The Shape of Violet

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Chapter Twelve

On the way to the house we didn’t speak. When she parked in the garage I jumped out but Mrs. Grant got out just as fast.

“We need to talk,” she said.

That meant she talked, I listened. Or maybe she’d do something else, like... I didn’t know. Which made me nervous. I slammed the car door, to show my defiance. It only made me feel small. Then she looked at me with such a tender expression that it took my breath away.

How could anyone look at me like that?

No one had ever looked at me that way. No one. Not even Uncle Stephen.

I wanted to break.

But I couldn’t.

I wouldn’t.

We sat in the living room with Ivan’s paintings looking down at me. I wished fervently again that I had been him; to have had two beloved families. I wished I had been Leah. I wished I wasn’t me.

“Violet,” Mrs. Grant began. “I don’t want you to kill yourself. I like you and would miss you very much. That aside, I think it would be a disservice to your art to end your life. That may sound hollow, but I mean it. You’re good. You have a gift. Therefore, you have a responsibility to take care of it.”

“Because I have something to give I should give it? I find that poor logic.”

She smiled her comma smile, leaned forward, elbows on knees, intent expression on her face. “I’m going to tell you something that I maybe shouldn’t, but I don’t think Adam will mind. Four years ago, he decided that he could not continue living, that he was worthless and ill-conceived for this world. Having read countless samurai stories, he decided to commit hari-kari. Luckily, Ivan found him before he got all the way through the ceremony and everything turned out okay. He spent a month in a hospital in Seattle, in counseling. I’m telling you this so that you might realize that things will change. Life will never be easy but it’s about the people around us; touching them and finding love. Finding hope. So that may sound cosmic and shallow, but think about it.”

I didn’t know what to think or say. Adam not being sure of himself? Thinking that he was worthless? Inconceivable.

“Violet? Why do you want to kill yourself?”

“Oh. Well. I just...” I just hated me. I didn’t want to be me anymore. I wanted all of this to be over. I wanted the easy way out. I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I never wanted to throw up again. I wanted to be free. But I didn’t exactly want to die. I didn’t want it all to end. I wanted to kill me but still live.

I was afraid to tell that to Mrs. Grant because I knew it would sound stupid and pathetic so I decided to be flippant. “The usual reasons.” I folded my fingers in to a perfect jagged line. “Moral corruption and all that.”

“You’re not morally corrupt. Far from it, Violet. There is something, though. Things you won’t tell anyone. You haven’t been yourself since last week, at the counseling session. What happened in there?”

My world had shattered. I didn’t know why, refused to think about it.

I shrugged. “Nothing.” Nothing and everything.

“Something must have triggered this, Violet. I know you’ve tried to kill yourself before. I noticed the scars on your wrists.”

I quickly tugged down the arms of my thermal.

“But you seemed to be getting better for a while there. Eating with us. Talking with Adam. And now this. I don’t want to lose you. Please don’t kill yourself. Let’s work this out.”

“I’m not gonna kill myself, okay? Samantha jumped to conclusions. Please may I go to my room?”

She sighed. “You’re not going to talk to me about this?”

“Not now,” I said, meaning to say, not ever, but it came out like what I actually meant. I hated my stupid fucking mouth sometimes.

“Okay, yeah, you can go to your room if you want.”

Journal Entry--Nov. 6

So you say you can see the sun rising, up over the hills but that’s not what you’re really seeing. You’re seeing everyone around you turn to black from the glare of your own stupidity. That’s what the sun actually is; your very own fallacy, to the nth degree. Completely, totally brilliant, right? Blinding. Cancer-causing. Freakish. It could melt your eyeballs right out of their sockets.

Life is a string of mistakes wound together by the fact that you’re stuck in that body, that life. You can’t change it. Anything isn’t possible. You have one destiny. One, when that sperm found that egg, everything was already written. You are nothing. Nothing.



Good things can’t happen to you. Certainly don’t allow yourself to expect them; definitely don’t want them.

But here’s the real trick: don’t allow yourself to feel anything. Ever.

So, okay. It wasn’t like I didn’t appreciate it. Exactly.

I paced from the window to the bed to the desk and back around. But just think how much energy they wasted on trying to do something about me. It was weird. Insane. Bizarre. I was a freak. Civilization had spent centuries trying to eradicate freaks like me. So if I wanted to self-destruct, let me. My own mother couldn’t like me. My father had hated me so much he left the minute I started talking. I wasn’t worth saving, was I?

Please don’t let yourself hope, I told myself.

Hope was such a dangerous drug.

When everyone had gotten to the house, there’d been a family meeting that Adam told me about afterward. Mrs. Grant told them about It: me thinking about killing myself. They made it into this big thing. I meant, like, wow. So what? So it was the end of me, but other than that, big deal. If Leah had wanted to kill herself, that would be a tragedy. I figured she would eventually be the first female president.

But, so okay, the real issue was that I wanted to die.

I guessed.

I meant, yeah.

I was tired of disappointing people, of making mistakes. So maybe if I could’ve killed myself and still lived, that would’ve been okay. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to die, it was that I couldn’t do this anymore.

I wished to be this totally different person.


I wanted to be beautiful and normal. Someone whose mother had loved them.

Someone worthy of love.

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