Dysmorphia

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On the Edge

Suicide watch.

Two words that carried so much meaning, she wouldn’t have described herself as suicidal but they’d given her that label just like they had all labelled her at the very beginning.

“What time is it?” she blurted out.

When he didn’t respond she grew more desperate.

“Please you have to tell me! The time?”

Chase blinked, obviously shocked at her seemingly irrational behaviour but glanced at his watch nevertheless.

“Eight p.m” his brow furrowed “Why?”

Relief washed over her and the terror started to subside, she couldn’t have been in here for more than four hours, they couldn’t have fed her anything to bloat her already bloated body in four hours. She sunk back onto the cushion gripping onto the metal bars around the bed to stabilise herself.

Chase went back to the end of her bed and picked up a folder, a blue folder with ‘Oakwood Clinic’ emblazoned on the front. He flipped through the pages, reading quickly and totally ignoring her existence. He paused at once section before coming back over to her side.

Chase regarded her with a look that she could only have described as a look of disgust, though she didn’t know why, he had simply read her folder.

Then it hit her, the folder would tell him what she’d done to herself, he thought she’d broken her own arm like her parents did, she had broken it but none of them needed to know how or why.

“It’s not like that.” she said, feeling a desperate need to explain herself.

“It says they think you may have broken your own arm.”

He looked ill at the suggestion.

She shook her head again.

“No. No, I didn’t. I ... I fell –”

He cut her off.

“Down the subway steps” he finished.

He pulled down my blanket and she flinched, helpless to stop him.

“Wait. What are you doing?’”

Unfortunately she knew exactly what he was doing.

He glanced at her, determination in his eyes. And anger. But why? What did it matter to him what she did?

They barely knew one another. He lifted the sleeve of my hospital gown, revealing her makeshift bandages.

At the time she’d thought she’d done an okay job patching herself up with the cotton bandages she’d bought from the department store but now she saw that they had frayed edges, they’d been on her wounds for far too long. She’d been worried about too much to remember that bandages needed to be changed regularly to avoid infection.

’“And these happened, how?” he growled.

“I don’t have to tell you anything,” she said sharply.

He ignored her and started unwrapping the bandage until he got down to the plasters. He was shaking his head, not looking at her.

She tried to squirm away. “Don’t touch me.”

“Trust me, I’d prefer I didn’t have to, but these need to be cleaned properly. Did you even bother to wash them, or were you hoping you’d die from an infection?”

His eyes darted from her arm to her face, daring her to argue. Carefully he began removing the bandages.

She bit the inside of her cheek and refused to show any reaction when the last plaster, which had dried to the wound, was eased off.

Chase was breathing heavily through his nose, shaking his head every few minutes. She felt like a two year old.

He disappeared and came back with a tray of ointments and fresh bandages.

“I don’t need this from you,” she said, after one too many head shakes.

He paused, mouth half open like he was about to say something, but then just went back to tending her arm. She didn’t think she’d ever met anyone so frustratingly obnoxious.

She felt her face heat up. “If you just undo these straps I can do it myself”

“That’s not going to happen.”

Now it was her turn to shake her head.

“You don’t know me. You don’t know the first thing about me”

“Let me guess. There’s more than one of these harmless little cuts on your body?”She didn’t answer.

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