’d realize we spent the entire evening just looking into each other’s face. I thought about fucking others guys and the prospect was so dismal I began to cry. That’s when I did it.
I used the knife from my art kit, the one I used to stare at in class imagining the damage it could to do to a trachea or an artery, and I dug this instrument into each wrist carelessly. I was rather imprecise. About an hour later my roommate Sharon came home from her date and found me babbling and bloody in the tub. She took me to a hospital where the doctor on call stitched me up with a fair amount of hostility.
“You missed your vein in both wrists,” he said, seemingly disappointed in my lack of anatomical knowledge. I was permitted to leave after I assured everyone that I was done with suicide. I just wasn’t very good at it.
Now I wander around town looking for places to drink unencumbered, with a bandage on either wrist, avoiding him when I used to seek him out. I knew it couldn’t last forever. Our town was just too small. I imagined us unknowingly circling each other like water down a drain, him leaving just as I arrived or maybe the reverse, until one night he finally caught up to me.
He was out with Dale, who I saw first, and who came up and hugged me and asked how I was doing. ‘I’ve been better’ I told him with a wan smile. His faltered as he told me he was with J. ‘Does he know yet?’ I asked tensely. Dale shook his head and said he did not, which filled me with relief.
J came over eventually without my urging, smiling shyly, his head tilted downward but his eyes looking up, like he always did when we first saw each other after a huge fight. It was a mix of things; longing, because we’d been apart, eagerness, because surely he had many things to tell me, and maybe a little shame for the awful things we’d said to each other.
He took the seat next to mine and called me kid, like he used to, and made a joke about his face healing up nicely. I thrust my wrists between my thighs and laughed along with him, not wanting to give up my wounds as readily.
Stacie Adams is a drinker with a writing problem. She’s currently working on a novel and hopes to complete it before the world ends in 2012. She lives in Pittsburgh with her common law husband and a turtle named Pierre. When she’s not reading or writing she’s at the bar telling people about the time she saw Queens of the Stone Age in a fortress in Germany.
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Tags: relationships, stacie adams, suicide