I walk to the bathroom mirror, wipe away the steam, and stare at my reflection. Underneath a cascade of ink hair, and right in the middle of two raging patches of eczema, are a pair of hollow eyes. Did I always look this empty?
I turn away and wonder why I even looked. I don’t need to see it to know it’s there. The itching makes sure of that.
As I dip my toes into the steaming bath, I realise that I’ve run it way too hot – but that’s okay – I’d rather burn anyway. Nothing is worse than the feeling of some creature digging and scratching deep within my skin.
I slip into the water and see my skin shapeshift to a bright red. I chuckle to myself; at least I’m all one colour now. Maybe this time the redness from the eczema will dissipate along with the redness from the heat. A futile hope, I know.
One deep breath in…and I fall back, letting the water swallow my head. This is my favourite way to cry. With water meeting water, it’s like it never happened.
My sparkling sobs roll on until I’m completely out of breath. Just one more moment…what if I sta – I yank myself up. I gasp for air but all I get is a thick cloud of steam. Not that it makes any difference. Even when I breathe the crisp air outside, I still feel like I’m permanently choking.
While I lie there, with tears evaporating off of my skin, I wonder if this will last forever. What if the face that I wear now doesn’t even feel like mine? How do I live my life in a skin that doesn’t belong to me?
This broken girl. The one who spends her time just waiting for the next moment her skin will feel like it’s eating itself alive. She’s not someone that I recognise. She’s not even someone I want to associate myself with. And she knows this. As well as the red patterns that decorate her gaunt face. So while I sit there, inhaling tears, I wonder why she won’t just leave.