I Do Not Wan't This
The morning research had gone badly. She thought a breakthrough had been reached, but it had come to nothing.
Her disappointment and anger exacerbated the pain.
Sitting in the canteen, she sipped at her liquidised lunch. She couldn’t risk solid food, as her throat was still healing from the last attempt. Inside and outside; always going through the process of healing and scarring and breaking apart again.
She overheard her name being mentioned at the table behind her.
“Luke says she’s trying to make a time machine.”
“She just holes herself up, doing ‘research’. They only put up with her because of all the money she brings to the university. There should be some sort of intervention, but no one cares as long as they get the money.”
The gossip, the disappointment, and the pain all nagged at her. She put the music back on to drown them out, and to give her the hope that she would manage without more drugs.
But it didn’t drown them out, it just enclosed their words in her head.
She still couldn’t shake the anxiety, her mind going over and over what went wrong.
She felt her body scrunch up with rage, always folding in on herself. The music shifted to a low vibrating hum, and she slammed down her hand. Her skin shimmered, breaking apart, like liquid. It fell over the table in droplets, reformed and disappeared.
She stared at her hand, the anxiety increasing. Small scratches criss-crossed the surface of the table where the droplets had fallen. She wondered if she was going mad.
Looking across the cafeteria she saw a couple staring at her.
She was used to this. Her skin made her untouchable, but open to interrogation. People would ask ’what’s wrong with you?’ Some would laugh at her. Or feel sorry for her. Some would feel unease or repulsion.
The sick are sick. A perversion, a contagion. She wondered if she was a metaphor. She wondered if she was death.
She watched them as they peered at her, as they ate their lunch and strained their necks to see her. She watched them as they whispered.
She went over to the canteen counter, picking up crisps. Shovelling them in, she opened up the lining of her mouth, her throat. She tasted blood. Blood and salt.
She bared her teeth, sticking out her tongue. Blood-crisps dripped to the floor.
She watched the reaction of the couple who were staring.
Some people would feel unease and repulsion.