February 26

by Marina Garlick, UWCM
16th of December, 2022

[Trigger Warning: Self-Harm]


February 26

               “Hello….hello…are you there”
               [muffled crying noises]
               “Are you okay? Are you safe?”
               “I can’t…I just can’t… just go, I’ll be fine” 
               “No, don’t hang up, stay on the line. Will you open the door if I knock?”

She ran, bike discarded, red light drifting off behind her. Keycard, door, stairs, door, hallway. KNOCK KNOCK. Through the sliver between the frame and door; eyes, recognition. She steps in, eyes wide, looking top to bottom. Crimson stains dripping from elbow to wrist. Before she can process he collapses onto her, crushing her with the weight of his sobbing, shaking body. 

               “It’s okay. I got you, I’m here”
               [crying continues]


How come this was something that I had to deal with on my own? I spent weeks before, anxious, sleepless nights, unfocused days. I couldn’t spend time with other people because my mind would be preoccupied with thoughts of his safety and wellbeing. Why is it that still, ten months later, thinking about these nights makes me nauseous, tugging tears from my eyes? Do you know what the hardest thing was? Telling someone. I was suffering and I felt guilty for that pain, he was not hurting me, I didn’t have it half as bad. I cried my eyes out in countless apartments seeking comfort from the turmoil that I was facing outside those doors. I had to tell teachers that I couldn’t speak to him because his voice made me cry. 


Is this what empathy is, hurting myself for others? It pains me to this day to see people giving away pieces of themselves, to those that don’t value them. I still see people struggling silently, with the pain of feeling or of not being felt. There is this inexplicably dense cloud of sorrow when I walk into a room. But when asked if they’re fine it’s always “yeah I’m okay” or “yeah, I’m managing.” You’re not comfortable talking about how you really feel, and that is not okay to me. I want to see a conversation about this pain that is honest and heartfelt. I hope that no one else has to get hurt for us to start talking. 


May 6

               Thank you for reporting me. I’m finally getting the help I need. You saved me – him