I couldn’t remember how many pills I’d swallowed, only that it was enough to be classed suicidal by my mother, who forced that view onto the psychiatrist I was forced to see. I tried to explain that I wasn’t that suicidal, just the normal amount where, in situations I didn’t want to be in I’d wish I were dead. The pills were an entirely different matter, more of a way to lighten the low I was in as an attempt to stop me, to put it bluntly, slitting my wrists. I didn’t want to do it so I used pills. It was much better, the high lasted longer and there wasn’t the little voice in the back of my head telling me to cut down, not across.
Now there I was, stuck under the watchful eye of my mother who searches my room whenever I leave the house and wants me to undergo drug tests, of which I refuse. Leaving the house is actually difficult, and what I don’t understand is how she is always home. I mean, seriously, she has a job that I know she goes to, yet when I go to get a cup of coffee and write in my favourite bookshop, she asks where I’m going. I’m not allowed to leave at night, she drives me to work, seriously. Seriously. I just want to regain my autonomy. So, being white, first-world, and privileged, I moved out. That’s the thing about being the child of divorce, when one parent is being annoying, go to the other parent, who is, in my case neglectful, and manipulate them into giving you what you want.
A week after I had moved out I took a walk down by the Charles, light rain, a little fog, the lamps hazy, music playing through my headphones. I was happy, I was taking drugs – in my case I ‘accidently’ overdosed on oxycoffin – and there was no need to self-harm. I heard the music dim, looked down, and saw that my boyfriend was back in town and wanted to see me. Smiling, I replied that I could see him in an hour at Theodora. Walking down the cobblestone path, I internally exploded with excitement. It had been a few months since we had been in the same state. So, trotting along the riverbank I made my way to my favourite bookshop.
Walking through the door, I entered to one of the most beautiful sights that could have ever been seen. Theodora was once a townhouse that had been bought by my best friend’s grandfather in the 1930’s after the original owner went bankrupt. After buying the adjacent townhouse a few years later, Lord Barnabas Bunton turned the townhouse into a multi storey bookshop, named after Lord Barnabas’ late wife, as you should expect, Lady Theodora Bunton. Despite adding a café in the early 2000’s, the rest of the house is virtually unchanged, even the shelving is, for the most part, original. I have bought all of my books here, Gray’s Anatomy, every single Agatha Christie, to Fifty Shades of Grey. Walking through the front door, I can see Lukas Bunton smiling at me, holding a first edition copy of The Price of Salt. I run over and leap on the desk, carefully grabbing the book from his hands.
“For me?” I said, like a love receiving a gift.
“Of course, for my one true love,” Lukas replied.
“I could just kiss you,” I said as I leaned in, my lips ready. Lukas leaned in, and I kissed him gently on the forehead.
“Please don’t use it to snort cocaine, it cost me a pretty penny,”
“Of course not, that’s what the Bible is for,” I said with a smile as Lukas laughed. “Anyway, has Trevelyan arrived yet?”
“At the door,”
I kissed Lukas’s cheek as he served a customer, who was buying a copy of Twilight (of which I am allergic). I wrapped my arms around Trevelyan’s wonderfully solid body and leant in for a kiss, blocking the entrance as the clouds… well okay, they didn’t break and sunlight didn’t stream upon us like we were some golden couple. In fact, there was a sense of coldness in his touch. I ran my fingers through his black hair.
“Oh my god, look at my new book!” I said as I thrust The Price of Salt into his hands.
“Another copy? Don’t you have two already?”
“Yes, but this is, like, a first edition. It is to be looked at, read once, and then looked at for the rest of its life, then buried with me,”
We walked to the café and sat in my usual spot (I had sent Lukas a text to let him know I was coming), I had a cappuccino delivered as soon as I sat down, and Trevelyan ordered a guillermo. “That’s fancy,” I said, but he just grunted and continued to type on his phone. I looked over to see Lukas making faces at me, to which I laughed, and that got Trevelyan’s attention.
“Lukas making faces?” he asked, not looking up.
“Yeah, like always,”
“Some things never change, I guess,”
“Yeah. Anyway, how has New York been? Enjoying Juilliard?” I asked, cupping my cappuccino.
“It’s good. Remember how I was telling you about Sam, the second year I met on my first day?” I nodded as he talked. “We just found a place in Manhattan. It’s not the best, think Rachel and Kurt’s place in Glee. So yeah,”
“It’s great.” There was a pause as his coffee arrived. Lukas had stopped making faces, he looked a little worried, as if he could sense the impending doom. “I have something to tell you. We-”
“You fucked him, didn’t you?” I asked.
“Well, yes. But we have been together for two months. I haven’t told him about you,”
I scratched the scabs on my left arm, they tingled with a long to open, to bleed.
“I see,” I replied, looking at the people walking past.
“I thought I should break up in person, given your suicidal behaviour,”
“Oh, that’s thoughtful Trevelyan. Did you think you would need to be placed on suicide watch?”
I sipped my cappuccino.
“I just didn’t want you to have another breakdown and attempt to kill yourself again,”
“Like you would care. You didn’t visit once. I mean, I thought you were just busy finding yourself in New York, well I guess you were, only you found yourself with a dick in your ass,” Our eyes locked in that moment. “I also don’t know how often I need to say this, but I’m not suicidal, I’m just gloriously self-destructive. It’s how I got in MIT,”
“Sure. I just wanted to make sure you didn’t do anything,”
“It’s fine, I’ll chill with Lukas. At least he likes Marilyn Manson and Schedule II controlled substance abuse,”
“Okay. Well, I have a train to catch, so I’m going to go,” Trevelyan said. He got up and began to walk away when he turned to me. “I loved you, you know. I really did,”
The rest of the day was really a blur. I don’t know how I got to the top of my apartment block, all I know is that as I lean closer to the edge, my blood running down my left arm like a waterfall, I hear her calling. I look down, see her. I feel Lukas wrap his arms around me, I run my fingers through his beautiful blonde hair.
“We should do it,” Lukas said, swaying our bodies side to side. “Fuck it all, let’s just jump,”
With The Price of Salt pressed firmly against my heart, I looked Lukas and smiled.