It was a brand new low. Even for her. Which, if you knew as much about her as I did you would be impressed. I happen to be the “her” in question in case you were wondering. At least, I’m a part of her. A conscious of sorts. Except I don’t actually guide her in any way. I more just watch and observe, and try oh so very freaking hard to remind her what the edge looks like and how best to avoid it. She doesn’t listen to me. Ever. I tried to put in my resignation a few years ago. Well, to be more specific, she tried to put in her resignation a few years ago but she fucked that up too. You see, I’m the part of her she can no longer connect with because she killed me. She did not kill herself. Since I departed to this limbo of sorts I can watch her, urge her, and encourage her to remember, but she never will. She will continue to spiral a long, lonely ways down until she finally hits the ever poetic rock bottom. However, with me being where I am and not being there with her, she will die. Her rock bottom will be a very literal one in the sense that should you decide to take a watermelon to the top of a forty story building and hurl it off the roof the shattered mess that will spread across a sidewalk block will be the visual representation of her hitting that metaphorical bottom. Maybe you want to hear a little more about her? If you have a shred of humanity you probably don’t, but should you be curious I love company and will gladly tell you the story of what everyone considered Leilah’s rock bottom before they saw her what would constitute her “recovery”.
It was six years ago. Leilah was 26. She had graduated from college three years ago and was working at a job she hated. It wasn’t that she hated to work. It was actually quite the opposite. She loved working, but all the same she hated this job. More specifically, she hated the past year of her life. Her anxiety had been spiraling. Her eating habits had taken a non-existent turn. She was smoking and drinking coffee as though they were the air of the fresh outdoors and nectar straight from the ancient gods. Her dating life was a slew of awful men, one worse than the one before. To line the men whom she encountered up would mimic a lineup of all the usual suspects in a jail house. If she showered twice a work week it was a consistent week. To cast some perspective on the last tidbit, it was down pouring one day – just buckets of water free falling from the sky – her only office mate made a plea with her to retrieve his wallet from his car because he couldn’t walk into his 1:00 PM review soaking wet. His wallet was hidden comfortable in his briefcase underneath his desk. He figured rainwater could count as a shower, if only to subdue the last 24 hours of chain smoking. Theo had been right. It had helped, at least enough that he didn’t mind sitting with her for lunch in his office after his review. She sat on his window ledge watching him fix his salad fidgeting with the zipper of her shoes recounting her latest mistake – someone referred only to as “the kid in the navy.” Theo had to laugh, “the kid in the navy” was at least seven years her senior, with a child of his own. But 33 or 34 was young for Leilah, it had been and would remain this way for always.
If anyone had listened to Leilah, not her stories or her euphemisms for all of her bad decisions, but truly listened to her voice. They all would have heard it. The strain behind each anecdote, each giggle, each “good morning” and “hello!” They would have heard the tiny rips of her soul, the cracking of hope and the breaking of promises to live a life better than the one grew up in. But no one listened. At least not carefully enough. Theo heard the distant cry of help from her stories and from when he would catch a glance of her in the fleeting moments she forgot to hold her shield up, but there was only so much the young man could do. He was the closest thing she had to a friend. He was her friend, but he wasn’t Jesus. He couldn’t bring Lazarus back from the dead the same way he couldn’t stop Leilah from falling further into herself and away from the lighted world.
A lesser man, more of a cretin than a man, the King of Psychopaths as he was labeled in Leilah’s phone, would also live the same plight as Theo, though through a selfish and uncaring lens. It had been a few months after “the kid from the navy” went back to sea when Leilah met the catalyst to her downfall. He was tall and quiet, yet bold and exciting. He had stabbed someone and had been in a gang. What wasn’t there to be head over heels drawn to? They had sex in the empty office suite in their companies’ shared buildings, and he told her what to do, when to do it, and as long as she bounced between drunk and hungover she didn’t realize she was living a role created by a cretin, a lesser man than most. They stumbled through their path of drunkenness and emotional disturbances together. Leilah’s anxiety formed into anxiety depression and spent most of its time drunk and on high alert with low caring and minimal functioning. Cocaine kept his system functioning with rage, while alcohol helped to keep him calm. His psychotic behavior kept Leilah under thumb. They were a match made by Lucifer himself for pure entertainment. The train wreck no one could look away from, but no one could bear witness to if asked what happened. When one day Leilah’s anxiety had enough and left her and her depression to fend for themselves. It was the same day that the King had decided to claim his title and take his reign on the throne. Apparently Leilah’s body like her mind was no longer her own. Everything belonged to him. Theo might have noticed it then, but Leilah hadn’t gone to work that day.
Instead she left the King’s house and walked to his shed. He had driven them home from the bar the night before. The bus she usually took back to her car wouldn’t be coming for another hour or so. She could be late for work one more day. Leilah had planned to wait in the shed. It was warmer there than outside. She was cold and her body ached. She was usually bruised and scraped up, but today her wounds felt different, heavier, meatier, more barbaric and opened. She sat on a box next to the tool table. There was an ashtray and tools scattered on the table. Leilah picked one of them up, “Hilti” it said. She tried to squeeze the trigger. Nothing happened. Leilah looked down at her leg. Through the fashionable holes in her jeans, though she was pretty sure she had never bought a pair of ripped jeans before, she looked at the lines of caked blood. She poked it with the end of the machine. She felt nothing. Nothing from the trigger, nothing from the edge. There was nothing to be felt, Leilah thought. Leilah pushed the edge of the machine against her knee until her knee cap was writhing against the tip. Once more Leilah squeezed the trigger. A loud noise overpowered all of her other senses. Disoriented she hadn’t been sure if it was the gun or her own scream that had made the loud noise. Moving the machine further up her leg Leilah pushed it down into her skin once more and pulled the trigger as hard as possible. Before she could process anything else Leilah emptied all ten rounds of the machine into both of her legs. The noise, and pain, were deafening.
At thirty-two Leilah sometimes thought of that loud noise piercing through her body and would shudder as it traveled through her legs up and around her spine. Six years ago and the sound is what she remembered the most. Leilah tried to remember the past six years, but through the volume of antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and the occasional weekend out it was hard for Leilah to really remember anything other than the sound, and the few moments of freedom she had before the King had woken her up screaming about fucking up his garage. It was cold, colder than it was now, quite the feat since she was naked walking on an iced over pond. She had come up here with someone. She tried to remember who exactly. Was it Fox or Wolf, the guy had some type of animal last name, or maybe it was a nickname. Hell if she knew. They had drank some, smoked some, she even decided to snort some. And now she was naked, on an iced over lake in the mountains somewhat near her home address. Home, she thought as she traced the risen bumps and pockets on her thighs. Suddenly a loud sound shook the ground underneath her. Cold ran through her body, its tight grip bringing a chill down her spine. Home.