To My Left Arm,
This is the second letter that I have ever written you. I wrote to you once, way back when, after I left the scars that run down your shoulder. I apologized to you, wishing desperately that you would forgive me for hurting you. That you could forgive your abuser.
I wish that I could say that I never hurt you again. I hadn’t for a long time. 444 days to be exact, and then I slipped. I ran the blade slowly across you, but only deep enough to leave a small cut that barely bled. I was horrified as you swelled a little, and the cut began to itch angrily. I knew you were furious, and I decided to fight harder, work harder. 445 days later and I lost the battle again. My apologies mean nothing now, when after all that time I simply gave in.
I got the blade from work. For 8 hours I toyed with it in my pocket as I waited to get home. I rushed, half dreading and half anticipating what I was about to do. I pulled out a few beers, ran the bath, played some music, and I sank into the scalding water with the blade firmly between my fingertips. I had the chance to stop, and your skin was so tight, as if you knew…but you did, didn’t you. You felt me give up. Your skin began to crawl as I ran the blade above the scars you already possess. It wasn’t a scissor this time, and the blade slide easily into your flesh, and this time the blood ran.
It flowed slowly over old scars, and through the black letters that announce to the world just how much pain you were subjected to. I watched, gross fascination filling me as the protesting voices in my mind sank into despair. The blood dropped into the water and swirled around before dissipating into a pink stain that disrupted the clear liquid. I pressed the blade again into your wrist, and gently ran it up to your elbow. I didn’t want to kill you. I just wanted the pain to stop…it needed to stop. I closed my eyes as I re-cut the old, faded scars that were left behind when I carved the word “hell” into your arm. One particular cut ran deep, and blood pumped steadily from you. I dropped the blade into the tub, watching it flip as the blood was whisked from its edges, before I sank with it into the water.
It was something out of a movie, watching the world blur above me. And I screamed. I sat up violently, you still bleeding, and coughed and screamed. The screamed shifted to laughter at my ridiculousness…and the laughter shifted into sobs as I hugged my knees, wincing as your fresh wounds caught on the rough skin of my knees. I sat there, and I cried for you. I cried for myself. I cried, and screamed, and laughed, as the water slowly drained out of the tub, taking the pink swirls with it.
I didn’t feel guilty. I know everyone wants me to. But I didn’t. I felt different. I looked down at you and I knew you were going to scar again, and I felt sorry. Not guilty, just sorry. You were sore and I made sure you were clean, and I did what I should have done the minute I stepped into the house. I threw the blade away, and with it all of the guilt.
The guilt that followed us over the years. The anger and pain were still there, I felt it along the edges of my heart, but the guilt was gone. I wasn’t ashamed. I was sorry. I was sorry for letting the pain and anger get to me. Sorry that I let myself be weak again. Sorry that after all this time, it was so easy to hurt you instead of facing down the demons.
No one knows about that night. They will when they see you, but right now they don’t know. The next night I sat down, and read Jeff’s book, and I wrote. I wrote until I couldn’t see anymore. I wrote everything down, except this. My second apology to you. For not being stronger. For giving into the addiction that hurting you had become over the years. For losing hope in myself. I never wanted to kill you. I just wanted the pain out. But as you bled through the first of the bandages I realized that the pain wasn’t gone. It was still there.
How many more bandages will it take before the pain is gone? Will I ever get to the point where the urge to hurt you will just be a fleeting memory? I keep falling apart and you keep bleeding and I’m so sorry. I’m sorry because this is not okay. I’m sorry because I know one day I will go to far, and I will lose. You are the reminder, ever single day, that I am not always okay. I am not always strong. Not in the way you are. You keep healing after every hurt. You are different after each experience, but you still exist, you still fight. You still heal. I envy you.
I’m learning how to breathe again. I’m learning how to smile again, and laugh, and I’m learning how to hurt again. I’m learning from you, and I’m fighting. I don’t know if I won’t ever hurt you again. I don’t know, but I am learning. I am learning what that girl meant, all those years ago, when she wrote that letter to you. Her words are haunting to me at times, because she was so desperate to get better, because she knew. She knew that hurting you was not okay. I want to find her again, and talk to her. I want to ask her what happened. What happened? Why you? Why hurt you?
Please forgive me, I know I’m rambling. It has been months since I hurt you, but I felt I had to apologize, and tell you that I’m fighting. I am fighting, and I will fight until I can’t fight anymore. I’m sorry you are the constant lesson, the constant reminder, but I don’t feel guilty anymore. I don’t think you want me to feel guilty. It’s one less thing to fight against. Everyone would want me to feel guilty, but you. You understood, better than the world, that you were the only one I had to answer to, the only one who deserved the sorry.
So I am sorry. You give me a strength I sometimes forget, and I promise I will keep fighting. I promise. We both deserve that spark that the girl once lit in us before she disappeared. I found it again, in a memory, and I promise to keep fighting, and I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I just need you to forgive me.