She lays in the bathtub. Her knees are bent, her arms lay across her chest. She has been trying to count the diamonds of tile above her, but she keeps losing count, she can’t concentrate. The bruises on her thighs, livid colors, mostly blue and purple, but some are black, draw her gaze. Her fingers inch down and she presses against a bruise, mouth opening with the pain.
It helps, and she looks back up at the ceiling, starting the count again. A moment later, all the way to twenty, she feels the pills next to her. Despite herself, she turns her head, picking them up, looking at the label, trying to remember how to put the words together. Her fingers open and the bottle drops into the thin line of water above her stomach, bobbing there.
This afternoon when she came back from school, she’d stolen the pills from her mother’s bedside table. Now she plucks the pills out of the water, setting them at the side of the tub.
Her eyes close, and she remembers where the bruises came from. She’d been trying to pretend she was a little girl again. When she was little she’d have bruises all over and never know where they came from. Now she remembers every bruise, and these the most. Her gaze is drawn to the pills. She could take them. Not all at once, like in the movies. No. A couple at a time. Until you just fell asleep and sank under water. Then the bruises wouldn’t hurt any more. She picks up the bottle, then, sets it back down. Turning over, she takes a deep breath and puts her face in the water. She stays there, feeling her lungs get tighter and tighter, fighting her body’s instincts for a minute and a half. When she comes up, feels the air rush into her lungs, for just a second, she wants to live. She can’t stop breathing it feels so good. She gulps down the air, her heart pounding.
Taking a deep breath she goes under again, staying until her lungs seem to explode and she rises, gasping, unable to stand the feeling of not breathing. She stands and gets out of the bath, wrapping the towel around herself. The pills are knocked into the water, and she lets them float there, bobbing meaninglessly.
She keeps breathing.