Numbing Despair


Glass shattered. The girl looked up in shock. Finally realizing her anger was unnecessary. Realizing that she could have and should have accepted the situation for what it was. That she should not have shouted and thrown things. She looked into her mother's eyes and knew that she had crossed a line. She saw the anger that they possessed. She had just unleashed a monster. But then, all of a sudden, those eyes softened. For a second, the girl thought she saw pity in them and anger began to bubble up again. She didn't want pity. But she kept on looking and instead she found sympathy. She found a mother being torn apart because her child is in pain every day. The girl found it in herself to squeak out an apology. Though it barely made it out of her mouth because of the sobs pushing their way up her throat.

Her mother was defeated. She was worn out. She would never have imagined that it took this much work to raise a child. But she did not let it show. She knew that she had to remain strong for the girl through these dark times. So instead of crying or yelling at her. She brought out the dustpan and began to clean the broken glass. She looked up as she saw the girl sulk into her room and close the door. Now the mother was allowed a moment of weakness. She sat up and let the tear she was fighting back roll down her cheek. She let herself sigh and shrug forward as if she had lost all hope. Then she wiped her tears, and as if the moment had never occurred, finished cleaning up the mess her daughter had made.

As she walked into her room, the girl could only think of how messed up she was. In her eyes, she was a failure. She could never be what her parents wanted. She would never make them proud. Her psychiatrist would tell her that she was too self-critical. But she never believed it. How could she, as someone who had grown up fearing all mistakes, learn to "take it easy?" The idea seemed impossible to her. She sat on her bed wanting to cry but feeling numb. Like all her emotions had been sucked out of her. She felt like she was watching herself, separate from her own body, and she couldn't control. She so desperately wanted to break down and sob, but alas, her eyes would shed no tears. It was as if she had been drained. She was a hollow shell wishing to be a home again.

Six minutes later, her mother had rid the floor of the broken glass. She was unsure if she should check on her daughter or if she should just leave her alone. She knew that her daughter wanted space, she wanted to be alone. The number of times she had told her mother to "go away," the woman could not count. But as her mother she was worried. What might the girl feel if no one shows their face to her? She knew how her daughter thought. She knew she would feel unloved. The woman made her way towards her daughter's room, choosing to check and see if she was in a state to sleep. As she entered the room she saw her daughter sitting motionless on her bed, staring at her feet. She did not acknowledge the new presence in the room. Her mother sat down next to her and hesitantly wrapped her arms around her.

The girl took a shaky breath as she was embraced. She wanted to break down, but not like this, not in front of someone. To her it was humiliating. She did not allow herself to get emotional in front of anyone. She felt it unnecessary and almost cringe-worthy. Yet here she was, an inch from sobbing in front of her mother. After a long thirty seconds, her wall finally cracked. She let a tear roll down her face. And another. And another. Until she was sobbing in her mother's arms. Her tears flowed like a waterfall of misery. And when they were no more, she continued to heave and hiccup, the hopelessness in her still not entirely gone. She sat in her mother's arms, unable to stop her tearless cries. She felt the soft hand of her mother caressing her back. The sign of care only made it harder to end her bout of sobs. Finally, after a few deep breaths, she was able to calm herself down. She looked up, her face stiff from dried tears, her eyes puffy and red. She muttered a soft "I'm fine" before turning back to her back to her bed and lying down. She refused to face her mother after breaking down in front of her. She refused to face anyone who wished to help her. For her, being alone was best.

She stood up and turned towards her daughter. It broke her heart to know the turmoil the girl was going through and knowing there was barely anything she could do about it. She had done her best to change. To be less harsh and demanding, but it seemed something like this happened every two weeks. The girl would break down and cry and scream. She would become unreasonable and irritable. She would demand things and boss people around as if she were a queen. She became another person, a shadow of herself. Every two weeks, things would be thrown, voices would be raised, and the house would be underneath a storm cloud. The girl would be ruined once again.

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She stood in the shower, the bathroom's lights off. The only light coming from the thin cracks of the blinds. Music flowed from her phone, placed on the ledge with the soaps. It was a mellow song, creating an aura of lethargy and sadness. Going perfectly with the somber mood the girl was in. A few minutes before she had stepped into the shower, she had come to a realization. With her grades plummeting and her multiple absences, what was to become of college? Since the beginning of high school, her eyes had been set on the top colleges in the country. But now, what chance was there that she would be accepted? She was left numb again. So there she stood, aimlessly underneath the shower head. She had already cleaned herself, but the intense heat of the water made her feel something. It may have been uncomfortable, but it was something. Standing in the shower, she was no longer numb.

Her mother was outside in the dining room. She could feel the tension. She could smell the storm brewing. Anxiety and depression had begun to radiate off her daughter again. The woman knew they were nearing the worst part of the cycle. In a day or two, all hell would break loose. She was not ready. She hated seeing her daughter become what she did. So, she was on her toes. Carefully watching her daughter. Making sure not to say the wrong things. And for the moment, giving the girl what she wanted. She knew any bit of pressure was enough to send her spiraling. And it would take her too long to recuperate.

Outside of the shower, she felt miserable. She was cold and numb again. Shivering, she made her way to the bed where her clothes lay. Music was echoing from the bathroom into her parent's bedroom. The soft and mellow tune was heavy in the air as the girl neglected getting dressed and laid, face up on the bed. She sighed, closing her eyes. A sob was building up in her chest, but it was not strong enough to make its way out. It made her feel frustrated. Was she so incapable that she could not even cry? Why could she not cry? She wanted to scream but she knew that would alert her parents of her situation. She could deal with this alone. At least, that's what she told herself. She did not need anyone. For who could help her? No one could go into her brain and flip on the light switch. It would be dark for a while, and she did not know if she could make it through.

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Two days later the girl dragged herself home from school. The day had consisted of her forcing herself from class to class. Drowning in facts and theories. Suffocating in the high-ceilinged hallways of the building. Once upon a time, years ago, school was her favorite place. She would go there eager-eyed, ready to learn. But something changed. School was a chore, it was the place she went to kill her soul. She was there only to wish she was not. So here she was, exhausted from trying to stay awake during class. Tears in her eyes from the realization that it would all have to be done over again tomorrow. She wanted it to stop. And she knew how she could end it all. But could she do it? Could she really put an end to everything around her? Did she have it in her? She did not know yet. But she would soon.

When her mother heard the door shut, she mentally prepared herself. She knew it was that time of the cycle when everything went downhill. She had to be ready for an explosion. She sighed when the usual greeting for daughter was not heard. It was confirmed now. It would happen tonight. She called out her daughter's name, hoping she would come to her as the normally did. Waiting a few minutes before the saw the girl enter and lie face down next to where she was sitting. Her mother began to run her hands through her daughter's hair, not saying a word as if she feared that would trigger the girl. She wished that this cycle could be easily broken, but alas, that was far from the truth.

As she felt her mother's hand in her hair she felt like crying. She had forced herself to go to all her classes. Draining her emotions from her body, but now they had all comeback. They were eating at her insides, screaming in her brain, making her feel cold all over. She shivered when her mother's hand touched her neck, a few tears falling out at the contact. All she wanted to do was curl up in her mother's arms, but she could not bring herself to. Showing emotions was too hard for her. It disgusted her. Just the idea of pouring her heart out to someone else, the vulnerability of it all made her despise the thought of ever having to share what she felt. She hated being weak. So, she hid her feelings behind the act of surfing online. She would numb herself even though she hated the feeling. But it was much better than constantly feeling a vague pain all over her body because her feelings were too overwhelming. Her phone had become her paradise in hell. It would keep her smiling when everything else around her was crumbling.

Her mother was just getting into bed when it happened. Her daughter came into the room and asked for the tablet. Normally, when the girl was in this state of mind, she would have said yes to anything she asked for. But the woman knew that she would try to numb herself with this, instead of healthily letting her emotions out. It was also later than she should have been up. She was pushing her limits right now. Thus, the answer that the girl did not want to her was given. No. This sent the girl into a frenzy. Her mother watched as she pleaded and pleaded, but continued to say no. This was the one thing she would not grant to her daughter, no matter what.

When told she would not be given what she wanted, she grew irate. Her mother had always controlled most of the elements in her life and she hated it. She felt like a prisoner in her home. She felt unheard, like no one cared about what she wanted or how anything impacted her. In her eyes, no one understood her. They that with all that she was going through, she could not control herself. They did not know that she still had common sense. And no matter how much she tried to convince them that she did, they would not believe it. So, she gave up that tactic when trying to convince her mom to give her the tablet. She threw away her calm demeanor and began yelling, pulling, and hitting. She could not see anymore because of her tears. She cursed at her parents, knowing it was wrong but loving it. She hated her parents at that moment. She accused them of not knowing who she was. She wanted them to suffer as much as possible. It was no longer about the tablet. It was about showing them what she could do. What would happen when you refused her. She started throwing things. Soft, hard, and fragile. Whenever her parents tried to stop her, she escaped their grasp and grabbed another object. As she was gaining control, she grabbed onto her mother's glass of water and threw it. Glass shattered.