A 1,200 Words Short Story
was in bed after her last day of work, and it wasn’t voluntary. She was
fired for unnamed reasons. People were uncomfortable with the way she
acted, warm one minute and cold another. It was frustrating that people
couldn’t connect with her unscrupulous personality. Her extreme emotions
were unfathomable. That should’ve been okay. Maybe she had to
change — go on mood stabilizers, and get therapy. Her warm comforter
didn’t care about her mood swings. It cared about nothing, because it
didn’t have feelings. That made Miranda a little sad.
She didn’t care what other people thought. Making herself accountable to them terrified her. It was too much pressure.
door opened. April’s footsteps drummed through the hallway, matching
Miranda’s beating heart. The motivation to get up from bed appeared out
of thin air. She put on some clothes, looking at the empty bed she
wanted someone to fill. April was the one she wanted.
walked into their living room and sat down with a bowl of cereal in her
lap. She munched away, thinking about the day she moved in with a
stranger. She was in love with that stranger now, April. There were
questions asked, answers given by text, and meetings over coffee.
Dragging her luggage up a flight and across the threshold she would
share with April.
April was there that day in a long pleated skirt with a blue t-shirt.
That’s when it happened. Miranda tried to fight the images flooding her
brain, but after a while, she didn’t want to anymore. Her fantasies were
too much to ignore try as she might. Miranda wanted to feel the touch
of those pretty red lips against her skin — against her own. She wanted
to kiss April against a wall until she couldn’t breathe — until she
didn’t feel alone anymore — until she didn’t feel bad anymore.
was in a towel, still pearly with moisture, standing in the hallway
before her. She wanted April more than anything, and nothing else was
left in her life.
“Going out tonight?”
“I could be convinced.”
April took Miranda’s hand and pulled her up.
Those hints, signs that all hope wasn’t lost kept Miranda trying. Those little moments of connection were enough.
April flashed her brilliant smile. “I need a night out in the stars. Music would be nice.”
mean that club down the block?” They lived in a loft somewhere in the
warehouse district. Clubs were all around. They just had to pick.
black silk was smooth and cool against Miranda’s skin. Music raged
through the room and people danced in frenzy. The room was warm — the
air electric. There they were, dancing the lonely night away. The music
drove a relentless beat to escape the confines of mundanity. To forget
everything wrong with the world and live free.
fierce thrumming waxed and waned from this track to the next. They were
up against the bar for drinks. April looked pretty, her green dress
playing off her blonde strands.
the colored lights, Miranda was interested in the love, the beauty that
evaded her. And there it was. The chance she’d wanted. Drinks and
drinks numbed her fears, and her loathsome worries dissipated for just
long enough. They’d been talking about work, the trouble with guys, the
politics of ignorance — of the familiar, and the impermanence of it all.
used the desire, the locked away need. She took April around the waist
away from the crowded bar. They walked to an empty spot along the wall.
The music rocked them back and forth. April turned Miranda’s head. The
music was too loud to speak, so just April’s lips moved to words.
Miranda swore that the words were obvious and true. April leaned in.
Miranda couldn’t believe it was going to happen. After all these months
waiting, they were going to kiss. Miranda leaned in and found April’s
soft lips teasing of cream and strawberry.
saw shock in April’s eyes. Then a hint of sadness flowed over, turning
them dark. It was obvious to Miranda. April didn’t feel the same way,
and things would never be the same again. There’d always be the
frustrating question between them. You like me? Can I like you?
There’d always be awkwardness between them — something
ephemeral — something visible in the distance but blurry,
ran through the pressing crowd. She stood in line hurting and paralyzed
into avoidance. Rejection stung, but it wasn’t minor. Her whole world
was imploding in on itself. There was nothing she could do, except stand
there and watch it happen. The gaping hole at her center grew and grew.
She wanted it to stop. She wanted it to end.
she didn’t want to feel it happen. Her throat cried out for tears. She
was gasping with the pain at her heart. They had names for that. It was
sadness but for her, grief of a loved one lost. The possibility of loving April was dead.
She mourned in line outside the bathroom, wanting an anesthetic to wipe
away her woes and diminish her hurt. It was minutes away at the end of a
pushed the heavy door out of the way. Flickering light filled the room
as the door slipped shut. Inked lines plastered the walls. Water dripped
from the faucet, and everything was pale in the yellow light. Down her
purse went. Out her razor blade came and everything else she needed. She
never left home without.
on the counter, her hands shook from the pain of rejection. Miranda
uncovered her thigh hidden under her skirt. There in the web of scars,
she needed to cut, somewhere no one could see or question her. The razor
felt warm against her skin as she pressed. The blade slid through her
scarred skin. Pain wasn’t on her mind. The slicing blade silenced her
mind, cut off her emotions.
Pounding went around the room. “People need to pee out here too.”
door jumped in the frame, and Miranda’s razor went a little too deep.
She pulled the razor. Blood spurted out of her inner thigh. Miranda
clamped a hand over her gushing leg, but blood drained down between her
fingers. She wrapped her oozing leg in gauze and walked out the door
with a limp.
through the party, she felt cold seeping down her leg. It was too dark
to notice. It was like a heavy period, right? She wobbled down the
street and across to their apartment — get away. She couldn’t risk another cut or running into April.
sat in their apartment, a belt cinching her thigh. Pressure applied
didn’t stop the bleed. Her body was burning, head spinning, and heart
pounding. Black came in around her vision. Miranda got her phone. 9–1–1
was across her phone screen. She tried to call, and the phone clattered
to the floor.
opened her eyes to the light flicking on. April screamed and ran to
her. The nightmare wasn’t over yet. April panicked. Miranda bent in half
and made the call. Her voice was weak. “I need help. I’m bleeding out.”
and sirens, rough hands covered in latex, stitches and a needle in her
arm, happy nurses and sad doctors, therapy and medication. That was what
she needed — a break from reality.
A cut too deep was what she needed to find a new way forward.
Finding a way to recovery is like seeing a map. There’s no way to know if Miranda could walk the path she discovered. Only time would tell.