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Remedy  •  18 February 2021  •  Fiction

At My Mercy

By Angela Jin
Content Warning: Suicidality, self-harm
At My Mercy

1‭, ‬2‭...‬

I play that game where you see how long you can hold your breath‭, ‬except I can’t stop‭. ‬It’s‭ ‬become habitual‭, ‬almost compulsive‭. ‬In the‭ ‬final seconds‭, ‬I can almost feel my eyes roll back and my chest burn‭. ‬When I sleep‭, ‬I have funny dreams about being friends with‭ ‬people‭ ‬who left me‭. ‬I want to psychoanalyse this‭, ‬dissect it‭, ‬break it down‭, ‬take it apart but all that would lead to is an answer that I already know‭. ‬I dream of all those I’ve hurt‭. ‬At least‭ ‬ I can breathe freely then‭.‬

17‭, ‬18‭...‬

I wonder how many others do this‭, ‬I can’t be the only one‭. ‬I watch people on the street to try and catch them out‭. ‬But then I see them laugh‭. ‬No‭, ‬I can’t laugh‭. ‬I see them jog‭. ‬I can’t do that either‭. ‬I see them say hi and bye and cry and sigh and I‭ ‬—‭ ‬

28‭, ‬29‭...‬

I can’t remember when I started‭, ‬only why I started‭. ‬It was the only thing I could do to myself to feel right‭. ‬The only thing I could‭ ‬do‭ ‬to correct a wrong‭. ‬My wrong‭. ‬Me‭. ‬I know how‭ ‬this sounds‭. ‬I know how I sound‭. ‬I know that‭ ‬no one would ever understand why I wouldn’t‭ ‬just move on‭. ‬But I can’t just undo what I did‭. ‬If I could rewrite the past‭, ‬do you think‭ ‬ I would choose to suffocate myself instead‭?‬

43‭, ‬44‭...‬

It’s all in your head‭, ‬somebody says when‭ ‬ they see me struggle‭. ‬My eyes burn‭. ‬If I don’t do this‭, ‬I’ll forget‭. ‬I’ll forget my shame‭, ‬my worthlessness‭, ‬my flaws‭.‬

Someone else comes and takes my face in their hands‭. ‬Why are you doing this‭?‬

Because I must‭. ‬This is the only way I’ll find peace‭. ‬I don’t know any better‭. ‬I’m waiting for someone to release me from this curse‭. ‬Until she tells me to stop‭. ‬But she won’t‭. ‬She walked out years ago‭. ‬Until he tells me to stop‭. ‬But he won’t‭. ‬He gave up on me a lifetime ago‭.‬

56‭, ‬57‮…‬

Breathe‭, ‬please‭,‬‭ ‬a voice in my head says‭. ‬ I can barely hear it‭. ‬The other thoughts are louder and more demanding‭. ‬Half-buried‭ ‬memories paralyse me‭. ‬I see a flash of me‭ ‬arguing with someone‭. ‬Another flash of‭ ‬ me slapping away a conciliatory hand‭. ‬No‭. ‬Watching them cry‭. ‬Stop‭. ‬Making cruel jokes‭. ‬Ignoring them‭. ‬Calling them names‭. ‬Yelling over them‭. ‬Don’t think about that‭. ‬Stop thinking about that‭. ‬Why can’t I stop‭? ‬ Why can’t I breathe‭?‬

73‭, ‬74‭...‬

I pinch my nose‭. ‬I can’t let myself off that‭ ‬easy‭. ‬I was the instigator of so much anger‭, ‬ so much tension and pain‭. ‬I squeeze my eyes shut and focus on the thrum of blood rushing‭ ‬in my ears‭. ‬I can still see the images‭. ‬I was the‭ ‬source of toxicity‭, ‬and even in the abyss of my mind and imagination‭, ‬I cannot change the memories to be happier‭. ‬

89‭, ‬90‮…‬

This is not helpful‭,‬‭ ‬the voice says‭. ‬Nothing‭ ‬ is‭, ‬I reason‭, ‬as the beating of my heart blocks‭ ‬out any other sound‭. ‬It’s terrifying and‭ ‬comforting‭. ‬I’ll be asleep soon‭. ‬I clap a hand‭ ‬over my mouth to make sure‭.‬

97‭, ‬98‭...‬

It’s not your fault‭,‬‭ ‬the voice insists‭. ‬But it is my fault‭. ‬It was my fault‭. ‬And I’ve played this game too long to stop now‭.‬

They’ve moved on‭, ‬why can’t you‭?‬

Because I’m taking responsibility for my own actions‭. ‬They may have forgiven me‭, ‬but I was meant to love them and instead I was cruel‭. ‬It’s the right thing to do‭. ‬

Is this peace‭?‬

The voice is fading again‭. ‬I hear the echoes of darkness‭. ‬I see lights burst and streak behind‭ ‬my eyelids‭. ‬It hurts‭, ‬it hurts‭. ‬My face is hot‭ ‬under my hands‭. ‬Are my lips blue yet I wonder‭.‬‭ ‬I want to be blind in my mind so that the past will finally leave me alone‭. ‬How much more must I endure so that I can forget what a vile person I was‭?‬

You don’t have to forget‭,‬‭ ‬the voice is gentle‭ ‬ and soothing under the violent currents of‭ ‬agony‭. ‬I’m being crushed by the air outside‭ ‬ of my body‭. ‬I’ve lost count‭. ‬My lungs are screaming‭. ‬But you must forgive‭.‬

An ugly gasp for air breaks through my pain‭. ‬I’m still here‭, ‬I realise‭, ‬feeling the wetness on my face‭. ‬I’m lying on the floor of my room but I don’t remember falling‭. ‬My lungs pump vigorously and I do not have the energy to stop them‭. ‬I need a moment to think‭. ‬I need to think‭.‬

Before starting again‭.‬

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