Written by Erin Nust

The house was a mess. Empty glass bottles rolled on the wooden floor at her passage to the front door.

“It was great. Thanks for everything, Christine”

She didn’t have the articulation to express her thoughts clearly. Alcohol made her mind stutter.

“I know. I’m gonna miss you a-a-all of you, and this”

She made a feeble gesture to show the house behind her.

“You’re gonna have the best parties from now on. Only don’t forget about us here. Holidays are for coming back home, ok?”

Christine broke a smile and she nodded. “Yes. Holidays. I’ll be back.”

She saw the bodies of her friends turn around and dance in the yellow light of her porch. They got into their cars. She closed the door. The house looked menacingly silent, although her ears still rang from the loud bass of the speakers.

There was no way she could bear the weight of her body. With the broken smile still sewed on her pale face, she supported herself on the right wall, right next to the staircase and slid down until her bottom touched the floor.

She let out a burst of a laugh. She didn’t know why. Alcohol made her mind stutter and she hated it. In two days from now, she’d move to another city and be miles away from her home-town–a thought that felt surprisingly relieving.

On the two corners of her smile, she felt the chemical taste of the liquefied mascara that was running all the way through her face. She laughed out again and the sound of her lonely laugh against the dead silence of the house scared her to death. She sounded crazy, chuckling alone, with her makeup wearing off from her face and running out of her pores, melting away, leaving her


naked and alone.

She stretched her hands and investigated her nails. They wore a fading blue colour and they were long enough to cut human flesh. Another chuckle and another sip of mascara in her mouth and she clawed her hands against her naked skin. Like small razors, they hooked to her arm. Christine welcomed the pain. This was relieving: the instant, cruel sense of something other than mere fear; a fear which boiled in a pot in her for years, fear for anything she hasn’t experienced yet, like the first time she kissed someone or the first time she tried a new ice cream flavour because strawberry ran out.

Yes, she was laughing with pleasure (alone, how you re gonna make it, no one can help you now, alone, alone) when she hurt her own self, down on the cold floor after the best party she ever had, after all of her friends hugged her and wished her the best of luck. And still, neither the love nor the hugs filled the empty vase, none of these put her soul on fire more than that exact moment when she impaled herself with her own nails.

And when she had no more power, she unclenched the claw and her mouth was dead dry from the stuck smile on her face. She pushed herself from the floor, stood for a minute and wiped the tears with her right palm. Christine picked up the first bottle of beer she found in front of her, dropped it in a black trash bag and then picked up the next until the whole house was spick and span. Her parents would come back in the morning and everything should have been perfect, herself included.   

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