When I first open my eyes, I think I’m in heaven. White lights and white walls and pure silence is what makes me think I’ve died and gone to heaven. But when a man in a snowy white lab coat leans over me to check the conditions of my well-being, I realize that I am alive and just in a hospital room. I feel vague and empty right now. Grogginess engulfs my entire body and it’s super hard just to keep my eyes open.
The doctor lightly chuckles when he sees me struggling to keep my eyes open. His face is looking down (reading some sort of paperwork) but he still targets his diction towards me.
“You...are a very lucky boy Mr. Mitchell.”
“W-What do you mean lucky?”
The doctor grins, placing a manila folder down on the table next to me. The monitor to my left is beeping steadily, somehow making me feel a tad bit comfortable.
“Your parents suggested me to treat you as soon as they came through the doors at four in the morning. They know how other doctors treat victims of self-inflicted injuries, so they wanted a fair recovery for you in a fair amount of time.”
“W-What do you mean by that?”
“Well I’m a good friend of your parents, and we’ve been colleagues for even longer. They know that I’m unbiased and always give fair treatment. Some other doctors, well, they frown upon self-injury. I don’t know why, but they just do.”
This makes my head pound. The last thing I remember was my dad wrapping up my left forearm as tight as he could to stop the blood flow. My mother was on the phone, panicking and telling emergency services to hurry up. I was out cold in seconds, and in my conscious, I was pretty sure I had died. Now, I’m gaining a grip on reality again and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
The doctor whose apparently a good friend of my parent’s turns to me and smiles lightly again. I try to smile back - to not look so cold - but it’s taking too much energy and I feel enervate.
Just then, the door on the far side of the room makes a loud, creaking sound and the first person I see is my mother, who is is red-eyed and drained of color and gets emotional just by looking at me. Then comes my father, then Emily, and now it is me who is getting emotional by looking at the people I’ve just hurt. It’s all too much to bear. They remind me of that gruesome fate just a few hours ago.
“Thank you so much Dr. Stevens,” my mother hugs him, the waterworks already rolling. The doctor updates my parent’s on my status by saying that I’ve been stitched up and properly bandaged and that I may want to consider something called psychotherapy.
“His wounds weren’t too deep, which is good overall,” the doctor states. “I’d advise he take it easy on the arm and make sure his cuts stay dry and clean with the bandages properly dressed. I will prescribe him an antibiotic ointment to help with the healing process and further irritation. If you also need me to write a doctor’s note for his school, I’ll gladly get on it now.”
“That’d be necessary. Thank you so much.”
Before I know it, Dr. Stevens has vanished and it’s just me and my broken family. It is hard to make eye contact with them. They all just stand around, feeling blue and hopeless and probably scarred thanks to my traumatic episode. Nothing fills me but a dark, intruding, deep-pitted guilt. My mouth is dry and my heart feels heavy. The monitor is the only thing making noise amongst us. That is, until my father clears his throat and speaks up first.
“So...how long has this been going on?”
I look at him, and he stares firmly at me. No need to beat around the bush anymore. They know I’m a lunatic now.
“Just recently. It hasn’t been going on for years or anything.”
“And what do you necessarily mean by that?” my mother interjects, voice small and somewhat defeated. “Do you mean this whole cutting thing hasn’t been going on for years or you being suicidal hasn’t been going on for years?”
“I-I’m talking about the cutting. I’ve always been a little suicidal and I’ve always been depressed. I don’t know. Both just come and go like the common cold.”
“Do not relate something this serious to the common cold,” my dad barks, startling me. “your mother, sister, and I barged in on you bleeding to death in the bathroom and you want to sit here and relate this to the common cold?”
“Don’t dad me right now! I am seriously disappointed in you. We all are! Instead of just opening up to us about whatever you’re stressing about, you decide it better to sit in the bathroom and cut yourself and suffer in silence this whole time?”
I catch them all off guard. I am pissed off now.
Anger and hurt take over me and I’m lashing out at them in seconds before they can reply.
“Obviously I had no choice ever since you and mom willingly decided to shut me out since I was in elementary school. You guys found out I was I gay and you ignored and neglected my problems because you’re so ashamed of the fact that I didn’t turn out the way you wanted. You’re so ashamed!”
My mother starts crying and my dad looks as if he wants to punch me in the face. I don’t bother looking at Emily. It would break my heart to look at her while I’m this mad right now.
“I saw...how disgusted you guys looked when you found out I went to the Spring Formal dance with Colton Berkely. I...heard you guys when I was ten years old. You wanted me to be going through a phase. You both agreed to act completely oblivious towards me that way I would give in to your neglect and be the straight son you wanted me to be. Well that wasn’t gonna happen! I-I TOLD you guys that I was getting beat up and harassed and molested at school! For years! You didn’t care! You liked that it was happening! You figured that if I wouldn’t change on my own, then the school kids would beat it out of me. But they didn’t! They just beat me! And neither of you blinked a FUCKING eye or asked me a FUCKING question whenever I came home with bruises and black eyes! Whenever I looked to you two for support or help, you shut me out! You stopped caring. I didn’t matter anymore and I wasn’t worth the stress on your plate. So I said fuck it.”
Mom starts yelling because she knows it’s true. She was the main one playing the oblivious role. Dad agreed to treat me like a fly on a wall and only do the basic tasks a parent was supposed to do; such as feed me, buy clothes, and make sure I had a bed to sleep in. Other than that, I never bonded with my parents. Dad never took me on camping trips or taught me anything cool and mom never sat me down to discuss my sexuality like a normal mother would do. They were just really good actors. A few nice moments such as my mom taking pretty pictures of Emily and I don’t count. She was just in the outside world, trying to pertain to her golden mom image. She has a really sweet personality, but sadly, it’s all fake. I started loving the fake versions of my parents. Sometimes it felt like they actually cared. But whenever an unfortunate situation came and slapped me in the face, my parents were the first to pay no mind.
And unfortunately, I love them. Fake personas and all. They are my parents. No matter how bad they treat you sometimes, it’s really hard to not love your parents. That’s why I feel so sorry that I made them suffer last night. I thought about my family more than anything else. They did what they could to keep me alive. Recommended me to a good doctor friend. If they really didn’t care that much, they would’ve let me die.
They all stare at me and even a few nurses rush in. Guilt eats away at all of us. I feel deeply guilty for not controlling my emotions better and making my family see such an ugly mess. They feel guilty because I’ve finally called out the bullshit I’ve been so prone to. The only person who doesn’t feel guilty is Emily. If anything, I have probably ruined her perception of me and she can’t figure out who I am anymore.
Maybe now, they will see me a little differently. I have always cried out for help. Maybe now, what I have done will forever manifest within them and they will think twice before knowing who they’re dealing with.