She stares at the rusted surface of the blade. Passing a finger over the edge, she tests its sharpness, scrutinizing the metal. She can feel the steady acceleration of her heartbeat as the blade edges towards the pale smoothness of her wrist. She can no longer withstand the hopelessness and emptiness of her life, like a leech slowly sucking away her soul. She wants release.
She couldn't pinpoint the exact moment when everything had fallen apart. It had happened gradually and she never noticed it until one night, after the evening on which her father did not come home for dinner. She woke up in the darkest part of the night and heard his voice pitched unnaturally loud and high. There was the sound of blows and shuffling feet. She could still remember how she had tried to block away her mother's stifled cries. She had wanted to scream but she was too scared.
The next morning, her mother had bruises on her neck and arms. This happened repeatedly. The bruises soon spread to her face till it became apparent that something was wrong. But her mother never said anything about those marks and she could never bear to ask.
As the blade touches her skin there is doubt in her mind. Why is she doing this? What will her mother do? Why is she hurting herself at a time when her mother needs her the most? Why had her father, a brilliant and charming man given in to the excesses of alcohol? These questions overwhelm her, and she hesitates.
The brilliance of her dark brown eyes is momentarily masked as she pictures an image of her mother, sitting on her favourite mahogany chair, hunched over a book. It was one of the few things that brought her pleasure...