The flatmate came into my room at midnight to see if I was breathing. He was off his tree, but that didn't matter. I was, too, from the healthy dose of Nyquil I had guzzled. I'm not sick, just needed help going to sleep.
With public assistance that amounts to a living allowance of $10 per day, I can't afford zolpidem. Finding a bottle of night-time cold medicine in the mosaic of suitcases that occupy floorspace and double as furniture in my room was a gift from the gods.
When I finally opened my eyes, red as brake lights, I could see that he was standing a few feet from me, hesitantly reaching forward with two extended fingers that offered sharp, quickly retracting jabs to my knee. To him, I was a beached aquatic lifeform that might suddenly blurge to life and devour him in a fatal, slimy movement.
That's the problem when you admit to a previous self-harm attempt. People care for you like they do an inherited piece of ugly, fragile porcelain. Casually and with distaste, they do things like spit on their thumb to wipe off a smudge, or, horrified that someone important might see you, freak out upon realizing they have allowed you to be in the wrong place at the wrong time for all to see. There's a certain amount of poetic honesty in that, which I admire but regard with sadness that makes my heart seep.
My flatmate has made it no secret to me that he is concerned he will arrive home and find me dead. According to the ex, my step-son voiced the same fears to him shortly before I was asked to leave our home of nine years. Fair enough. I can accept that from a 14 year-old, but from someone who is nearly 50?
It hurts to hear it, more than his prodding fingers ever could.