In Response to Prompt: “Quote of the Day: Day 2

“Alicyana  Challenged me to The Quote of the day challenge, where in a quote is selected each day for 3 days. “Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket…

Source: Quote of the Day: Day 2

SO this is my short story response to this prompt! I’d love to see your responses and creativity!

Scratch
Noreen sunk down to the floor, letting the tears roll down her cheeks like the blood trails on her toned brown arms. Nothing could be saved. Nothing could be kept. People died. Her people always died, and this wasn’t fair! No Noreen loved them, cared for them, and even still the universe took them away. She didn’t believe in god. She believed in the universe, but she stopped believing what her grandma believed long ago. The great and unknowable universe promised things she could not begin to understand…and that included unending heartbreak.

Great racking sobs rumbled through her tight chest until all she managed was a few rasping coughs. Her tears and noises were so loud she did not hear the door open or the lock turn. She only hear herself and the emptiness in her heart where someone precious once lived.

“Nori?” Clark’s voice drifted in and she shot a look upward. There Clark stood, in his hands was a glass dish with what must have been their dinner. That’s right, she recalled, we had a date. She tried to speak but all that came out was a cough that made her throat burn. Clark put the dish on the counter then immediately went to her, dropping on his knees in front of her. He caressed her cheek softly, wiping away her hot tears as a painful sniffle kept snot from escaping her nose.

“I knew you were just trying to hold it together.”

Noreen tried to speak again, but he just gently shh’d her and turned to her arms. The grimace that crossed his face only made her heart ache more. His eyes were focused on the long dug in scratch marks running down her arm.
“I-I thought you didn’t do this anymore.”
“I…t-today has been…rough.” Nori wiped her nose on  arm, tilting back her head until it thunked against the wall. “Had to displace. Couldn’t…couldn’t do otherwise. Sorry.”

Clark let out a low slow sigh, reaching up to the counter beside her and grabbing the paper towel roll. With expert care he began pressing the towels around her wrist to help stop the bleeding. He put her hands down parallel to her legs and then without a word pulled her into a warm embrace. No matter what happened Clark always tried with her. He always tried to understand even when he needed to turn off. He always tried to help her be her best self, and when she failed he apologized for thinking it was malice and not weakness. Clark did all he could and yet she still dug her nails into her arm. She still scratched herself when every single emotion and thought bubbled up through her, threatening to suffocate her, unless she gave them bittersweet and potent escape.
“I hate when you do this.” Simple words, but he was honest.
“I know…I’m sorry. I just can’t…I can’t right now.”
He nodded, rubbing her back softly until the feeling of his body against hers began to drown out some of the pain. Then with a smile that didn’t reach anywhere near his eyes he stood.
“I’ll get the first aid kit.”
“Ok.”

Love wasn’t about loving perfections. She wished it was because maybe it’d be easier, but as she watched him walk towards her bathroom she shut her eyes and for a brief moment the pain became a bit numb. Love, loving her and her loving him, meant accepting their flaws and accepting the things about each other that they may never be ready or able to fix.

Clark returned and helped her to her feet before leading her to the sink. She held her arms down towards it and with gentle care he washed the cut clean, apologizing when something made her arms sting. With the same diligence as earlier he rubbed each cut with neosporin then bandaged her arms from wrist to elbow. As he did all this she realized this time she’d really torn herself to shreds. She glanced over to the floor and saw a trail of blood in random drippings from where she’d sunk from the floor to the sink. Her stomach felt tight as though she were ill and ready to throw up.
“In time things will feel normal again.” Clark said quietly, and she could tell by her furrowed brow that he was trying to pick the best words.
“Nothing is ever normal.” Noreen meant that and Clark just sighed again as though he’d had enough, but then he looked up at her. Their eyes locked and she couldn’t quite tell what he was thinking. It made her nervous…almost frightened.

“One day you really are going to hurt yourself and I…I don’t want to not be here for that and then you…you end up in the hospital, or the morgue.”

Noreen shook her head. “That’d never happen.”

“Then please….please talk to me before you do this next ok?”

“Fine. I will.” She said it quietly without an ounce of resentment or angst. It wasn’t all about her. He had to see this. He had to be there.

“I can’t change who you are or what you do…but I can help you get better.”
For some reason the love in his eyes made her feel like melted ice cream even as she felt like breaking down inside. That must have been real love.

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