I feel my arms shiver weakly, and my knees tremble in sympathy. The bathroom tile is smooth, cold and hard beneath me, and I crawl pathetically across it as another cough wracks my body. My vision blurs from the sudden onslaught of more tears, as well as the blinding white light from the bulb to my left. My chest screams for relief as I wheeze and hurl into the toilet bowl, and the loudest sound I hear is that of the blood rushing in my ears. Tears squeeze themselves out again, and after my coughing fit, I sob once, brokenly as I press as hard as I can to flush it all away.
The room reeks. There is blood and vomit and spit and sweat contaminating the air and the pungent odour assaults my senses. As I struggle to make my way to the sink, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My hair is flat and sticks to my face and neck, and looks the ugliest I’ve ever seen it. I contemplate my appearance: blotchy skin, red eyes with dark bags underneath, chafed, bruised knees sticking out from under my black tights. I register the ‘drip, drip’ of water hitting the metal sink and with some effort, turn it on completely. Amid all the muddled, cluttered thoughts in my shattered mind, I feel one concrete thread forming. I disgust myself.
Of course, it only lasts for a moment, and I wash my face and turn on the shower, stripping and letting it all wash away. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault I lost it all. I had to make myself happy somehow. But it’s not my fault it made me sick. I’ll see the doctor next week when this project is done. And it’s not my fault I’m ruined. He did it. It was all him. A year is all it took for him to destroy me. It’s not my fault I let him.
Drip, drip. That sink’s always had that pesky leak. Usually, it’s soothing, mildly annoying or at worst, slightly depressing. Today, it is infuriating. I lunge at it, trying to make the noise stop because I cannot listen anymore. I twist it as hard as I can, using up all my energy but it still won’t stop. Hysterically, I wrap a towel around myself and attempt to turn off the shower. I feel the familiar tickle in my throat and think, “No”. I double over in pain as the clean white tile turns a dirty yellowish red, and my body is rattled over and over.
Picking myself up after an episode is always the hardest part. I do it slowly, one leg at a time, and I’m thrilled when I finally stand. I smile victoriously, and slightly deliriously. I feel something gushing in the back of my head. Like waves. Like the ocean. The smile widens and I struggle closer to the door. My head spins again, as another fit I cannot withstand overcomes me. Distantly, I feel myself trying to clutch the counter for support, and after a moment during which my stomach lurches, the white ceiling is directly above me. There is something warm under the back of my head but I can’t see what it is. I feel infinite, drifting, floating, and a low buzzing finds its way into my ears. If I focused, I could feel every muscle and tissue and bone in my body cry out. If I focused, I would realise that I am not as fine as I claim to be. If I focused, I would notice that the sink is still leaking- drip, drip, drip. But for now, I drift.