New Year
rating: +22+x

It’s the New Year.

The big two zero two four.
You never thought you’d make it this far.
When were you planning to end it again? June, July?
Or was it May?
You can’t say.
The clock is still ticking, and you have time, but-
Something tugs at the back of your brain.



It’s your first birthday.

You shift, your tiny body curled up like a bug in the box you're in. The inside is warm, but the outside is not. You remember that as you watch your fingers quickly turn pink. You flex them before shoving them in your mouth—an easy fix.

Mom is making noise. She sits with her head against the steering wheel, chest heaving with something you can’t grasp. Is she sick? You’ve seen her sick when she goes out into the snow to get what makes your tummy feel better. Those jars of tasty goo. You saw her stare at one once, for a long time.

Does her tummy hurt?

You shift again, and she stops sniffling, instead turning to look at you with tired eyes. She takes her hand and wipes at your face; it returns red. Seems she missed a spot.

You are her world. She promised you that.

It gets better.


You clutch the metal hanger. Those tiny fingers are trying to wedge it free from under a stack of folders on the shelf. It’s quiet, very quiet. The only proof of others is the road outside the new apartment.

A truck's low rumble shakes the building and you to your core.

You pull it free and fall, your tiny body hitting the carpet with a thud. You wore pink today, a pink shirt and pink pants. They have cats on them. You like cats.

The horn of a semi roars as its headlights shine through the blinds, the broken edge of your prize gleaming in the light momentarily. Sharp and twisted.

You only ever did what you were told.

It gets better.


The hospital is cold.

You lay on your bed as eyes watch you from the crack in the door. You don’t mind, though. They’re friendly people. They even gave you your new socks! The ones with the ‘stickies’ on the bottom, as you like to call them.

You’re the youngest one here.

Your roommate stirs, but you don’t acknowledge her. Maybe she has to go to the bathroom?

Your eyes shut, and you drift off to sleep. It's dreamless and numb. These are the best two weeks of your life.

You find she attempted to hang herself the following day.

It gets better.


Loved and lost and loved again, you were beaten to a pulp this time around, but you can still stand, can't you? The breath finds it hard to escape your throat, and his hands grip you for all your worth. You know it’s chump change.

It’s not self-harm if all you want is love.

Your hand connects with his jaw as you fall to the floor, coughing up blood as you grab your knife. A part of your mind begs for that touch again, morbid and sick but craving attention.

It’s the only touch anyone will ever spare you, after all. Love always hurts.

It gets better.


You’re poring over that book again.

You are ignoring reality for something that makes you feel. It's that purple book with worn-out pages, the transcript about where the sun is hot and the moon is beautiful.

You know what’s next, but it always hits you by surprise. It’s the paragraph again, the same one you’ve read over and over, time and time again. At this point, it looks like a Rorschach test made by your broken mind.

They lean into each other, and you cry. You always do.
It should have been you.
It will never be you.

It gets better.


You told her.

You thought she would understand, and she had no reason not to. You roll it over in your head again and again, but it still doesn't make sense. Wasn’t that one of the things she had always told you when you were little? That she didn’t care who or what you were? That she would always love you?

Had that been a lie?

No, it couldn’t be. Her favorite musician is just like you, after all. Why can’t she love you like her?

Your chest feels tight, and you feel that familiar dent in your rib.

Go write a Poem and feel better about it.

You deserve that pain for making your mother cry.

It gets better.


It’s raining.

You sit on a log with your uncles after the ceremony. You haven’t seen them in years. One a drug addict and the other full of rage, you sit between them laughing.

Your dress is crusted with mud, and your makeup is runny; the disguise designed by another to keep you safe is now a little bit more bearable. No one here knows who you are. All they know is that you’re the bridesmaid.

The rain hides the tears.

It gets better.


You stumble into the basement of a house you’ve never been in before, head pounding and limbs numb. You clutch at your head, white braids falling over your face like a curtain, shielding others from your rude behavior.

You almost trip.

They know your face and remember your name, but you don’t know who they are. Overstimulation hits you as the lights above buzz, a pain shooting through your head as you curse your fractured mind. You are flawed and broken; they all know that, too.

You pass out on a bean bag chair, face first in its fluff. Only later are you woken by drunken hands.

It gets better.


Your phone buzzes on your nightstand.

You just woke up, sleep still clinging to you like a needy parasite. You want to fall back into it, but somehow, you push through and grab the culprit. The cat charm dangles from its case, the tiny bell dinging in the morning quiet.

It’s a message.

You sit up, the mountain of blankets that has been your home ever since your depression began falling from your body.
You stare at the screen, eyes wide as you read it over and over again.

Your face is wet. You don’t notice that for a long while, and it takes even longer to write a reply.

You never thought you would matter enough to warrant something like this.

“Happy New Year, bud.”


You smile as you sit surrounded by friends, bodies not physical by any means but their hearts just as potent as if they were. It’s a beautiful feeling you never had in years previous. The words “I love you” spill easily from your lips these days.

“In Case I Make It.” It plays in the background, one of your favorite albums. It’s funny. You did as well, didn’t you? In the end, it’s just bad luck, horrible people, and memories stained by pain. They don’t define you.

You do, Salem.

You should have killed yourself a long time ago.

You stare up at the ceiling, your face aching but the grin refusing to budge.

Yet here you are.

“It got better.”

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