The drapes over Grandma’s sliding door billowed, the evening sun flickering low through meager Joshua trees. I stood in front of a full length mirror and let my clothes fall to the carpet. You can’t hide from yourself when you’re naked.
My finger traced dimpled fat curving below my teenage belly. I understood why nobody liked me at school. Why would they? I was hideous, grotesque. Flabby hips, lopsided breasts, freckled skin. The Wiccan pentagram above my thigh had faded into a murky green tattoo. I scowled.
In my hand I held nail-scissors, blades open, glinting.
Grandma had gone to the hospital. She said I should go, too. The doctor claimed Mom was dying, but her coma looked a lot like the drunken stupor she’d lived her life in. She couldn’t cope, stopped trying after Dad died, never loved me. I didn’t blame her. Mom had left me for a bottle. Death was only the next step of abandonment.
Numbness clouded my senses. I knew I should be feeling something, but I was hollow, empty, a bucket with holes.
I’d never cried. Not for Dad. Not for Mom. Not for me.
The house popped and moaned as the desert air began to cool, like a jaw snapping closed. I trembled, my skin becoming puckered with goose bumps and I squeezed my eyes shut.
My hand tingled, the scissors seemed alive.
I raised my left arm, slow, reverent, as if opening a sacred vault. Purple scars mottled the delicate tissue below my armpit. They traced the indentations of my ribs. Each a witness, a testimony to worthlessness … my legacy, all I deserved.
I’d wanted Dad to die. I wished for his death, and it happened. A car accident while he was stoned, coming home, to me. It would have been just the two of us. He never remembered things he did when he used. But I did. And I wanted him dead.
Mom had slapped me after I told her. She refused to forgive me.
Three days later I stole his straight-edge razor. My first cut. It felt … justified.
But at least it felt.
Darkness closed in about me, the shadows of evening growing into night. I blinked at the dim body reflected before me. Pathetic. A buzzing filled my head like a swarm of angry bees and a sickening laughter crept from the pit of my stomach.
The sting of the blade was familiar, reassuring. I drew it across my skin, piercing my side. A crimson line seeped and spread. Blood streamed, outlining my torso, bathing the roundness of my hip.
Pain was reality, the one thing I controlled.
The doorbell rang. I spun about, heart jumping into my throat. I stayed still, not breathing, hoping the person would leave.
An urgent knock, loud and persistent. “Tabby?” Again. “It’s Danni. Your Grandmother asked me to come by.”
The wetness on my skin grew cold. “Uh.” My teen leader. I hurried to the bathroom and snatched a towel from the wicker basket. “One minute.” I held it to my wound, placing pressure with my elbow as I struggled to dress. The bleeding slowed and stopped. I pulled on my t-shirt.
I opened the front door.
Danni smiled. “Hi.” A deep warmth softened her voice. “We’ve missed you at youth group, and with your Mom …” She paused and touched my cheek. “I want to make sure everything’s …” Her gaze moved to my side. A red stain was oozing through the fabric. “Oh, Tabby …”
I glanced to the floor, my throat beginning to burn. “I’m sorry.” A sob caught then surfaced.
She came in and closed the door. “You don’t need to punish yourself, remember? We’ve talked about how Jesus accepted our wounds as His.” Her eyes teared as she took my hands and led me to the bathroom. “Paul said, ‘I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.’”
I lifted my shirt as she rummaged for bandages. “I have scars.”
Danni tilted her head, lips parting. “We all do, honey. You just choose to wear yours on the outside.” She stroked my hair. “But Jesus loves you and wants to fill you with abundant joy.”
My brow creased and my mouth stretched thin.
“Tabby, you can be healed by his wounds.”
I flinched as she sprayed on the disinfectant. “I think I’d like to feel joy. Will you help me?”
Gal 6:17 From now on, don't let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.
1 Peter 2:24 He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!
New Living Translation
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