Nobody understands my words. Nobody understands my silence. Not anymore. Not since. My skin is decorated. While some paint on their arms, drawing with markers, I draw with a blade. Some marks cover the surface, some go deep. Every time I do, I get closer to my time.
My name is Demi James and I have to be the most misunderstood human on earth. Every time I walk through these streets, I’m faced with the reality that I just don’t fit in. Not that I try to. I don’t. But I want to. Fit in, that is. Seeing the lovers sitting on park benches, the dog walkers, the drag queens, the emo kids and everybody acting like everything is perfect in their lives…  This just makes me sick. The kind of sick that makes me want to cut. Hard. Long. Deep.
The only place where I allow myself to forget is the only place where nobody cares about the problems I’m facing at home: the strip club. I’ve worked here for three months now and I can tell from the satisfied looks on the faces of the men that come, that I’ve been doing a good job. To be honest, I know these men will have the same look of satisfaction if a rabbit dances naked in front of them but for once, since that night, I allow myself the pleasure of being positive. One night as I climb the stage to perform my piece, I hear a voice in the audience that takes me back to the day that my life took the worst turn.
The door creaked open. The first thing I noticed was the amount of perfume she was wearing. Sade was never one to be subtle and this was evident in the way she screamed, “Babe! Let’s hit the club! My horoscope tells me today’s the perfect day to have a one night stand.” Sade was the most outgoing person I knew, she was my best friend and even though I was a virgin, she never pressured me. Neither did she judge me. In fact, she ensured I didn’t stray from my promise to keep myself till marriage. At 22 and fresh out of the university, we had little worries.
Because I love to dance, I went with her to Club X, a dark room was full of strangers with their bodies pressed together, a room hazed with sickening-sweet smoke, the windows shrouded with heavy curtains. I took a long time to collect myself, straining to see without my spectacles. As is our usual practice, we head for the bar and ordered a few shots, determined to enjoy that night to the fullest.
Countless shots later, Sade was high as a piper. But as was her usual practice, she danced so much that I was certain she would get over the effects of the alcohol soon. I excused myself to go to the toilet. I wish I hadn’t. Maybe if I hadn’t, things wouldn’t be this bad. Maybe if I had continued dancing with my best friend, I wouldn’t be fighting so hard to stay standing at the edge of my own life. Maybe…

To be continued.



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